Thinking of starting your little one in swimming lessons? What a great idea! When I first became a mother it was one of the first classes I signed up for. I didn’t have to search long to find a company I thought would be best suited for me and my first born, called Puddle Ducks.
After years of being a swimming instructor myself in America I knew what I was looking for and I could tell within a few lessons with Puddle Ducks it was a great match for us. But those that don’t know what to look for read on and I bet the only company that offers everything below will be Puddle Ducks.
Puddle Ducks was created in 2001 by “mumpreneurs” Tracey & Jo, so you know as parents themselves you can trust they have your child’s best interest and safety at the very core of their business. They know and understand the various stages of children and how they work in the water. Their teachers are highly qualified, hand picked to guide your child confidently in the water. I can vouch for this as I have experienced numerous lessons over the years with a variety of Puddle Duck teachers and I have been impressed and happy with each one.
So it was only natural after a few (amazing) years with Puddle Ducks with my first born that I signed Missy Moo up the moment she arrived to start her own Puddle Ducks journey with me. Missy Moo was only a few weeks old when I started her lessons. That’s the beauty of Puddle Ducks you can start from birth and even go one step before that with their Aquanatal classes if you really want a head start on the water experience before baby arrives.
I remember my very first lesson with Missy Moo and even though I knew what to expect as I had done the very same with Buba, it still was an amazing experience. It’s a different experience with each child. Missy Moo took to it faster than Buba did. She was quickly smiling and floating on her back (aided of course) as we sang songs and relaxed in the water getting used to our first ‘Floaties’ lesson together.
I have heard time and time again, in the locker rooms from new mothers that are worried they are just torturing their screaming baby or that they don’t know if they should continue with the lessons as their baby shivers a little. We all know how it feels to be a first time parent and second guess every decision we make. I always try to reassure them they need to give it a few lessons before giving up. It could be so many other things: tired, cranky, not well, hungry, just an off day, or just nervous it’s something new. It takes time for a baby or child to get used to anything new in life. I feel bad those that instantly quit and don’t realize what they are missing out on. It’s such a great journey to take with your little ones on. I truly believe that and while I don’t like having to get wet in winter when you see the joy on your child’s face and they are accomplishing things in their lessons, it’s all worth it!
I was really keen to have both my kids be good swimmers for numerous reasons. I signed up initially for safety reasons. My parents live right on the water and we travel a lot to beaches abroad and stay in hotels with pools. Having our lives around so much water I wanted to feel at ease that my children knew how to be around water, knew how to swim, and all the safety measures that go with being around water. Puddle Ducks is amazing for life saving skills throughout all their lessons. They have pj day which is both hilarious, embarrassing and brilliant. It’s a completely different feeling of being fully clothed in water with your baby and your baby in their pjs too. Let’s face it, a child isn’t going to be in their swim gear if they accidentally fall into the water. It’s a great concept to teach them how they feel and move differently with clothes on then they do with swim gear on and for adults too. It’s harder than you think. Along with pj day they are constantly incorporating safety signals and safety actions in their lessons as simple as teaching your baby to hold on to the wall. I even, after years with Puddle Ducks say “hold on, hold on” in the same sing song tone they do in the classes but it works. I can’t believe Missy Moo at 18 months old can hold on to the side and “monkey crawl” along it to safety. It amazes me what you can teach a baby at such a young age. It’s skills that could save their life!
One on one time:
Even though safety was my main priority for starting lessons with Puddle Ducks. I also wanted to enjoy one on one time with Missy Moo in the class. Having two small toddlers at home it’s hard to divide time for just me and baby. Buba was the first born so he got all my undivided attention for the first year of his life. I wanted to give Missy Moo a little of that too. I love the closeness that swimming lessons brings to a parent and child because you are holding them and teaching them at the same time, they love the 100% complete focus they get from you.
It’s time where we can laugh and sing together in the pool. We always have a great time blowing bubbles, playing the lovely games the teachers provide for us whether it’s playing sea horse on a fun noodle, or jelly on a plank and jumping in. Missy Moo almost always squeals with delight. The teachers always make learning upbeat and fun for the kids which I really love. They try to relate with each child and seem to remember who is more clingy than whom and who likes what, which is amazing. They always care for your child’s feelings so if your little one is having an off day they are great at altering the game for them or encouraging them to join in. It makes one on one time great with your little one when they don’t feel like they are being pressured or forced to do something scary or not in the mood to do leaving you to just enjoy the time there together.
There is nothing more rewarding then your baby squealing with laughter and smiling from ear to ear when they have accomplished something in the class. You can see from Missy Moo’s photos she is absolutely loving it and no I didn’t even have to mention a chocolate bribery. It’s true happiness.
I was even more impressed when I noticed the confidence boost our swimming lessons were giving Missy Moo (and I see it with my son too). Bath time is easier and more fun as we incorporate the songs and techniques in the tub, from our lessons. Holidays are amazing because the kids just want to get in the pool and practice their bubbles, their monkey crawl, their underwater swimming, and for Buba swimming unaided now. It has made our lives easier having them love the water. I am a huge water baby myself and have loved swimming since I can remember. I even taught swimming lessons myself so I can say the techniques Puddle Ducks are teaching really work and the kids relate to the songs and games they play. Some of these technique the company I used to work for could use advice on but I do think it’s because Puddle Ducks was designed by mothers! They know how children react and learn best. Win-win.
Teaching parents too:
A great gain from Puddle Ducks is that they don’t just teach babies and children to swim, they teach parents too and no I don’t mean how to swim. What I mean by this is that they teach parents how to be with their child in the water. You would be surprised (my husband included) how many don’t know how to hold a baby or child in the water, or how to help them in their journey to learning how to swim, especially if they don’t swim themselves. Not everyone knows how to swim but if you are a parent that can’t swim that doesn’t mean you can’t sign up for Puddle Ducks and teach your baby or child to swim. The teachers are amazing in every lesson showing all us parents how to hold our child, how to aid them or signal them for each action. It never occurred to me at first because I was experienced myself but the first time I saw a mother anxious because she didn’t know how to hold her baby in the water I realized being in water isn’t natural to everyone. I saw it in my husband the first time he got in the water instead of me with our son. He didn’t know what to do at first. The teachers are amazing and without embarrassment or even bringing it to attention they always show parents with their lovely doll named Evangline (in our class) how to hold and manoeuvre your baby for whatever swimming action they are doing. It’s great that they are repetitious too. Children learn best when actions and commands are constantly repeated and the signals I think are great for both the kids and parents alike.
Yes, we have days where my son or daughter have cried the entire class or refused to do an action or two. Yes, the kids can get separation anxious at certain ages and refuse to swim from teacher to parent or vice versa. They are kids after all, not robots. My overall years of experience with Puddle Ducks has made me a firm believer that almost ALL kids love their swimming lessons with Puddle Ducks for those that stuck with it.
I have benefited from our lessons as much as my kids. I have made great mommy friends through swimming that are now apart of our life outside of swimming. Most importantly I have made so many great memories with both my kids, one on one in their lessons.
The benefits are endless as you can see. I know the price seems a little higher than other swimming lessons but I have also done other swimming lessons with my children and none of them cover all this in their lessons. It’s about the experience as well as the learning for Puddle Ducks and I think it’s well worth every penny!
*I have been doing Puddle Duck swimming lessons for years but have been asked to write my own opinion here of my overall experience with Puddle Ducks as a PR collaboration.