What happens when your children outnumber you in the pool?
As a swim school I have to say we teach more than our share of twins.
We hear a lot about how difficult it is to get to swimming lessons with twins, particularly when your school requires you to have one adult per baby.
This is how we accommodate twins who find it hard to ring in another adult to help.
Each day we make slots available for private twins lessons. These sessions are 20 minutes and $45. One parent gets in the pool with one instructor (and one baby each).
These are personal lessons and are conducted when no one else is in the pool, a great way to introduce your babies to swimming. The instructor takes you through the same baby swim lessons as our group classes, shows you what to do with one child while they’re working with the other.
Then we swap so everyone gets a go with parent and instructor.
If you have an older child we try to accommodate their group lesson either directly before or after your private twins lesson.
Triplets you say – we’re game if you are.
In the meantime, here are our top 6 tips for swimming with twins at home.
How do you make sure ALL of your kids are safe, especially when you have multiples?
1. Rules, Rules, Rules, Rules.
Safe play is the only kind of play in the water. If your children are verbal, ask them to tell you what the rules are BEFORE you get into the water.
PRO TIP – ask them what their consequence should be for NOT following the rules.
Make sure everybody knows… if the rules are broken by one person, we’re ALL out of the pool. The water is no place for Mr or Mrs Nice Guy.
2. Life Saving Questions.
Can I get in the water?
Without exception every verbal child should be asking an adult this question before they enter the water. Non verbal children should be waiting until an adult is in the water FIRST before they’re invited in. A child shouldn’t so much as touch the water with a hand without permission. This question helps children respect that the water is a place where they need adult help.
Are you ready?
This question is for when they’re in the water. I personally had a sickening moment when my daughter who was a really good swimmer, at 2 years old swam out to me from the edge of the pool, while my back was turned. I looked around and she was quite close to me, but not close enough to have made it to me had I not turned around. Since that day every child I work with has to ASK the parent they’re swimming out to if they’re ready, and they need to wait for a reply before they swim out.
3. Have everything you need nearby
As a parent of twins, this would be a no brainer for you. Organised would have to be your middle name. But when it comes to the water, if you have forgotten it, forget it. Nothing is more important than supervising your children in the water. No quick trip to grab the towels or the water bottles. Once you’re in the water, you don’t need anything else other than your safety police hat.
4. Sing, sing, sing.
Have your little people sing to you as they’re playing. It’s a way to keep your eyes and your ears on their safety. A child underwater is not singing. Noisy play is good play in the water.
5. Swimming lessons.
I’m not saying this to be self-serving. You don’t need to come to us. Please do swimming lessons, somewhere. Children who can fall in and get back to the side are safer kids around the water. Children who have practiced breath control are safer around the water.
6. If at all possible, get help.
Even a friend who has one child who would like to join you for a swim – that reduces your adult / child ratio from 1.2 to 2.3. That’s a win in my books.
I find nothing more joyful than seeing children playing in the water. It’s such an incredible place for play. There’s an easy balance between play and rough play, between safe and unsafe. It’s our job to help our children understand the difference.
If you have multiples – you are my parenting hero. Two babies, two toddlers, two kindy kids.
I’m pretty sure it must be double the joy at the end of the day when they’re sleeping.
Stay safe, swim safe.