A few week's ago I was contacted by the lovely people from Puddle Ducks Newcastle to ask if Sophia would like to attend a free trial lesson at one of there baby swimming classes. I have always wanted Sophia to enjoy swimming from a young age as her older sister has attended swimming lessons for the last few years and loves swimming. We thought Sophia would too as she loves bath time, but when we have taken her to the local leisure centre pool in the past she has screamed as soon as we put her in the water and we have had to take her back out again. However I had a look on the puddle ducks website which you can view here and I was impressed by what I read, as they have lot's of classes for different age's and ability's and the reviews on the site seemed fab.
We were impressed that they offer classes in various locations throughout the North East on different days and times, meaning there will be a class to suit everyone. Not only do they do baby swimming lessons they also do aqua natal classes for pregnant women and lessons for older children too. Puddle Ducks also have classes all over the country not just in the North East. We were giving the choice of various locations and classes to choose from and we opted to attend the class at Woodlawn school which is in Monkseaton Tyne and Wear, as this was close to where we live and was at a time that suited us (1pm on a Sunday) it was a splashers lesson aimed at baby's 6-15 months in age.
We arrived at the venue and there were male and female changing rooms and playpens in the changing rooms so you could put baby somewhere safe while you got changed. They had lots of benches so you could easily get baby changed too. Sophia's daddy was taken her in the pool as I don't feel confident in a swimsuit now I am 6 months pregnant, but other family members are free to watch from the benches at the side of the pool. But be warned it was very hot inside the pool area so make sure you don't wear a jumper! The class sizes were fairly small with only five babies in the class and Sophia's daddy was pleased to see he was not the only daddy, there was a mix of both mum's, dad's and grandparents in the water with the children.
At the start of the lesson, you pass your baby to the poolside helper while you get into the pool and then baby gets passed to you which is great if you are attending the lessons on your own with baby. The swimming instructor Julie was really friendly and great with the little ones in the lesson, she explained that they treat each child individually and only do what that child is comfortable to do, which I think is great. Sophia seemed happy in the water and she didn't cry to get out which we were amazed at, she was happy and splashing her arms around. I think this was due to the water being warm like a bath and it being quiet compared to a noisy, busy leisure centre pool.
The lesson started off with some nursery rhyme songs, daddy blowing bubbles and splashing in the water which Sophia loved. Then she was getting dunked in the water, jumping off floats on the side of the pool into her daddy's arms (with help of course ) and paddling around the pool with a float chasing a rubber duck. Everything was explained and demonstrated clearly by the instructor and they only did things that they knew the children would be comfortable with, there was lots of fun activity's and songs throughout to keep their attention.
The lesson lasted 30 minutes and it flew over, Sophia really enjoyed it as did the other baby's in the class. Not one child cried, they all looked happy and were smiling and laughing. When the lesson ended the staff once again helped parents out of the pool with the babies. After the lesson, Sophia's daddy said that he really enjoyed the lesson and it was really nice to do something with Sophia just him and her.
The lessons are quite expensive at around £13 per half hour lesson but I defiantly think that they are worth it. Sophia loved it and her daddy loved it too, the lessons teach little ones to be confident in the water and have fun at the same time. We have already enquired about booking Sophia onto some lessons as we would love her to return as she absolutely loved it. I would highly recommend these lessons to anyone who wants to take there baby swimming, they are so much better than taking your baby to the local leisure centre. The pools are warm and clean and the lessons are fun and aimed at your own child's ability's, they are a great way to spend some quality time with your child whilst getting your child used to swim.
* Disclosure: we were invited to attend this swimming lesson for free by Puddle Ducks North East, however, all opinions are my own.