Does swimming make us better parents?
How can swimming make me a better person, a better dad, a better parent? How has swimming brought me closer to my children and family. This is not a lesson about parenting. This is my story about swimming and how it has helped me deal with my daily parenting tasks more easily.
How can swimming make me a better parent?
When I don’t feel myself, mentally or physically, swimming helps me find that hidden atom of strength and brings the best out me to the surface, both for me and for my family. Swimming often helps me stay focused on my parenting alpinism, even when the things get hard, it doesn’t let me give up. Swimming gives me a chance to slow down a bit with all my other tasks and spend quality time with my family and my kids. Each stroke I make gives me a chance to think again about the actions and mistakes popping up in my parenting path.
Swimming helps me control my stormy emotions as a parent more easily. It’s not easy, but I’m trying to stay calm even when it’s a mission impossible. When I get out the water, I try to shake off all the negative thoughts and put joy on my face. Because my children deserve to have me as a parent who is better today than he was yesterday. Swimming makes me a better parent, as in swimming I feel whole, it makes me happy, and I know how to appreciate that and reciprocate to my family.
Swimming has made my parenting easy, as I realised that if I’m left breathless, I just have to deal with it, change the swimming technique, take a rest by swimming on my back and keep the pace of the day. Tomorrow will be easier, or even harder. I’ve adjusted my swimming pace to the character of my children. If the older child has not fear of depths, it doesn’t mean the younger one feels the same.
Growing as a parent is a challenge, both on the dry and in the water. It can drain you, but it can also give you such a strength that you can feel like you could swim across the ocean!
How has swimming brought me closer to my family?
The news that I would become dad to Little Shark came to me as I was miles away from my family, at the pool’s edge. Yes, I jumped into the pool and swam to overcome the emotions I had at that time, and keep my tears under control. The next time I got the news about becoming dad to Little Fish, I was also far away, but luckily also at the pool’s edge. I swam.
That was probably one of the reasons why I offered this life skill - swimming - to my children from the very start. When they were four months old, I introduced my kids to swimming, and the benefits of swimming were felt by the entire family. On the other hand, swimming was the reason for which I couldn’t stay with my family 365 days a year. But that gap was also bridged by swimming. How? When I am with my family, with my kids, we swim every day. All the missed moments of cuddling that belonged to their mother in the first months, I made up for by swimming with the children through the baby swim lessons. A priceless experience for all parents.
Today, five years later, whenever we have a chance, whether it is fresh or sea water, I use the chance for my whole family to swim, play in the water, enjoy it with no fear of the unknown depths and distances. Because in the end that is the most important thing for children – to have trust in their mom, dad and have parental safety, regardless of whether they are on the asphalt or in the water.
Swimming has taught me how to be a better person, recognise the dark that everyone carries in themselves, but also a better parent. I'm not perfect in the pool or on the dry. I am still learning to be better as a parent, every day both in and around the water. I know that there are still miles and miles of fresh and sea water waiting for me and my family to swim together, but it's all part of growing as a parent.
Life is more beautiful when you’re swimming!
What gives you the strength to be a better version of yourself for yourself, children, and your family?
Swimming gives you the “wings” and also makes the family roots stronger!
If we allow it, swimming can play a special role in the life of every boy, girl and their family. It’s that “virtual battlefield” and an opportunity to grow by mastering various disciplines provided by the water and swimming, but also the opportunity to learn about life values both of the family and the society in and next to the water. Because children need
the roots, and they also need the wings. Swimming gives them both. They get strong roots from a strong connection with the water from the earliest age, while their “wings” grow as they widen their own horizons while learning from a confident person who introduces them to the aquatic world!
Swimming has the power to improve the life of children, families, from the earliest age!
I've been in the water my whole life. I’ve passed almost all the levels in the swimming "game". Starting from a kid striving for a medal in the pool, a coach, a college assistant, a secretary general at my country's SA, an educator in the field of swimming and growing up from an early age, an instructor of baby swimming, to the dad of Little Shark and Little Fish.
Swimming has brought me invaluable experience, new knowledge, and friends.
When I first received the honorary title of "Dad" in 2017, I wanted to "add a little warmth and colour" to swimming and baby swimming, because I believe that we all learn as long as we live. I wanted to share my experience with others! Along with changing diapers and breastfeeding, sleepless nights, but also with the support of my wife, I created a digital space of inexhaustible inspiration about love for water, swimming and children.
Apart from changing diapers for two little kids, the playful hormones of the mother of two, running from one pool to another one on the hot asphalt in the desert, all I needed in my life was the Swimming Dad story!
I did need it!
You know why?
First because it was cooling me down. Secondly, it reminded me that growing up is a process, a unique experience, regardless of whether we are in the pool or next to it, regardless of whether I am a coach or a dad. The experience that shapes us, changes us, the one that makes us a better coach, parent, in the water and next to it. Thirdly, I wanted to share my experience with others!
I remember the first stoke we made together, the first jump into the unknown. It was a magical moment, but full of uncertainty about what was on the other side of the pool. I had no idea what the water we jumped into could bring... We’ve swum miles and miles of fresh and sea water together. There were challenges, of course, as no growing up is easy. The years passed in a blink of an eye.
For the last five years, my family has been "swimming" the 4x100 mixed relay once a week. We pour into it all the good and bad things we had during the week, which are part of everyday life and which teach us and make us a stronger family!
Is there a recipe for PARENTS to introduce children to baby swimming (swimming from the earliest age - four months to three years)? Of course, there is!
Here are my 8 key ingredients for a child's successful first contact with water:
To a pinch of the widest smile, add a teaspoon of parental warmth, half a cup of security in your hands, a handful of trust, 200 grams of mom and dad's determination, 150 grams of persistence. A hug in the water is the spice that gives swimming magic, colour and warmth, which only mom and dad can convey in the baby's first acquaintance with the water.
In the end, pour water well and add a bag of fun with a good water rhythm.
Believe me, there is no mistake.