January 17, 2013

Swim Lessons!

One of my priorities, for the twins, has been to provide some sort of class setting where they learn a new skill set and get some physical activity.  Originally, TaeKwon Do provided that for us...until it abruptly ended a few months later...  We had a friend whose daughter had been doing swim lessons through the Y.  Since we live near a lake, it is important to me that the twins learn to swim as early as possible.  They've had swim lessons before, but I liked the idea of 1) lessons without me so they learn to be confident on their own and 2) year round lessons.  So we started lessons in the fall, and they have been a complete hit!
Their favorite game: Red Light, Green, Light.  They get to kick and splash the water on green light.  
Blowing bubbles.  They start each lesson with a song where they bob up and down and then blow bubbles or "disappear" (go under).
 Their level covers a variety of things.  Pool rules, how ti get in and out of the pool safely on their own, front floats:
They teach the kids to do a "thumbs up" when they are floating on their stomach, so the lifeguard knows they are okay.  My children have trouble with the thumbs up...here is the teacher, Miss E, trying to help Allie with her thumbs.

Back float:
They are still working on feeling confident that they won't sink...

And the thing that impresses me most, different strokes!  They teach the kids the basics of the front crawl, the breast stroke, and the back stroke.  I'm impressed with how much they work on the mechanics of the strokes with the kids so early on (it seems most often that the lowest level is all blowing bubbles, kicking, and getting comfortable going under with someone holding them).  In the next level, they start practicing the strokes with a pool noodle under their arms, and in the 3rd level they do it on their own.  They really get these kids swimming!
Ryan practicing his backstroke.
As, I've mentioned before, even though they keep it quite warm, the wet, waiting kids tend to start shivering.  It is now expected that Allie and Ryan will, at some point, be sitting like this.  Every now and then, Allie tries to bring the child sitting next to her into the warming cuddle.  Depending on who happens to be sitting there, sometimes they are thankful, sometimes they are not so thrilled.
The twins are actually in their 3rd session at this level.  While they have done a pretty good job of mastering the majority of the things required at this level, the one thing they would NOT do was go under water.  The teacher mentioned, during the first session, that they clearly were not used to being in the water.  At first that made me laugh - if she only knew how much time we spend in the water during the summer!  Then I realized that their fear might be partly my fault.  Nervous about trying to keep track of 2 children at the lake by myself, we often talked about how we never go in the water without our floaties.  We talked about how we can't breathe under water, and why it could be dangerous and why they needed to be safe and listen to my rules.  The result is that my kids are completely confident and swimming with their floaties, but were terrified without them.  We've talked and practiced in the bathtub (and the hotel pool) and talked some more and finally, FINALLY, they are starting to go under!  Even better, where once they were afraid of jumping in at all, now they are asking to jump without their teacher even catching them!!
Allie jumping in, notice the surprised face of Miss E!
She disappears!
Miss E said, "You went all the way to the bottom!"  The rest of the evening Allie kept saying, "I touched the bot-tom!"  All of the parents (many of whom have been with us the last few sessions and have seen their fear and reservation) cheered.  Allie turned to wave to the fans and give a thumbs up (which, of course, she can't do, so it was really just a fist in the air...).  During all the commotion, I missed Ryan jumping (also without the teacher catching him).
Coming back to the wall.  Miss E is so proud...and soaked from their splashes!
The progress this session (we are 2 lessons into a 7 lesson session) has been awesome to see.  Even better, they are loving swim lessons, and learning and trying new things, more and more!


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad the twins are taking lessons. That picture of Allie coming up out of the water is so sad, cause she looks scared. But it's good she knows she will come up ;)
Good Job Twinners!!! Love NANA

Anonymous said...

Love that they are learning to enjoy water safely. Gigi