Bush Kids

Children and Nature

Summer of Swimming

2

P1010121-1Australian 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?

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2 thoughts on “Summer of Swimming

  1. Nasreen

    “Learning to swim is really all about consistent time in the water”…I discovered that the last two summers. After feeling a bit guilty for not insisting my 5 year old take swimming lessons, in one summer of regular beach-going he was confident and doggy-paddling. Last summer he was taken to the beach nearly every day by friends and family while I stayed home with his newborn brother, and when we finally went together at summer’s end I was stunned to see him negotiating waves and diving down to collect stones!

    1. Pauline Post author

      Hi Nasreen – I agree and think the pressure to put kids into formal swimming lessons is another example of the general trend of overloading our kids with structured activities ‘in case’ they miss out on something. I don’t think they miss out at all, in fact at 5 years old they learn a lot more in the water through experimentation and confidence-building themselves than through direct instruction. There is a time and place for that, but I think it can come later once they are ready and strong enough to integrate floating and stroke technique and breathing.

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