Swimming ranked as number one indoor activity for parents and toddlers

Paralympic silver medallist Rebecca Redfern recalls ‘special’ moments in pool with her son

Paralympic swimmer Rebecca Redfern says swimming with her son has helped improve his confidence and provided ‘special’ moments for her as a mother.

Redfern gave birth to her son Patrick around 12 months before competing at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, where she later went on to win a silver medal in the SB13 100m Breaststroke.

Patrick is now two-years-old and both Redfern and her partner take their son to family swimming sessions at their local leisure centre every Sunday.

Swimming is the best activity for making pre-school age children happy and creating special bonding moments with their parents, according to a new study.

The research is part of the latest #LoveSwimming campaign and revealed toddlers being active in the water with their parents or guardians can lead to them enjoying better sleep and improved movement.

A total of 96 per cent of pre-school parents also agreed swimming is what makes their child happy.

Redfern recalls the bonding time she has with her little one when they’re in the water, saying: “The first couple of months we started going, we would have that eye to eye contact and it would be really close and I’d be holding him.

“I found those moments really special, looking back on them.”

“And now that he doesn’t need me anymore, when he does come in for a hold or he wants me to help him kick or something, it takes me back to when he really needed me at the start.

“You just want to see your child happy so when he’s in the pool and he’s loving it and he is happy, it just makes me feel like I’ve done a good job and I’ve made sure that he’s safe.

“We leave all the stresses in the car, and then that’s like our family time on the Sunday.

“It’s just really nice to spend time as a family without any distractions like ‘oh we’ve got to do the washing’ or ‘we’ve got to go and do this’.

“It’s completely away from everything. It’s just the three of us.”

Swimming boosts the physical and psychological development of youngsters and the Worcester swimmer explains the positive impact it has had on young Patrick.

She added: “I think the biggest one is probably his confidence. As soon as we started going he was quite nervous getting in and he’s just grown so much in his confidence that he’s wanting to do things on his own.

“It does so much for the child but it also builds your confidence in trusting each other.

“For me, it was trusting that he knows his limits and he is able to communicate with me. Before he could talk it was non-verbal communication as well.

“And now he can talk, he can tell me how he’s feeling, what he wants to do, whether he’s happy, whether he wants to do something different.

“For him to be trusting me that I will keep him safe and I will look after him, but I will also let him explore.

“Swimming is one of the only things where it’s fully stripped back and there’s no technology involved, there’s no distractions, it’s literally just you and your child in the water.

“Swimming is what I do for a living, it’s what I love doing, it’s what I spend most of my life doing – so to see my son enjoying it as much as I do and at such an early age as well, it is special, it is lovely to see.”

To sign up to adult and toddler sessions at your local pool, visit swimming.org/loveswimming.

Top