I greatly value the skill of swimming. I was taught how to swim at a very young age, and being in the water is one of my favorite places to be. Lakes, pools, streams, the ocean, hot tubs, birthing pools (!) you name it. I remember wearing my bathing suit under my clothes as a small child, just in case the opportunity to swim came up!
Now I am teaching my littles how to swim, and encouraging a love and respect for water. I draw from my mom's guidance (from her years as an instructor, stroke and turn judge, pool manager, etc.), and my own experience teaching swimming lessons. This book is a HUGE help in my approach to swimming:
I just read it a few days ago, but my mom's philosophy all came from this book. It emphasizes a love of water and fun, as well as water safety. The author's goal is to teach mothers how to teach their babies and toddlers how to swim. She believes that this is because it is fun, but also because it could save their lives if they fell or jumped into water. Many of the lessons can be done in a bathtub, and the author encourages reiterating lessons in the bathtub on a daily basis.
Here is a page out of the book that I love:
Just the other day, while I was at our local public pool with my kids, the lifeguard asked me how I teach our kids to swim. She is an instructor! I guess I emphasize comfort, FUN, relaxation, and then I also get the babies underwater at least once while we are at the pool. The book above teaches you how to train your baby to close their eyes and hold their breath, simply by following a few steps. I want to teach Ryder how to get himself onto his back. The book says that babies can't lift their heads out of the water to get a breath until they are about 2 1/2 years old, but you can teach them to get themselves onto their back and float. They can also learn how to bob (go up and down) and get breaths until they reach the wall.
Do you take your kids swimming? Do they love it? Do you get in and hold them closely and teach them how to be independent swimmers? Do you worry about water safety? I worry about it!!