If you live in Singapore and you are a stay at home mother and you don’t make use of the public swimming pools in the day either for yourself or your kids, what a waste! Singapore is the capital of public swimming pools. We have like the highest density of public swimming pools in the world (wikitravel say one). Even Changi Airport has a swimming pool in the transit area. My friends who work for the Sports Council actually say that the public pools are severely under-utilised. And if you go during a weekday day you can see why. There is practically nobody at the pool except suntanners. Some pools are also not crowded on weekends. Unlike the public pools of the 80s and 90s which I grew up with, public pools these days are super kid-friendly. There are water playgrounds. There are wave pools. There are slides small, big and XXXL. All this for just less than $2 entrance fee for unlimited swimming time. And if you sign up for Activesg, you get $100 from the government to spend on entrance fees to any public sports facility including pools.
Anyway, the kids in our household do a lot of swimming. We waste no time in introducing them to the water because for babies, its such an easy way to stimulate their senses and wearing them down (for longer naps and bedtimes). We introduced Livia to swimming (or floating) at 8 weeks old. Since she was our first born and we were first-time parents, we bought a lot of useless baby crap. One of those baby crap was an indoor baby pool. It wasn’t costly but it consumes a lot of water and it was only a few months later when she turned six months, she was ready to go to public pools, thereby rendering the indoor baby pool even more useless.
When the triplets hit the 8 week mark, we brought the indoor pool out. Unlike Livia who at 8 weeks old took to it very naturally, the triplets weren’t very enthusiastic about it yet. Liora even fell asleep in the pool. So we waited a while more and we took the pool out again today when they were four months old, and because Lucia was too small to try it before. This time round they were more active in the water: kicking, floating, jumping, and giggling. Each triplet had 30 minutes in the pool each (its not big enough for all of them) and they got so red in the face from moving constantly that they immediately went to sleep when took them out of the water and dressed them warmly. Livia couldn’t wait for her turn so we let her swim together with Liora and she was unexpectedly careful with her smaller sister so close to her and Liora was unexpectedly entertained by Livia being in the same pool with her. They were just giggling non-stop.
I would like to let them swim in the indoor pool a lot more often but I feel its a waste of water so its something we only do once in a blue moon. When they hit 6 or 7 months, we’ll be taking them to the public pools. Even with the exposure to the indoor pool, babies are surprisingly scared to be in a larger swimming pool, and require practice to get used to the swimming pool. Some babies take to it naturally. Livia did not. She needed to be taken to the pool once or twice a week before she no longer cried in the water. What I remember most of our times with her as a baby was all water-related. That’s how much time we spent in the water. I have big dreams of bringing the kids to the beach more often when we move homes and we are only 7 MRT stops from Harbourfront and Sentosa.
There’s a lot of teach your baby to swim classes and what not. We are not really into that and we are totally fine with using floats. The girls will learn to swim properly when they are ready for structured classes, but for now, its just for them to play. My mother actually forced swimming classes on me very early and the experience was very traumatising. I only finally learnt to swim when I was 11 years old. But because I was older and could catch on to concepts faster, I caught up with my peers very quickly and could swim as well as those who had been learning to swim since they were toddlers. After less than a year of learning to swim, I started to swim competitively. I’ve always been a late bloomer in practically everything. This is why I am not so into structured learning for little children. If your toddler shows signs of being a child prodigy or genius (very extremely rare), they will actually let you know that they want accelerated learning. Most kids, however, just want to play and I don’t know any kid who does not love playing in water.