The end of June is almost the halfway point for summer. We plan to start school again in early August, so we only have about five more weeks of freedom, if you call it that. We continued piano lessons through June, but will break for a few months while we line up a new piano teacher. We’re quite sad to lose our former teacher to a move and new job.
Our big summer activity is swim lessons with a lifeguard friend. My 13yod has never shown a fear of water. In fact, when she was three (and I was eight months pregnant), she jumped into a pool at someone’s house, perfectly confident in her ability to swim. I knew she’d surface and waited to pull her out by her hair. A lady nearby, who was a lifeguard in college, responded quicker and jumped in fully clothed. To say I was horrified is an understatement. I dried her off, and we promptly left. Now that she is a capable swimmer, I don’t have to worry about pulling her out by her hair. She is practicing different strokes and building endurance to pass a swimming test.
My 10yod has had fewer lessons, in fact she’s the one that climbed a 4-foot chain link fence to escape from a swim class when she was about two. She’s not that dramatic now, and I can trust her not to drown in shallow water. She’s learning the strokes and practicing to become more proficient.
The 7yod is a late bloomer. She was deathly afraid of water until she was at least five. Even now, she does not want to go deeper than her chest. She wants to be able to play with friends at the pool, most of whom can go in deeper water, so she is highly motivated to overcome her fear and become a decent swimmer. She hasn’t conquered floating yet, but it’s not for lack of trying.
The tots (3yod and 2yod) are just getting the water intro. Float, kick, hold your breath, don’t scream under water. You know, the basics.
When we swim, we practice the buddy system. No one swims alone or completely out of sight of everyone else. Our apartment pool is one of the reasons we picked this complex. It has two levels, with a large beach area, where the water is 6 inches, and several long step areas, where an adult might sit. These are perfect for the tots to play, but I or the 13yod has to be there with them. One step puts them in four feet of water. Our pool opens at 10 a.m., and we’re usually there by 11. We swim for about an hour. Any longer and we all burn to a crisp. Summer is here with a vengeance, as usual. We aim for twice a week, sometimes more if our schedule is free.
I don’t like to go to the public pools much because they are usually very crowded. My older ones are fine on their own, but it’s hard to keep the younger ones corralled in with a thousand other kids running around. Call me Nervous Nelly, but it only takes a second for a young child to get knocked under the water and scared silly, or worse. A nice alternative in this area is splash parks. They don’t have any pooled water, so even babies can sit and play in little puddles or toddle through gentle spurts of water. My favorite is the Quarry Splash Pad at Williamson County Regional Park. It has a toddler area, rocks to climb, a sand pit, a slide, and a waterfall. It’s large enough to spread out in, and small enough not to lose anyone.
Swimming is a great summer activity, both for exercise and fun. None of my kids are going to be competitive swimmers, but I think it’s important for them to be competent in water and know the rules for safety. It may save their life or someone else’s one day.