Sorry to have disappeared. We have had the invasion of the grandparents for the last 3 weeks here at our home. So lots of going...and lots of pool fun, which brings me full circle to the 2nd piece of the swimming article I promised.
My kids have been in water since tiny tots. Even before we had our pool we bought those under $20 inflatables to get them used to the splashing and water in their face. Noting how much they loved cups and pouring water and filling things we gave them lots of those in early water play. Anything to get them comfortable. Even now our nearly 2 yr old son spends the majority of his play time on our over-sized 18" deep step with his cups lined up on the pool deck filling and emptying.
Our next step was to get them used to floating free in the water. We did this through whatever was on sale inflatable at the local Target, Walmart, or store of your choice that they could sit in and we could motor them around the pool. We also played motorboat a lot. It's a game that every swim instructor any of my children has had has played. You basically hold your child under their arms and above the water...then "Motor boat. motor boat goes real slow"...and you hold them out from your body and you turn in a circle more or less driving them through the water. "Motor boat, motor boat goes real fast...."....easy enough...pick up the speed. "Motor boat, motor boat kick on the gas!"....your child is more or less moving fast enough to create a wake with their legs. They love it!
Next when it was time to let them jump in or float free we went through lots of options...or dilemmas. We tried the suits with the blow up inserts. A lot of our friends have done the water wings. Friends who already have them just go ahead and use life jackets. And then there is the train of thought that is no flotation aids at all. I have seen benefits with them all, but at the end of the day you may have to go through a few options, before you find what best comforts your child.
Now that we have a swimmer we have progressed with our water toys. We have dive rings, toypedos, swim through rings, noodles, and fins. Oh and don't forget the ever popular water cannons and the such.
Honestly everyone asks how myself and some other close friends have such young swimmers...and I think there are a few major factors. #1...making it fun whether at home or in a lesson. #2...comfort, do what it takes to make your child have an enjoyable water experience. When they are cold or scared, take a break, talk it out, etc.. #3...exposure, the more opportunity they have the more comfortable they will be. And this needs to include other children their age. We saw this in full action last Friday. We have been working on my daughter's back float all summer. One of her best buds came over and she could...and within 5 minutes our daughter was right along side her back-floating with kicks all over the pool.
So I have a lot in draft right now...all-inclusive, more camping, plan your ski vacation now...and a guest article from a friend who just did an all day concert with their 18month old.