This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Konfidence
This year, we are very lucky to be working as Brand Ambassadors for the child swimwear company Konfidence, and we are putting their range of swim aids to the test. So that we could really experience what they can offer, Konfidence very kindly arranged for us to visit Alton Towers so that we could try them out in the Splash Landings Water Park. And they even managed to time it on one of the hottest weekends of the year – we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to head to a water park!
If you’ve followed us for a while, you may know that both my boys haven’t had the easiest journey when it comes to swimming. We dutifully took Max to baby swimming lessons, which he absolutely hated, and it’s a hatred that only started to ease once he turned 4. We didn’t bother with swimming lessons when Ben was tiny, which is a shame as he loved the water back then, but we did sign him up once he was 18 months. Unfortunately his love of the water had vanished by then, and he has a very up and down relationship with swimming – some lessons he seems to enjoy it, and others he screams the place down.
Having written this all out, it strikes me that you’re probably wondering why we’re working with a swimming company! But I really do believe that learning to swim is a fundamental life skill, and something that every child should be able to do. Floatation aids have been absolutely key for Max’s swimming journey. There’s just no way he could have been thrust into the water unaided for his first lessons; he needed the confidence that a floatation aid provides. He’s come on massively since starting lessons last September, and he now really loves swimming.
But still, I had reservations about how our trip to Splash Landings would go. It’s a huge place, with so many different areas for children to explore. A splash area for smaller children and toddlers, and another splash area for older children, which featured a huge bucket which would regularly douse anyone stood underneath in a thundering cascade of water. There is also a lazy river, numerous jacuzzi pools, and several flumes – it really is a huge complex, and I wasn’t sure if it would be overwhelming for Max and Ben.
We took their Original Konfidence Swim Jackets with us for the boys to wear. The Konfidence Swim Jacket is Konfidence’s flagship product, and is the bestselling children’s buoyancy aid in the UK and across Europe. The jacket is made from high-grade soft neoprene, which makes it soft and comfortable for your child. It’s filled with 8 floats which help support your child in the water, but leaves their arms free to swim. The idea is that as your child gets more confident in the water, you can remove these floats in pairs, leaving fewer and fewer floats, until your child is swimming unaided. It’s a much more gradual approach than traditional armbands. They come in a range of different designs, and come in 3 sizes, 18 months to 3 years, 4-5 years, and 6-7 years.
Although Max is just about ready to swim unaided in his lessons, I knew that he’d be doing a lot of swimming that morning, and I also wanted him to be able to have fun in the water without worrying about his swimming ability. I also had the slight reservation that he might get a bit overconfident in his swimming ability now that he’s almost ditched the aids in his lessons, so the Swim Jacket was a great reassurance for me too (even if I’m always there next to him, I’m still a natural worrier!) I let him have a few more floats in the jacket than I might have normally, and this gave both him and me a lot more confidence as we moved from area to area.
Ben also has a Swim Jacket in the same cute Hamptons Navy Stripe design as Max – how adorable does he look in it?
Both the boys were hesitant at first. They are both wary of getting water on their face, so the splash areas were a bit intimidating. But after a bit of time to warm up, both boys started to enjoy themselves, with Max even taking an unexpected drenching from the huge bucket in the splash area and handling it very well (it’s fair to say that Max enjoyed himself more than Ben, who will take a bit more convincing!).
The one thing that has really helped both my boys in their lessons are their wetsuits. They are both sensitive to the cold, and we are about to change Max’s swimming lessons to a new venue, as the pool he currently learns in is so cold. The Konfidence Shorty Wetsuit has been a huge help for him, and has meant he finds the cold far less of an issue. Ben has the Konfidence Warma wetsuit, a sleeveless vest with little short legs, which does up with velcro tabs across the top, meaning that it’s easy to get on a wriggling toddler who is often less than impressed that it’s time for the weekly swim. Despite being in the water all morning, I never heard a peep out of either of them to say they were cold!
And on the hottest day of the year, it was great to know that both their swim jackets and wetsuits provided 100% UV protection for the boys when we were enjoying the outdoor area (obviously their faces and any other areas not covered still needed protecting).
I have to admit that I wouldn’t have considered making a trip to a water park with my two reluctant swimmers, but I was genuinely surprised at how much both boys enjoyed it. I’d expected that we would be there an hour or so before they got tired of it, but we were there all morning. Max loved the independence that the swim jacket gave him, and he loved being able to lead me around all the different areas, taking the lead as to where we should explore next. It’s made me much keener to take them to our nearest water park over the summer holiday! Thank you so much to Konfidence for such a wonderful weekend, and for opening my boys’ eyes to the fun that swimming can be.
If you’d like to purchase any of the items mentioned in this post, I am pleased to be able to offer at 10% discount for followers of Hot Pink Wellingtons – just use Swimbass50R at the checkout (valid until 31st December 2019, but not valid with any other promotional code)
Disclosure: Our stay at Alton Towers and visit to Splash Landings was arranged by Konfidence as part of our Brand Ambassador role. They also provided us with all of the swimwear and floatation aids mentioned in this post.