"I did it! I did it alone, Mommy"!
What a lovely sentence to hear from your child.
Since a few weeks, my kids, my husband and I are taking swimming classes with Aquababies Malta and needless to say, we are very happy.
I first heard about Aquababies in 2016. Back then I was not really sure if it would be a good idea to attend the course. I was doubting if the classes would be worth the money. We have a pool at home, so it felt a bit weird to pay for 30 minute classes in a swimming pool half an hour away from where we live. But since Aquababies promises to teach your baby or toddler survival skills when accidentally falling in the water (and a pool at home is a safety concern), we decided to give it a go.
When I gave Aquababies Malta a call, they were very friendly and helpful. I called early February and asked when the next available classes were. The lady from Aquababies Malta asked me about the age of my kids and if the kids have any water experience. Even though my booking was last minute and our schedule is already quite busy, Aquababies did their best to book lessons starting as soon as possible, for the day and time that suits us best. Therefore, thank you so much!
So, to make a long story short, in March we already had our first lesson, and our little ones were enjoying it very much! Every week, we all look forward to Sunday morning. As soon as the kids see the swimming bag, they get all excited and can't wait to be in the pool and have fun in the water.
The pool where we go to swim (at the Hilltop Gardens retirement home in Naxxar) is very nice and clean. Even though there are several classes back-to-back, the lessons are always starting on time and ending on time. The instructors are really well organised. The water is warm (almost body temperature). And the swimming groups are small, so there is attention for each individual.
For the swimming lessons, Aquababies instructors are very creative with their games and exercises, and explain very well what the parent and the child have to do. Each session takes 30 minutes, which seems to be flying by so fast, but you better believe we are exhausted at the end!
Each session has a similar structure so the kids can get used to it and know what to expect. At the start, the group forms a circle and sings a few songs: "This is the way we say hello, say hello, say hello (kids and parents are waving). This is the way we make a splash, make a splash, make a splash (kids and parents are splashing with their hands). This is the way we kick our legs, kick our legs, kick our legs" and so on. If you have kids, you most likely already know which tune goes with the song 🙂
"Humpty Dumpty" is also one of the favourite songs in class. During this song the kids will sit or stand at the edge of the pool. As soon as they hear the words "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall", they have to jump into the water. But the goal of the exercise is that the kids learn to turn around by themselves and climb back up, so that they can save themselves in an emergency situation, which is great!
The song "Jelly on the plate", I heard it the first time in this class. At the start of the song, the kids sit on a floating pool noodle. As soon as we hear the teacher say "full of the plate", us parents take the pool noodle and push it away. The kids 'fall' in the water, they have to swim and try to grab it back.
It is amazing how much fun they all have during those 30 minutes.
The swimming class is all about having fun with your babies in the water, while teaching them some valuable lifesaving skills.
You can start taking these classes when your baby is 6 months old, all the way up to toddlers of 4 years. And it is for sure a lot of fun.
Our kids are now much more comfortable in a horizontal swimming position, especially our 2 year old girl learned a lot. They practice kicking their feet and propelling themselves. And the most important things: how to control their breath in/under the water and how to get out of the pool.
Update: As faith would have it, just a few days ago, after I already wrote this article, our 3,5 year old son fell into the pool, with bike and all. Luckily he was not injured. Of course I was supervising him, but it still happened. I immediately jumped into the pool, but we could not believe our eyes. Our son could hold his head above water. He was swimming. Paddling actually, but still! He remembered all the movements he learned during the swimming classes at Aquababies.
We helped him out and padded him dry, but our boy was not scared or traumatised. In fact, he could not stop telling us for a couple of days about how he fell into the water with his bike and how he was swimming all by himself!
Now we know for sure it was definitely worth paying for those swimming classes. And on Sunday, we'll go back again and tell them all about the little accident with a happy ending.
We are ready for summer, we can't wait!
If you would like to join the swimming classes with Aquababies Malta as well, we just received an e-mail that the new classes will be starting very soon. Don't wait, join the fun with your kids!
More information: http://www.aquababiesmalta.com