This post is an ad in collaboration with Puddleducks North East. For more information, please visit my disclosure page.
I loved going to swimming lessons when I was a kid. Every Saturday morning was spent going to the pool and I loved the challenge of swimming to the bottom to get a brick, which seemed to be a pretty staple activity at the time. I remember being very proud of the swimming certificates I had on my bedroom wall and I even got my swimming badges sewn onto my Spiderman swimming trunks! When Zak was born, I knew that I wanted to get him swimming while he was still young so that he would be completely confident in the water.
Over the past 10 weeks, we have been going along to Puddleducks North East classes at Keelman’s Way school in South Tyneside. To say that Zak has made progress would be an understatement. He has gone from being quite nervous in the water to being completely confident to jump in and to hold onto the side independently.
If you’re looking for swimming lessons for toddlers, I can’t recommend Puddleducks enough.
Here are my top 10 reasons to love Puddleducks.
1. Weekend Classes
For working parents like us, it can be really tricky to get to swimming lessons during the week. It’s so handy for us that Puddleducks run weekend lessons on both Saturdays and Sundays in a range of venues across the North East.
2. Heated pool
When Zak was a bit younger, we took him swimming in a pool close to where we live, but we stopped going as he often began to turn blue after around 20 minutes in the water. This isn’t an issue at Puddleducks, where the pools are heated. Our pool is a hydropool in a special school and is spotlessly clean. I have to say, though, it felt even warmer when it was pyjama week!
3. Amazing teachers
We struck the jackpot with Kimberley, our swimming teacher. Although Zak took a while to warm to her (he’s going through a stranger danger phase at the moment, which is a good thing, I suppose!), Kimberley was very patient with him and gave him space to acclimatise. After a few weeks he was happy to go to her to demonstrate how to do the different activities. Kimberley remembers his quirks from week to week and we feel very lucky to learn with her.
4. Well-paced lessons
Let’s face it, toddler attention spans are quite short. My attention span doesn’t last much longer than Zak’s either! With Puddleducks we get through so much in one lesson, with just the right amount of time to practise each skill before moving on to something else.
5. A good mixture of practice and new skills
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect! In each lesson, we constantly revisit skills that we’ve already learned, but we are also always learning new skills to boost Zak’s confidence in the water. This has meant that Zak has learned so many new skills in a short period of time.
6. Adults get in the water
Being realistic, it would be very difficult to have a toddler swimming lesson without their adults getting in! I make no secret of the fact that I love getting in the water with Zak and I’m not looking forward to the day he is confident enough to not need me! In our class, it’s mostly the children’s dads that get in the water and we are taught why it is important to learn each new skill. Although only one adult can get in the water for the lesson, another adult can watch from the poolside.
Puddleducks lessons are filled with rhymes and songs, and many of these are the same every week meaning that there is a firm routine for the children to follow. Zak often squeals with delight when the ‘3 Puddleducks Went Swimming One Day’ props come out because he knows that we give the ducks a high five at the end!
8. Splash time
The last few minutes of each lesson are dedicated to ‘Splash Time.’ This is when we can take photos, which is a good way of making sure that anyone watching can get pictures without interrupting the lesson. We also use it to go back over the aspects of the lesson that Zak has enjoyed the most so that he finishes with an enormous smile on his face.
9. Thoughtful touches
One aspect that sets Puddleducks aside from other swimming lessons is that there are little touches like a travel cot in the changing room. Having a travel cot here is really helpful for getting changed – Zak can stay safe in the cot while I get ready. I can imagine how difficult it must be to contain a toddler in a cubicle while getting myself dried, so this is really useful.
10. It’s great fun!
Swimming with Puddleducks has become the highlight of our week and we are going to continue lessons after the end of this collaboration. Each Saturday morning is so much fun and we really look forward to our lessons. Both Zak and I leave with enormous smiles and I can’t wait to watch his confidence in the water grow even more over the coming months.
If you live elsewhere in the country, check out the Puddleducks website to find classes near you.