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Baby’s First Swimming Lesson with Hampton Swim School: 7-month-old Ellie’s Mum Shares Her Insight Into the Experience

Elle’s first swimming lesson with Hampton Swim School

Our daughter, Elle, has just turned 7 months old and had her first swimming lesson on Saturday. We couldn’t have been more excited about it! Dad, who we appointed as the regular parent in the pool for the lessons, was especially excited – It’s something he’s been looking forward to since before she was born. He and I both love to swim and visit the coasts regularly, so introducing Elle to the water and developing her confidence at an early age was a high priority for us.

You never really know how your child will react to new situations and experiences though, so mixed with our feelings of excitement were also feelings of curiosity and a small amount of anxiety. We are new parents after all, so those feelings seem somewhat auto- generated when leaving the house! (Can you tell I’m one of those ‘worrier’ mums!!)

Elle’s temperament is generally very happy and playful, sociable and inquisitive. She’s full of energy to burn and also loves bath time, so we figured swimming lessons in a social setting should be a breeze. However lately we can also add shades of moody, impatient and clingy to her personality bio. Her teeth are emerging, she has continual growth spurts with an insatiable appetite plus, from what ‘baby –whispers’ have shared with me, there may be a ‘separation anxiety’ forming {insert empathetic sigh for mum and dad here, please!}. So, we really had no idea how she would take to the lesson.

Fortunately we can say, there were more happy and contented moments in the pool than miserable ones. I wish I could attribute the overall positive experience to my daughters’ natural ability to adapt to new environments easily, but its best that I be honest here.  It was mainly due to the quick –thinking, friendly instructors who work with young children in the pool, day in and day out.  Although Dad knew how to cuddle and soothe Elle when the tears and tantrums started, it was the instructor who tipped him with ways to hold/comfort her in the water, offered perfect pool toys for her to hold and chew, and continuously worked with Dad to reassure her that being in the water was a lot of fun.

During this lesson, Elle had her first taste of social swimming, guided movement through the water on her back and tummy, submersions and plenty more.


It turns out, Elle loves swimming!

It’s obvious that her feelings about swimming are more than a passing crush; there’s something magical about the way she coo’s when we arrive at the pool gate and sees the other families with their eager young swimmers. And the way her face lights up when she enters the water, waving her hands, making a big splash and smiling to her classmates. It’s all very, very sweet to witness.

As with all the great love affairs though, there have been good times and not-so-good times over the past few weeks in the pool. The smiles and tears have appeared equally as the valuable life lessons are learned.When Elle would cry during some classes, I’d be watching upon her from the edge of the pool while she was safe in dad’s arms, and be thinking all sorts of things – ‘Why is she upset all of a sudden? She’s the only one crying! Did someone pinch her underwater or did she gulp some pool water or something? Does she simply not like being in the pool for very long??’

It took a while to work it out, but eventually we noticed that most of time she cried it was at the exact moment she saw ME standing by the pool edge. Coincidence? No. Just a example of how not to make a mother feel loved !! Thankfully the advice to stay out of Elle’s view during lessons came from another mother at the pool; she’d experienced the similar behaviour from her 7 month old daughter and had originally heard the wisdom from another mother in the same position. I’m so glad I’m not the only mum out there who has this effect on their child !! Sure enough, as soon as I changed my poolside viewing routine and took a seat on the grandstand during lessons, there have been fewer tears. This journey really is a learning experience for us all!

We’ve been really impressed with the pool activities that the School has introduced at such a young age too. Elle and her classmates spend quality time each week submersed and moving freely through the water.  We can really notice Elle’s confidence growing each week, with the lessons encouraging correct breathing, arm and leg techniques in the water. There are also regular safety messages being taught, such as prompting bubs to hold on to the pool edge (or the parent) and developing the skills to safely enter the water from the pool edge.

There are only a few weeks of lessons left before end- of- term and we can’t wait to see what other skills develop in the pool and watch how Elle’s little love affair unfolds before the holiday break! Will this end up being a story of life-long true love or merely a sweet, summer swimming fling? Keep your eyes out for the next update to find out more!

We’re so happy to share that we feel it was a successful first swimming lesson, bonding Dad and daughter in the water and introducing Elle to a very special and important activity that she will use for the rest of her life.  Judging by the smiles on all of our faces after the swimming lesson wrapped; I can say that this will no doubt become our favourite time of week.

From Elle’s mum, Tracie

© 2010 Julia Ham/Hampton Swim School Pty Ltd Julia Ham is a former Australian swimming representative. She operates Hampton Swim School, Morningside which specializes in aquatic classes for children from 3 months of age to adults. Contact 3399 2004 or www.hamptonswimschool.com.au