Wednesday, 10 August 2011

You can lead a toddler to water...

....but you can't make him wear armbands!

Due to the heat, we spend lots of time at the pool, and I spend lots of time trying to get Leo to wear armbands. All the other toddlers we know wear them and it must be much less scary for their Mums when at the pool. We have tried floats, float suits, rubber rings and the long foam things (think sometimes called woggles) and he will not use any of them, well except the woggle to blow water at people!

The downside is that you have to hold on to him constantly and he is such a wriggler you end up bruised and batter from little feet in your legs. Also watching him walk round the side of the pool is quite worrying, we have drummed it into him I think not to run but I am constantly worried he will fall in.

He likes to jump in but often forgets the "1, 2, 3 jump" we are trying to teach him, therefore giving us warning that he is about to launch himself at you. The other day I caught him as he jumped unexpectedly and went straight under myself.  He is slowly getting better about going under water but is not hugely pleased about it so we try to catch him so he doesn't go right under all the time.

I assume that one day we will find the upside of him not wearing armbands, I've heard it said they are not necessarily a good thing and can lend a false sense of security to the child as well as teaching them to swim in an upright position meaning they have to re-learn how to swim without them.  I hope to enrol him in lessons in the winter and then maybe we can bypass the armband stage altogether.


How do you teach a toddler to swim?  Any tips would be gratefully received!

Entered into this week's Gallery, the prompt is Water
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18 comments:

  1. Burton wouldn't wear arm bands to begin with. We tried him wearing them in the bath get used to them! In the end we justbhad to put them on him and then let him jump in the pool and now we cannot get them off him!! Leo will get there I am sure - good luck though as I know what you mean about having to hold him Burton used to be so heavy to hold innthe water and would wriggle sooooo much ! Xx

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  2. I think arm bands can be a problem because they rely on them. When they take them away it can be a bit of a shock. The are a bit restrictive too. At my daughters lessons they have swimming disks which seem a lot more comfortable, they gradually take them away until you are swimming on your own. My daughter would always launch into the water too. Terrifying. 

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  3. My son wears arm bands but he has been going since he was too tiny to argue about it. My friends who have had babies since and pay a fortune for expensive lessons don't use arm bands apparently they are no longer the thing - so maybe Leo is one step ahead! But having been on holiday with these friends and seen 18 month olds wobble around the edge of the pool - I can appreciate your feelings. Good luck! X

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  4. My daughter loves her armbands and she's really good at swimming around unaided when she's wearing them. However, a lifeguard friend of mine hates them and thinks kids are better off not using them. 

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  5. Hi Emma,
    Mine never wore armbands.  We did have a suit made by Floaties that incorporated inflatable pads into the front and back body section, but that's the ONLY one I have seen work -- or that my 4 kids would wear.  Tried other body suits etc and they were no good.  Tried many times to replace the Floatie suit and never found another one, but I'm sure they're out there.  The other option is to put fins (flippers) on him.  Alex, now 17, spent 2 summers (aged 4 and 5) wearing fins constantly -- and I mean that he would wear them in the pool, then get out and forget he had them on, run in the garden with them or wear them into the house.  He became adept at moving on land with them and we have some very funny photos.  Sophia (now 15) started using fins at age 2.  Both were snorkelling and diving down aged 4-5, but you have to invest the initial time in teaching them how to use the gear, and I bought them proper diving masks -- not toys -- from the start.  I was a diving instructor, so it was natural for me to do that, but that route may not be one you've considered.  So we did Floatie from 18 months, then fins from 2-3, then fins mask and snorkel 3-4.  You still have to pay a lot of attention, of course, but it gives them a  great sense of independence and builds in a safety margin.  I hope this helps...

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  6. Hi Emma, our boys don't want to wear them either. Scared me initially but their swimming teacher holds the opininion armbands give out the wrong message anyway: that water is something to be afraid of, which in turn could lead to reluctance to learn swimming later. Respect for water is good, fear is not. You're on the right track, get him swimming lessons and Leo will learn really fast - he seems to be a natural :-)

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  7. Yes, I'm hoping that in the long run it will be easier. Just got to try and get ourselves on the local swimming lessons now which is easier said than done for non-army personel as it's on the base!

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  8. Thank you, I hadn't thought of things like that. I can't see him liking them yet but it sounds like a good idea for next summer. He objects strongly to lots of things at the moment.... hats, all in one swim/sunsuits / rubber rings the list is very long!

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  9. I've heard that a lot, I'm sure it will be better in the long run if he doesn't give me heart failure or a bad bad in the mean time :)

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  10. We'll get there I'm sure. When the weather changes I'm going to try and enrol him in proper swimming lessons so he doesn't get a big 6 month break from swimming like last year and hopefully next summer will be much easier.

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  11. I've been trying to get him to wear them anywhere, bath time, watching tv, I've worn them - you name it we've tried it. He loves the pool so much so I said the other day if he didn't wear them then we'd go back upstairs, he said "ok Mummy upstairs now'!

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  12. My 2 year old has an inflatable ring and won't go in the water without it.  I never thought kids would resist rings or armbands :|  I'm not sure what to suggest other than getting him really cool armbands with like Spiderman or whateverhe's into, maybe that'll do the trick :)

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  13. Good luck. We had the same problem with 'pinchy' armbands, and bought a backfloat set that fastens around the waist/chest. Worked brilliantly, he forgot he was wearing it, and we could take out floats one by one as he got better at swimming. 

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  14. Thanks for your comment on my blog! 
    I learnt to swim really late (I think I was 16), and before then always used armbands.  To this day, I still swim upright and hate getting my face wet, I must look like Lady Muck with my head in the air.  I'm sure it's really scary seeing your wee boy without armbands but if I'm anything to go by it might well make him a better swimmer in the long run.

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  15. We use a swim fin for our little one before they can actually keep themselves afloat. Google it.

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  16. Thank you for stopping by. I think you're right, I'm sure it will be better in the long run.

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  17. Thank you, just had a look and think that might be the answer :)

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  18. I know, I'm still surprised he won't. I've tried a few character ones, managed to get some on and he wore them for about 2 minutes. I though if he could see what they allow him to do he'd like them but nope!

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