Bubbling babies learn to swim
Sgt. Ida Irby,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
Parents eager to swim laps with their small children in the Olympic-size pool discovered that exposure to water is a fun introduction to children’s water safety and exercise.
The first four-week children’s swim course, called “Mommy and Me,” began April 7 at the newly renovated Replica Aquatic Center here.
Toddler swim classes focus on water familiarization for children as young as 6 months old. Parents help relax their toddlers as they build confidence in the water.
Although the class is called “Mommy and Me,” fathers are encouraged to attend. There were both mothers and fathers in the inaugural class of almost 30 parents with their tiny swimmers.
“It’s good to see dads involved in swim class because children are more attentive with two parents,” said Nicole Barrios, licensed lifeguard. “Parents who attend class in pairs can share in coaching and holding the child.”
“My oldest daughter Nia is almost 3. Although she is timid, she took to the water like a fish,” said Tianna M. Bowden, MWR Food and Beverage Programs manager. She attended the class with her two daughters. “Nia loved splashing and kicking, but most of all we loved swimming together. Cora is 18 months old and she had a hard time getting comfortable in the cool water.”
“The class gives parents and children an opportunity to get used to swimming,” said Barrios. “Many techniques are taught to include: kicking feet, using hands for splashing, moving hands simultaneously and blowing bubbles.”
Barrios educated the parents on how to coach children who are afraid of water. The most important lesson babies learn on day one was how to blow bubbles so they don’t swallow the water.
As far as amateur swimmers go, Nia and Cora certainly are ahead of the game: The 3-year-old and her 18-month-old sister practice blowing bubbles at home in their bathtub just like they learned in the class.
“The most important thing I learned during the class was to let my girls swim at their own pace,” said Bowden. “I am very proud of my girls. They have never swam before, but I am sure with a few more classes they will get the hang of it.”
Registration to attend four 25-minute children swim-classes is $15 prior to or day of registration. To learn more, call 568-7431.
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