More than 20 years of teaching baby swimming classes has shown me all babies can enjoy gentle-approached baby swimming lessons.
What’s there not to like?
All babies enjoy being in water and being cozy with their parents. What makes swimming for babies more joyful is the gentle weightlessness in water, freedom of movement and the pleasant massage that water provides to human body.
Our brain is programmed to enjoy being in and around water and babies are no exceptions.
But, this blog explores how parents support their children’s learning process when they attend baby swimming classes.
Universally, a parent or trusted adult must be in water with a baby during swimming classes to support them.
Apart from support and keeping them safe, parents can also monitor their babies’ mood, keep assuring them they are safe and help them with learning in all six areas of learning swimming.
Parents can also plan the next stepping stones which will lead their children towards progression.
There is a saying that the best type of support is the one that you don’t even know it’s there.
The magic of teaching lies in creating the right stepping stones of learning for each individual child, without rushing through the process. Mind you, it may not be achievable all the time so, patience is the key.
As a swim teacher, my observations of children play has led me to develop a creating well-designed and well-planned plays suitable for baby swimming classes.
Teaching means systematically helping children to learn.
In swim lessons, teachers’ role is to help swimmers to make connections in their learning. They are there to actively led swimmers forward.
Children also need help to reflect on what they have already learnt, no matter how simple the activity is. Again, that is part of the swim teacher’s job.
Unfortunately, many parents want to rush learning and with the best of intentions, they miss the point that when fun is out, children lose interest in learning.
Time and time, I have seen babies and toddlers who came to our swim school nervous. Why? Because, before joining our lessons, parents thought if babies are pushed under the water (forcefully submerged) they can learn to swim fast.
Let me be frank; going under water has no correlation with the ability to swim. Swimmers stay afloat on the top of water.
I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that.
A child must learn how to feel confident in water over time.
Confidence has to be built in a young child slowly and gently.
It cannot be rushed and it cannot be forced.
So, a parent’s job, is mainly to be there to make the whole process more joyful and safe for a baby- it sounds simple, but, simplicity is good specially for young children.
The most important job of swim teachers is to help children and their parents to extend their capabilities to play in water.
Play time in water could be geared up to build up certain skills like kicking or jumping. But, the imagination and creativity of a good swim teacher can help parents to develop play further and use games to teach the basic swimming skills with fun.
If children and parents don’t know enough about how to free-flow playing in water imaginatively, they can run a risk of playing unsafely or not setting a correct pace.
Well-planned play and games in water means developing skills. It is the swim teachers’ job to teach parents on how to play with their babies in water safely and with purpose.
On the other hand, parents must support their babies safely in a way that babies can extend their play in water. Parents also should take the role of carefully observing their babies informal.
Planning different stepping stones for the different needs and interests of children is part of swim teachers’ role. So, as a parent, if you think your baby should go faster with activities, you must ask the teacher is that would be a good idea.
Lets not forget, parents and teachers are in lessons to help babies to enjoy the experience of baby swimming lessons and play with water.