Short Distances vs Long Distances in Learn To Swim Classes

Parents often ask us why their child isn’t swimming laps and longer distances at their lessons. We all want our kids to excel in their activities and chosen sports, let’s face it we generally want it to happen overnight. Let’s think back to the very first lesson when they started swimming as babies….

There wasn’t much independent swimming and every task was repeated, repeated and repeated. These learning patterns help set foundations through muscle memory for the rest of their lives.

Swimming short distances

By practicing a skill in short distances, your child will have the chance to perfect the skill and there is little room for mistakes. From the teacher’s point of view they will have better class control, easier access to address any minor errors and provide instant feedback. Swimming in continuous short distances also helps with fitness.

Parents often think that swimming laps means that their children are swimming further and developing much better fitness. In fact by Swimming repeated short distances the children are still working on their fitness and are constantly moving throughout the lesson without having to wait at the end of the lap for their turn.

Swimming laps

Children should refrain from swimming laps until they have perfected the fundamentals of the stroke. Muscle memory comes into play not only when we practice and repeat skills correctly but also when we do things incorrectly. It therefore potentially can instill bad habits which are later harder to undo or correct.

All that said, it is not a bad idea to have your child practice swimming a longer distance to practice for school swimming carnivals or for safety reasons, particularly if they are continuously around an aquatic environment.

 

What are some of your favourite short & long distant activities? Share in the comments section below.

 

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Tara Martin

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Expectations of a 4-Year-Old in Swimming Lessons

What you can expect your 4-year-old child to learn in their swimming lesson?

Let’s break this down and look at some of the characteristics and developmental milestones your child may be achieving during this age group.

 

Social and Emotional Development

By now, most children are starting to show their own unique personality, some are shy, talkative, busy or even bossy.

  • They share and take turns and are more co-operative
  • They start telling tales to get out of trouble
  • They enjoy telling jokes that are funny to them
  • They may become bossy
  • They say or act out something they shouldn’t to see what your reaction will be
  • They like to play the same games over again

 

Social and Emotional Implications on the Swimming Lesson?

At 4 years of age your child is most likely swimming in a lesson without you. If this is the case, talk with your child about this in a positive manner. What you could consider:

  • Introduce your child to their teacher prior to their lesson
  • Turn up early so your child is ready to start his/her lesson on time
  • Watch your child swim and show praise through non-verbal communication
  • A great teacher will be interactive, compassionate and make the lesson fun and enjoyable

Don’t be discouraged if your child is hesitant to swim without you, be patient, stay positive and talk to your child’s teacher about options or strategies and collectively come up with a plan.

 

Physical Development

A 4-year-old is busy and always need to be doing something and at this stage most children:

  • Have improved co-ordination
  • Can roll and do summersaults
  • Can dress themselves with minimal help
  • Can draw simple pictures
  • Can ride a bike
  • Like to run, climb and play on playground equipment

 

Physical Implications on the Swimming Lesson?

  • Children at this age are starting to co-ordinate their arms and legs
  • Strength and distance have increased
  • Engaging lesson will keep your child focused

Swimming lessons can be very tiring for a young person and if your child isn’t well rested prior to lesson they may not give it their best swimming. Try not to over stimulate your child before their lesson as this may cause disruptions within the class.

 

Language Development

Most 4-year-olds are talking more than ever, asking lots of questions and their favourite word is “why”. Children at this age:

  • Tell silly stories and use words that may be inappropriate, but they find funny
  • Ask lots of questions-who, what, where, why?
  • Can follow more complex instructions
  • Can say their first and last name
  • An increased understanding of feelings.

 

A 4-year-old’s understanding of what is expected of them has improved and they should be able to follow simple instructions. Use language that is appropriate for this age group and relate it to something that they understand.

 

REMEMBER to be vigilant and provide a safe, fun learning environment at all times.

 

It’s important to remember children are different and progress at different rates. This is meant to be a guide only. If your child is ahead of this guide or not quite up to these activities be patient, teach to their likes, dislikes and abilities and enjoy the time you spend in the water with them. Swimming with your child at any age can be a great bonding experience.

