When Big Sister E was around eight or nine months old, she and I started taking swim lessons with friends at an indoor pool. Granted, I didn't expect that she would be learning the front crawl, but it was a fun and easy way to splash around in the water and hopefully get her used to being comfortable in it... plus, she was just so darn cute with her chubby cheeks in a little swimsuit (see right).
All went fine for quite a few months and we even tried out a few different programs throughout the city (they ended up, in fact, being pretty similar). However, when she reached around 14 months old, Big Sister E started to lose the enjoyment out of going. She didn't want to have to jump off of the edge or put her head under water or much more than just play with the plastic toys.
Seeing as the whole point was to learn some skills while mainly having a good time, that session was our last. How could making my daughter cry over jumping into the pool be helping her develop a love for swimming?
So we took a break and here it is years later and both Big Sister E and Little Sister B have taken a few swim lessons again, this time with them both old enough to really be into it (demonstrated clearly by Little Sister B at left). They loved jumping in, trying to get their arms and legs moving at the same time, and anything else that their instructors managed to teach them.
With the arrival of summer, however, we have taken time off from the lessons and instead are spending time outdoors at the neighborhood pools. The issue that we have now is that there is only one of me and two of them... meaning I'm going to need help keeping them safe as they venture in, while also hopefully encouraging them to use what they've learned in their previous lessons.
Which is why the timing couldn't have been better to have been invited to be a blog Ambassador for the innovative and high quality products from SwimWays.
With a passion for creating toys, floats, games, and gear that help you make the most of your time in the pool, SwimWays has a great line of products that have been developed to help children be safe in and around the water. Having helped kids learn to swim for over 40 years with their Swim Steps products, it is no wonder that SwimWays believes that learning to swim is an important life skill.
No matter what the age and skill level of the child, the Swim Steps program has a variety of high quality items that can help them gain the knowledge and practice that they need in order to grow up to be a great swimmer.
Step 1: It’s my first time in the pool.
Step 2: I’m ready to paddle and splash.
Step 3: Teach me to swim so we can play together.
Step 4: I can do it—watch me go!
With all of the information on not only how the Swim Steps program is specially designed and proven to help kids gradually gain confidence in the water, but on the products and levels as well, I found it easy to pick the one that would fit each of my children best.
When a variety of great gear and toys arrived from SwimWays, all we needed was a time to hit the pool to try them out! Both girls couldn't have been more excited about the Fairy Tails (miniature brightly-colored mermaids with wings that flutter) and the Rainbow Reef Fish (that uses batteries to really swim!) and were happy to play with them in and out of the water.
But then it was time to swim!
SwimWays defines Swim Step 2 as "I'm ready to paddle and splash," where toddlers may feel ready to jump right in, but they need support and security as they learn swimming skills. Their Swim Sweater, Swim Vest, and Swim Shorty are just right for comfort and freedom of movement yet fully keeping them safe.
Little Sister B was more than pleased to pull on her Swim Shorty (available in two sizes: small/medium for 17-30 lbs and medium/large for 26-40 lbs) and right away it was easy to see that it wasn't going to get in her way at all. What a great way to stay afloat with ease!
Alternatively, for another fantastic way to provide peace of mind to parents while giving children the independence to move in the water, SwimWays' Swim Vest can do just that.
By easily zipping on and off, yet with adjustable cords to keep it in place, the Swim Vest has sturdy foam inserts to keep your child safe and secure in the water.
We've been very happy with both the Swim Shorty and the Swim Vest and just how much confidence that they have provided for Little Sister B. I love knowing that she's splashing and kicking her way to better swim skills while I don't have to be holding onto her tightly every second that we're in the pool.
The Power Swimr is available in three sizes for children from 20 pounds up to 80 pounds and is just what early swimmers in Swim Step 3 need for that extra boost to get them ready to swim without being too cumbersome or providing more help than they need.
By having the floatation pads secure in their hidden pockets and adjustable cords to keep the whole thing snugly in place, once this was clipped on Big Sister E, she was ready to hop in the pool and give it a go.
It worked wonderfully! Instead of holding Big Sister E up on top of the water like a life jacket, it managed to provide just enough support to allow her to paddle around in the water but not too much that she didn't have to work to stay up. Once she realized that, she was thrilled to show off her skills and feel like such a big kid swimming around with the family members that were in the pool with her.
I also love that the Power Swimr can be adjusted to go along with the child's pace, meaning that we can remove some of the floatation padding as Big Sister E is able to swim more and more on her own. Instead of going from all to nothing, she will be able to progressively continue to get better and better!
I can't wait to watch my girls improve their swimming skills more and more as we use these products - they've already been tremendous assets to our time in the water. No wonder SwimWays are known as such experts when it comes to swim safety and learning how to swim!
Available directly on their website or on Amazon, SwimWays has the toys, games, gear and more that you're sure to enjoy with your children for quite some time to come. And, for a great deal, every weekend this month SwimWays is rewarding their Facebook and Twitter followers with special sales! Every Friday in July at 4 pm, SwimWays will announce a 2-day sale where prices on a certain product or product category will be greatly reduced - don't miss it!
For even more fun, this Thursday, July 14, at 9 pm EST SwimWays will be hosting their first ever #SwimSteps Twitter party! Join @SwimWays and the @SwimProfessor as they discuss water safety and exploration... and give out TONS of prizes! There's a custom Tweetgrid already made and you can find out more and RSVP beforehand to be a part of the fun!
Plus, thanks to the generosity of SwimWays, one person will be able to bring home a little extra entertainment and swim safety for the pool this summer, because...
One lucky person will win their choice of FishKicks Kickboard or Fishbites Soft Swimmies from SwimWays!
To enter to win: Visit SwimWays and tell me another of their great products that catches your eye.
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
1 Extra Entry (per method) if you follow SwimWays on Twitter and/or Like them on Facebook.
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
WIN your choice of @SwimWays Kickboard or Swimmies for fun and safety in the water! http://bit.ly/prJxBm @thxmailcarrier #giveaway #win
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Giveaway will end on August 3rd at 11:59pm CST. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
A big thank you to SwimWays for the aforementioned products for me to review as well as the choice of a FishKicks Kickboard or Fishbites Soft Swimmies for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.