We recently attended a fabulous wedding in Kelowna, BC. We (ok, I) saw this as a perfect opportunity to teach Kaden how to swim. Now, some of you may be thinking ‘Wait, isn’t Kaden like, 3 months old? Surely he is too young to swim’. Correct – Kaden is 3 months old. Too young to swim? Clearly you haven’t read his birth story. This lad was born swimming and it would be selfish of me to get in the way of him and an Olympic Gold medal. Keeping in mind that we are sending him off to swim school in just three weeks (The Minnow To Merman Academy For Boys – a boarding school in Switzerland), we wanted to brush him up on the basics and share with the world the simple steps of teaching your baby to swim.
1. Fuel up. This may seem obvious but you would be surprised at how many ‘other moms’ completely disregard this integral part of the process or simply rely on fishy crackers. We actually CARE about our child – so we hired a swim nanny (recommended by Minnows To Merman) whose purpose is ensure Kaden is properly ‘topped up’ before each training session. You want to ensure they get lots of sugar (for energy bursts), lots of fibre (so they poop regularly and aren’t carting around extra weight) and of course, just the right amount of caffeine in case they are doing long distances. Wouldn’t want them falling asleep mid breast-stroke!
2. Strategize. During the dating process, I knew I wanted great things for my future children. Dating someone who wasn’t a professional swimmer/lifeguard/swim coach just wasn’t an option. It is for this reason I would ask all potential suitors to remove their shirts before agreeing to go out with them. A pair of unclad swimmer’s shoulders are hard to miss. If you weren’t as forward thinking as I was at 16 – give your head a shake and put your kid into softball. If you WERE thinking about your future children – make sure you and your Lover/Swim Coach are on the same page when instructing your precious bundle the ways of the waves.
3. Gradual entry. ‘Some moms’ just walk right into the water with their children. Well, let me be the first to say, I am not ‘some mom’. Part of our swimming ritual includes 45 minutes of sand sensory time. No more, no less. This allows the baby’s body to properly prepare for the next step – getting into the water (Minnows To Merman has done extensive studies on brain development and all signs point to sand sensory time prior to water experiences). We personally bring our own sand to every body of water to ensure Kaden has an optimal experience (this is why we got the van).
4. Pep talk. After the sensory sand time, we pump up our baby with rousing pep talks. Babies feed off your energy so we have a selection of chants, cheers, choreographed dances, speeches and shouts we utilize. Some of our go-to’s include: Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, the Canadian Anthem, Michael Jackson’s Will You Be There and/or Beat It and some personalized sports cheers. This process should be anywhere between 1-2 hours.
6. The Walk Out and Dip. The bodies of water you are teaching your baby to swim in need to be somewhat glacier. This helps invigorate them and encourage movement (according to Minnows To Merman, babies who learn to swim in heated pools tend to be 5 seconds slower in all timed races). To start the swimming process, we walk our baby out (we don’t want him to rely on us to get him into the water) and do an initial dip to christen the experience.
7. Brainwashing. Again, seems obvious but ‘some moms’ just don’t get it. Brainwashing is the key to getting your children to do anything. Minnows to Merman states that the more animated and loud the mother is – the longer the baby will swim for. We’ve clocked Kaden at 11 hours and 26 minutes in the water (I am very loud and very animated).
8. Recovery. Now that your child is an expert swimmer, it’s key that they get they get time to process their experience (pictured above – just look at the passion burning in his eyes) and nap (also pictured above). For a nap guideline, we like to take our child’s swim time and multiple it by 3. DO NOT LET THEM WAKE UP BEFORE THE END OF THEIR NAP. If, in the unfortunate event they DO wake up, it is imperative you start the swimming process from the beginning.
We hope you find these tips useful and look forwarding to crushing-I mean competing-against all your babies in the upcoming swim meets!