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Leesa Langdon

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Home Tips for getting ready to start the Conditioning Process

Conditioning your baby is one of the best ways to prepare him or her for swimming lessons, water familiarization and more importantly, submersions. Here are some handy tips to consider prior to conditioning and exactly how to carry it out.

– Ensure that you have all equipment that you will need for practicing conditioning ready and on hand so that you can get started straight away.

– Ensure that you have bath towels, nappy’s and clothes on hand for when you are finished so that you can wrap baby up and keep them warm.

– Make sure that you and baby are in a comfortable and stable environment before practicing your cups. This will help keep the atmosphere nice and relaxed. It is important that the water and air temperature is warm.

– Try to turn off and remove all things that may cause a distraction. Put your mobile on silent, take the house phone off the hook, leave all cooking to a later time.

– Finally, enjoy this precious bonding time with your baby. If you happen to have a large bath, hop in with your little one and embrace this special time where it is just the two of you and you can really focus on conditioning and working on your baby’s breath control in preparation for their first swimming lesson.

Now that you and your baby are ready to start the process, here are some tips on exactly what to do:

1. Fill the plastic cup with water.

2. Give your child the verbal cue of Name (their name), Ready, Go

3. Confidently pour the full cup of water over your baby’s head.

4. Look your baby in the eye, smile and congratulate them on a job well done.

5. Give them a little cuddle.

6. Repeat the above steps 5 to 8 times provided that your baby is displaying signs of positive behaviour. Never condition a crying baby.

We recommend that conditioning is practiced daily to obtain good breath control and hopefully ensure they are more comfortable and prepared for their first swimming lesson.

 

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Jane Lawrence

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Patience and the Learn to Swim Process

Swimming lessons are a great investment.  Not only are you providing your children with a skill for life, you are giving them an advantage in the areas of social, emotional, physical and intellectual development.  A four-year study conducted by Griffith University has found what swimming industry leaders have suspected for decades.  Children who attend swimming lessons from an early age are ahead of their non-swimming peers when it comes to reaching developmental milestones.  Results of the study can be found by clicking the link below.

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While the results of this study are fantastic, it is important to remember that learning to swim takes time and patience.  It takes dedication and commitment and can sometimes be a slow process.  There may be some times where you get frustrated with this process and want to push your child through the program in order to get them into mini-squad or stroke development groups yesterday.  When the frustration sets in, try to relax and keep the following points in mind.

 

  • The number of swimming lessons you attend per week will impact on your child’s improvement rate. Swimmers who attend one lesson per week will rarely progress at the same rate as swimmers who attend two or more lessons per week.  If the cost of swimming lessons is holding you back from attending multiple lessons, think about getting in the pool at home or at a friend’s house and practicing some of the skills your child is working on at their classes with them.  You can ask your child’s instructor for some tips.  Alternatively, head to a public pool on the weekend to swim, play and explore in the water.  Make it a “get fit with the family” outing so you can all reap the benefits of learning to swim.

 

  • Taking seasonal breaks can halt a swimmers progress. Many families see swimming as a summer activity.  Once the weather starts to cool and winter sports start up, it can be difficult to juggle multiple activities.  Often swimming lessons are dropped until the weather warms up again.  Other families will swim year around – rain, hail or shine!  Figure out what works best for your family and follow that path.  If you decide to take a break, try not to get frustrated if your child is no longer in the same group with their friends who have continued swimming lessons in the winter months.  Depending on the age of your child they may have even regressed and not be able to perform certain swimming skills to the same standard they could before a break.   The same thing happens to us if we take a break from the gym, so go easy on your little swimmers.

