Australian summers are traditionally synonymous with swimming. Long, hot days and plenty of accessible water mean that most of us have grown up swimming in pools, dams, rivers and, of course, beaches. So far this year we have had barely a shower or bath between us, as we have spent nearly all our days swimming. There is nothing better than happy exhausted kids from long days of swimming in the sun.
Each summer, we also take part in the ‘Learn to Swim’ campaign, run at our local pool daily for two weeks, so that the children can develop the skills to swim safely and confidently. Our property contains numerous dams and creeks within close walking distance to our house, making it imperative that the children understand the basics of water safety. As their swimming abilities grow, we also encourage our children to join us in kayaking, surfing, snorkelling and many other water-based activities. It is exciting that our eldest (now eight) is now a strong enough swimmer to be able to surf behind the breakers at the beach, take on the rapids in the river, or snorkel in the deep water. The younger children are still in life jackets in deep water, but their swimming skills were boosted by the two month road trip we did to northern Australia, when we swam nearly every day.
The twins are doing swimming lessons for the first time this summer. For smaller children I feel that regular exposure to swimming and lots of time gaining confidence in the water is actually more important than lessons, which come into their own later once they are ready to put floating, breathing, and stroke technique all together. Learning to swim is really all about consistent time in the water.
As if we hadn’t had enough swimming, next week we are off to the coast to surf, snorkel, fish, paddle and swim some more. Do you swim all summer long too?