J and I often talk about how Simon is socialized and introduced to new opportunities. We don’t want to over schedule him for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that baby classes are expensive. That means that we have to be selective with what we decide to do with him. He’s still reallllllllly young, so although we want to expose him to new experiences, we also want to do so in an age appropriate way. For us, for now, this means deciding between music classes and swimming classes.
For right now, we’ve chosen swimming.
Simon has been taking swimming lessons since the day he turned 4 months old, which is the youngest he could start swimming at Goldfish Swim School in Chicago. Some might think that this is way too young, but we cleared it with his doctor before we signed up.
It was really important to me that he start swimming lessons before he was old enough to be afraid of the water, which can happen really early. I grew up in a family of swimmers, so it was sort of no question that Simon would learn early. I was pouring water over Simon’s face / head in the bath VERY early, so when I put him under the water at swimming lessons, he was unafraid – I never want him to be afraid of the water – smart, but not afraid.
I have taken him to most of his classes (1x per week for 30 minutes), but last week J got in the water with him and I was behind the camera.
Simon is one of the youngest in his infant swimming class, but I still see growth week over week. He has started closing his eyes and squinting his face when you say, “Ok Simon, 1, 2, 3…” which is what we say every time we’re going to go under water (what J is doing in the first picture below). He also starts kicking his feet as soon as he is on his belly or back.
It’s going to be quite awhile before Simon is floating on his own or consciously kicking, I get that… but I still think that the exposure to the class, the different people, and the other kids is important for him. He doesn’t have to be a swimmer like I was, but he does need to learn to be safe around the pool.
The classes are among the cutest that I have seen. I taught swimming lessons in high school and college and they definitely weren’t as creative as Goldfish. The cute props and songs help.
Classes are comprised of several mini lessons that feel like play time – things like finding and putting away plastic balls, kicking towards bigger balls to make them move, following a huge rubber ducky through the water, staring up at a mirror while practicing floating… but all of these quick play activities are teaching Simon invaluable skills.
For the next few months (and likely longer), we’re going to stick to swimming lessons as Simon’s primary activity, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested in other classes or opportunities to socialize in the future.
I’d love to know – what are you doing with your babies that you feel is worth the cost when they’re this young? Music? Art? Swimming? Something else?
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