Swimming Pools and Swimming Lessons

Living in Dubai is hot.  Hot.  HOT!
Very hot in the summer.
Like 50 degree plus.
So we spend lots of time in the pool when the temperatures get so hot we can’t go outside without being in the cooled pool.  Yep you read that right, temperatures here get so hot the pools need to be cooled.  Bit different to the UK where pools need to be heated!
Since being here, and even before we left, we’ve embarked on a few different swimming courses for the toddler.  We’ve done a few baby lessons, we’ve tried ourselves.  We kept coming back to the same issue time and time again.  The toddler is not confident in the water unless he is able to put his feet on the floor.  So he needs to be sat on the steps splashing or in the baby swimming pool.  And he did not want his head to go under the water.
All fine in theory.
Except given the proximity to water we are in most of the time, plus the fact that swimming is covered in schools from the age of 3, I wanted the toddler to have more of a grounding.  So we signed up this term for Toddler Splash and I cannot believe the difference that his swimming teacher Karen has made to him.
That plus the fact I spend all morning before the lesson telling him that we are going to go swimming like Nemo and Dory…..
Now he will let me dunk him under the water, jump in, play rockets, climb out and swim from Karen under the “tunnel” to me.
Different child to the one who screamed blue murder when I used to utter the words “Ready…..” as he thought I was going to dunk him under water.  This child lets me pull him under the water during a noisy rendition of “If you are happy and you know it go under water” and comes back up laughing telling me “that was fun mummy”
Toddler Splash has made a difference to our swimming life, the class size is small, the songs are lively and Karen especially is so engaging, remembering every childs name, full of praise (for mummy too), showing what to do with a doll, never pushing a child to do something they aren’t ready for, and remembering what they did last week so you can build on it the next.
My mum was over this week when we had our swimming lesson, so this week I actually got some photos and can show you some of what we do:

Rocket ships, the toddler stands with his arms above his head (cute to say the least) and we do “1, 2, 3 blast off” and I pull him from the ledge to glide through the water with superman arms.



Monkey hands!  This is one of my favourite activities, designed to teach a child to hold onto the wall and shuffle along to where they can stand.  We do this chanting “monkey hands, monkey hands, monkey hands” and the toddler comes home to tell Daddy all about how good his monkey hands are getting.  He can now shuffle himself a good 5 metres along the wall without any help from me, not bad for a 2 year old with little arms!


And the toddlers favourite
“One, Two, Three Jump to Mummy”
Where he stands with toes on the edge, launches himself into the water to me, I turn him around and send him back to the edge with the command “reach” where he pulls himself out and we do it all over again!

We are still working on swimming with a noodle and a kick board, and are now down to him only having to hold onto one finger with the others curled around the noodle.  Our splashing kicking legs are nearly there and as I say the biggest hurdle I faced was the screaming at the thought of going underwater appears to have been overcome, at least for this week.

Now just to keep momentum and hopefully he will be swimming on the noodle on his own before too long!  The only problem we have is that the new baby will be here and Mummy can’t get in the pool anymore so if anyone has any tips for swimming with toddlers and babies together then I am all ears…

Seychelles Mama


  1. July 24, 2015 / 12:23 am

    Interesting post. I would love for my one and only child – 9 months old – to learn how to swim or at least become confident in a pool. We had no lessons nor pool experiences with him, except for one time when he was 6 months old (and for 10 minutes only). I wonder if Karen gives baby classes?

  2. Karen
    August 13, 2015 / 1:31 pm

    Thank you Laura for that lovely review! Can I teach your baby boy to swim in September? I hope the toddler terror has kept swimming like Dory. In reply to Emirati Mama, yes I teach babies with babysplashdubai .

    • August 13, 2015 / 2:36 pm

      The little one definitely needs to get his wings and the Toddler needs to relearn water confidence! He loves the water but is less Dory like 🙂

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