 

  • Trust the advice of your child’s instructor and the team of swimming professionals working at the swim school you attend. Remember that individual swim schools will have certain curriculums to follow when they are teaching swimming.  This means that your child may have to master and perform certain skills before progressing to the next stage or level.  If you have concerns about your child’s progress, talk to their instructor or the management team so you are aware of what your child needs to work on and what the lesson focus is for your child’s group.  Remember, swim instructors are passionate about their jobs and have the swimmers best interest at heart.  Communicating with the swim school team will allow you to work together to get the most benefit out of swimming lessons for your child.

 

Do you attend year-round swimming lessons with your child or children?  Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

 

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Kate Lawrence

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How long will my child need to attend swimming lessons?

I’m going to be honest with you, teaching your child to swim will require a big commitment. Really, most swim schools will want you to enrol with your baby before they turn 6 months of age and then continue with them right through primary school as your child masters not only water safety skills but the 4 competitive strokes of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Learning great swimming technique does take years to accomplish. But even if your child doesn’t go on to be a competitive swimmer they will go on to have the skills to enjoy a range of sports and recreations in, on, or around water.

 

Swimming on a budget

Both of my children have attended swimming lessons twice per week since they were 4 months of age. Evie is about to turn 7 and Harper has just turned 4. I do understand that this is a costly exercise. So how can a family on a budget afford this type of commitment? If you have done the numbers and weekly lessons are just not feasible I have some ideas that you could try.

 

  1. Do formal swimming lessons during Winter and follow up with water play during summer

A lot of people do this the other way around. They forget about swimming during Winter but once summer hits they desperately try to get their child up to speed again. Learning to swim requires regular exposure and you simply don’t get an opportunity to play swim as much during Winter. Today most swim schools have heated water all year round so taking advantage of Winter swimming is easy. Class sizes can also be smaller during the cooler months as numbers drop off and you may find your child will get more practice time and individual attention.

 

  1. Try holiday intensive programs to fast track your child’s progress

Holiday intensive programs or booster blocks where you take your child every day are great for rapid progress. Parents can also take note of what the instructors are working on and practice outside of the lesson at the public pool or home pool environment. The learn to swim process should follow a building block approach of breath control, submersion, floating and propulsion. Honestly, at times, weekly swimming lessons can be a slow process, particularly if you are only attending one lesson per week, so you may like to try the benefits of attending a holiday program or lessons every day to fast track your child’s learning.

 

  1. Visit the local council pool and play, children learn through exploration, remember floating is the basis of all learn to swim

Children can learn to swim without formal swimming lessons. But this will require regular opportunities to play and explore the water under supervision and guidance from the parent. This experimenting may not lead to perfect technique but children will become mobile in the water. Floating is the foundation skill of all water safety skills and formal strokes. If children learn to float properly they will use relaxed arms and legs to move easily through the water. Those who don’t master floating will often continue to struggle in the water and never truly be relaxed. Children with home pools often have a huge advantage over those who don’t. This is simply because they get regular play and exposure. But remember home swimming pools also come with responsibilities and risks.

 

Are swimming lessons really worth it?

I don’t think anyone ever regrets teaching their child to swim.  I still love taking my children to swimming lessons, not only because I know it’s good for their health and safety, but because it’s a real supportive community environment. It’s a great place to make friends and get involved with people in your local area. My 4 year old daughter Harper still swims with the same group of children that she started with when she was a baby. I particularly loved swimming lessons when I was participating in the class with my daughters. This was a magic time for bonding where I could spend a full half hour interacting and playing through physical touch and eye contact – which is so important during the early years. In that half hour, I was completely dedicated to them with no distractions from emails or text messages to comb through and no household chores that needed to be completed.

 

Benefits of swimming

Swimming lessons are great for children’s social, emotional and physical development. Don’t just take my word for it – science backs it up! Professor Robyn Jorgensen conducted a 4 year study which showed that early years swimming actually builds children’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual capital. Children regardless of culture and socioeconomic backgrounds displayed significant advantages. The study also indicated that children’s readiness for school was considerably improved as children had advanced scoring on language development, comprehension, literacy and numeracy. The full study can be found at the following link. https://kidsalive.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2013-EYS-Final-Report-30-July-13-JM.pdf

 

Swimming is a unique form of recreation and sport that can be enjoyed by babies right through to the elderly. So learning to swim is truly a gift for life. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children under 5. While no child is drown proof and supervision is essential, I believe learning to swim does teach children a love and respect for the water, making them less likely to wander into dangerous situations. As a parent and a swimming instructor I do appreciate that this will require not only your time but a significant financial investment. But swimming lessons are just that – an investment, an investment in the fun, fitness, health and safety of your child.

