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Grandma 1 – Gameboy 0
56 -year-old Francis Isaac is determined to keep her grandson away from a computer screen. She’s been taking two-year-old, Jake, swimming every single week for just over a year - and she says the benefits are very real indeed.
“I absolutely adore my one-on-one time with Jake, it’s the highlight of my week. He loves to splash around in the pool, jump up and down, and generally cause havoc but I cherish our lessons together and the fact that he’s learning a valuable life skill is an added bonus! His confidence in and out of the pool is constantly improving and personally, I think his mental, social and physical development is advanced because of regular exercise that he thinks is just great fun!”
Francis’ gut instinct isn’t wrong: The Early Years Swimming Project at Griffith University found that by the time they start school, children who swim in their early years are ahead of non-swimmers by 6 to 15 months when it comes to solving maths problems, counting, language and following instructions.
Jakes parents made a conscious decision not to give him access to his own phone or iPad anytime soon. Francis says she knows that will become more difficult as he gets older, so she plans on keeping up with his Water Babies swimming lessons so he gets the best of both worlds.
“Nowadays, young children rely too much on technology and they don’t get to be as active as children once were. If little ones are taught confidence in the water, you know they will be safe but it isn’t just about that. Swimming teaches them to be social and communicate with other children their own age. With so much emphasis on formal education and technology, I love that Jake has time to relax and enjoy himself.”
Water Babies teaches hundreds of little ones to swim every single week in pools across Buckingham and Jake has been swimming with Water Babies since he was only a few months old. He used to go to classes with his dad, but when the pool location changed and dad could no longer make it, Francis gleefully stepped in!
As a busy grandmother, Francis says she gets so much out of her time in the pool with Jake, the older children, their parents and Dawn, Jake’s Water Babies teacher. She just wishes she saw more grandparents in the pool!
“It would be lovely to see more grandparents swimming with their grandchildren though! I don’t understand why more people don’t do it - it gives parents a break from their normal routine and it’s a wonderful activity to do together. With life so full of mod-cons and technology, I revel in that half an hour of absolute peace and quiet, splashing around in the water!
In a nutshell, we teach water confidence and safety skills to babies and toddlers. However, we're about so much more besides. Our classes are great for making new friends, helping to enhance the bonding process, having fun... and seeing the utter thrill of your little one gliding underwater towards you.
In the last three years alone we know our lessons were directly responsible for saving the lives of ten little ones who otherwise might have tragically drowned. That makes us very proud.
And we like raising money for other babies. To date, we've raised over £750,000 for Tommy's. And we're aiming to raise another £200,000 for them (possibly!) this coming summer.
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