If you are a parent and reading this blog, more likely you are a parent who is really keen on making sure your child learns to swim.
Learning to swim is the most important stage of becoming a confident swimmer. A child who enjoys being and moving in the water, will go on to enjoy swimming- either as a sport or for leisure- for a life-time. So, we can agree, learning to swim is ‘a must’. So, if you would love to see your child confidently jumping in the pool, swim across the pool, or swim in the sea, there are some tips for you to make it happen.
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.
‘I don’t think you will be swimming at the next Olympic games’ will not help your child’s confidence when learning to swim.
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 help your children to learn to swim with the proper technique. Without good technique, it’s almost impossible to swim with confidence. Swimming professionals also advise parents to monitor your child’s progress during swim lessons and continue their swimming lessons at least till 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. I have seen it time and time again, that how focusing on wanting speedy progression has put children off completely.
Of course, asking your child’s swimming teacher for feedback on your child’s progress is O.k. However, asking for feedback after every single lesson is not helpful. It just adds some degree of pressure on your child and the swimming teacher. Your child will be at ease so as the swim teacher when they feel you’re patient.
In the end, you want your child to find the whole experience more enjoyable and rewarding. It’s all about helping kids staying more engaged with swimming.
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