It’s no-brainer but, using positive words and being enthusiastic about swimming as a parent is very helpful to your child.
When your child starts his/her swimming adventure, whether it’s through visiting your local swimming pool as a family or going to a beach in summer or by attending swimming lessons, parental positive and optimistic language is really important.
For example, if based on your own previous experience you might expect the water in the local swimming pool to be a bit fresh, try not to bring that up in front of your child as if it is going to be a major issue. Instead, try to talk about any positive swimming experiences in the same pool and what you did in the pool in your past visits which were fun.
If you enjoyed swimming when you were a child yourself, your children would love to hear your stories which may also include their grandparents. So, keep sharing your positive stories with them.
Maybe talk to your child about how much you loved going for a swim with your friends or siblings. Or how you much you liked your swimming lesson with your friends. If you went to swimming galas with your school or any competitions, talk about those memories with a positive spin. If you found swimming a joyful activity from the get-go, tell your child how it felt when you went for a swim for the first time. Share with your child what is it about swimming that you really enjoyed most as a child yourself.
Also, during swimming time, keep smiling and always compliment your children’s effort- no matter how small. Use words like:’ good splashes’ or ‘great effort’ even when they cannot swim without your help or floats.
Saying things like ‘I don’t think you will be swimming at the next Olympic games’ will not help your child’s confidence.
Lack of water confidence contributes to feeling anxious about being in the water.
So, if your child is timid or shy in and around of water, this must alert you that your focus should be on boosting your child’s water confidence. Learning the technique is only possible when a child is water confident. Before learning how to move arms and kick the legs in the water, teach your child how to be at ease in the water. Prioritise building water confidence.
Nothing can boost children’s water confidence more than playing in water and having fun. You can help your child to get confident in water through play and games.
Play is the language of childhood and using toys to have fun in the swimming pool will do wonders for water-confidence. Be mindful that if you try to add instructions and coaching points during playtime in the water, you would risk losing the fun part.
Learning to swim is a life skill that affords many benefits to children and adults alike but, learning to swim becomes harder as we age, that’s why it’s much better to start swimming lessons early.
In 2009, a study by the USA’s National Institute for Health concluded, “participating in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in children between the ages of 1 and 4.” (Ruth A. Brenner, et al., 2015). So, enrol your child in formal swimming lessons as early as possible.
These days you can take your baby to formal swimming classes. At Blue Wave Swim School we start lessons as early as 4 months. Swimming lessons can help your children to learn to swim with the proper technique which is what everybody needs in order to be a confident and competent swimmer. Swimming professionals also advise parents to monitor their child’s progress during swim lessons and continue their lessons at least until basic water competence is achieved.
Parents must be mindful that learning to swim is not an event-it’s a process and it’s not a short one.
Patience is the ability to endure a long wait calmly or deal with a process without frustration. 25 years of teaching swimming has taught me that focusing only on results and wanting speedy progression will not help a learner regardless of age.
Of course, asking your child’s swimming teacher for feedback and trying to find out how your child’s progressing every term is very good. However, asking for feedback after every single lesson adds some degree of pressure on your child and the swimming teacher and it will not help your child’s learning process. By being patient, your child will also relax and doesn’t feel there is a rush to learn swimming.
This way, your child would find the whole experience more enjoyable, which in the long run, will help him/her to stay more engaged with swimming.