 

How do you keep your children returning to classes?  Please share in the comments below.

 

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Emma Lawrence

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What Can I Expect From My Child at 2 Years of Age at Swimming?

What you can expect your 2-year-old to learn in their swimming lesson?

Let’s break this down and look at some of the characteristics and developmental milestones your child maybe achieving during this age group.

 

Social and Emotional Development

  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Doesn’t like to share
  • May play with other children
  • Loves to imitate adults
  • Short attention span
  • Scribbles pictures

 

Social and Emotional Implications on the Swimming Lesson?

  • Establish pool safety rules within the lesson and follow through with these rules at home.
  • Try to limit the number of toys within a lesson as they can be a distraction. Toys can work if they are used for a purpose e.g. To calm an unsettled child or for an activity.
  • Demonstrate as child may want to imitate your actions and those around them
  • Keep the activities short and make the time in the pool with your little one fun.
  • Read books with your child about swimming. To start your off follow this link: www.kidsalive.com.au to subscribe, download and receive some exciting books for free.

 

Physical Development

  • Climb up and down the stairs
  • Kick a ball
  • Jump from small heights e.g. steps
  • Learning to dress themselves
  • Confident with physical abilities
  • Start testing their limits.

 

Physical Implications on the Swimming Lesson?

Hold onto your hats parents your children are now moving fast and have their own ideas.

Let’s look at how we can implement these physical developments into a lesson.

As 2-year olds start to feel more confident in their own abilities they should be participating in activities where they can monkey and climb out of a pool independently.

Let your child explore around the pool steps and ledges and hold their hand (as they can’t jump out well yet) to teach them how to jump in and turn back to safety.

 

REMEMBER be vigilant and provide a safe, fun learning environment.

 

Language Development

Communicating with your child at this age can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to understand what they want. Children at this stage can

  • Name most objects
  • Speak in short sentences but sometimes don’t make sense
  • Follow more complex instructions

By knowing this, keep your questions simple and use short sentences. Sometimes children may be too shy to speak so watch for non-verbal cues as well.  By this stage, you can add more complex swimming activities into the lesson e.g. show them to hold a kickboard to push and float out to parent/teacher.

It’s important to remember children are different and progress at different rates. This is meant to be a guide only.  If your child is ahead of this guide or not quite up to these activities be patient, teach to their likes, dislikes and abilities and enjoy the time you spend in the water with them.  Swimming with your child at any age can be a great bonding experience.
 
How do you keep your child improving?  Please share in the comments below.
 
To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!
 
Leesa Langdon

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3 Safety Skills to Practise at Home or Away from Lessons

Swimming lessons are a great way to introduce your child to the water in a safe, controlled environment under the guidance of an instructor.  During swimming lessons, you should be learning several water safety skills and drills that will assist your child in becoming safer in and around the pool.

Ensure your child has the best chance of learning water safety skills by giving them opportunities to practise outside of the formal swimming lesson.  If you are lucky enough to have a pool at home, you will be able to practise with your child on a regular basis.  This will speed up the learn to swim process.  If you don’t have a home pool you may be able to venture down to the local public pool or visit a neighbour who has a pool for some extra water time.

Spend 5-10 minutes practising safety skills at the start of each play session as a refresher for your child each time they go swimming to ensure water safety a priority each time they enter the pool.

The following water safety skills are great to work on at home or somewhere away from lessons and may help your child if they ever get into difficulty while swimming.

 

  1. Return to safety.

Set a designated safety zone in the pool.  This area should be shallow enough for the child to be able to stand up independently or somewhere they can hold onto, for example a pool deck, entry steps, ramps or the shallow end of the pool.  Educate your child about the safe swimming area, and if the pool is lacking a safe area you will need to designate yourself as the safe zone.

Younger swimmers may need your assistance in the beginning.  If they have been conditioned in lessons and are comfortable being submerged, you can physically turn them back to the safe area so they learn where to go.  Be consistent and always use the same key words when teaching swimmers certain skills.  For example, each time you practise turning to safety, use the phrase “turn to safety (their name) ready go”, then submerge the swimmer and turn them to the safe zone.  If your child is ingesting water, showing signs of discomfort, or hasn’t learned to hold their breath to go under water yet, skip submersions and practise the skill on top of the water so they are still learning where the “safe zone” is situated. Repeat this skill 6-8 times and then enjoy some play time with your child.

Older swimmers who are more independent and confident in the water can be encouraged to swim into deeper water and return to the “safe area” under close supervision – remain in the water within arm’s reach if necessary.  Encourage your child to repeat the skill 6-8 times and then allow him/her to play and explore the water while you actively supervise.

 

  1. Hold on to the pool deck / side of the pool

It may seem simple, but learning to hold onto the side of the pool while supporting their body weight could make all the difference to your child in an emergency.  This skill can be done easily in any pool.  If swimmers are comfortable with submersion and can grip and hold on to your t-shirt or fingers without letting go, you can encourage them to hold onto the side of the pool.  Always remain close so that you can gently guide your child back to the surface to hold the wall if they lose their grip.  Encourage older, more confident swimmers to experiment during this activity by voluntarily letting go, submerging and feeling the water float them back up to the surface where they can reach out and grip the side of the pool again.  Supervise closely and remain within reach to assist your child if necessary.  Repeat this skill 6-8 times before enjoying some play time with your child.

Extension Activities: Once swimmers are gripping well and are strong enough, they can work on monkeying along the wall back to the” safe zone” or climbing out of the pool depending on their age or physical capabilities.

 

  1. Climb out of the pool.

This is a great skill for swimmers who are physically strong enough to pull their own body weight up and out of the pool.  If swimmers are confident to jump into the water, turn around and climb out independently, check that the water depth is appropriate and encourage them to do so under strict supervision.  If it is a pool your child isn’t used to, ensure they can climb out and provide support or assistance where necessary.  Some pools may have an overflow deck and others may have a high wall so this activity may have varying levels of difficulty depending on the type of the pool you are using.  Always assess each venue and communicate with your child what they will need to do or any rules to follow prior to entering the water.

For swimmers who are less confident in the water, simply encourage them to jump to you so you can guide them back to the side and assist them while they climb out of the pool to safety.  Remember to always use the same key words or instructions when doing safety activities with your child.  For this activity use a simple phrase like “jump, turn and climb out (child’s name) ready go.”  Repeat this activity 6-8 times then enjoy some play time with your child.

 

Take home tips:

  • If any of these safety activities are part of your regular swimming lessons, use the same key words your instructor has taught you to keep it consistent and avoid confusing your child.

 

  • Remember each pool you visit with your child will be different and the pool that you have lessons in may be different to your home or neighbour’s pool, the local pool, or a resort pool if you are taking a family holiday. Always communicate with your child about the “safe zone” and pool rules in new environments.  Practising water safety skills in various environments will assist your child in becoming safer around the water.

 

  • No child is ever “drown proof” and you should always exercise close supervision.

 

  • If you have small children it is a good idea to keep the water level of your pool topped up as it will be easier for them to climb out and reach for the side of the pool. They will be able to rely more on the buoyancy of the water to support their body weight while holding the edge or climbing out rather than their arm muscles having to do all the work.

 

The age of your child will be a factor in determining which safety skills are appropriate for due to their growth and development stage.  If you are unsure, ask your instructor at regular lessons for some “homework” or safety skills that will be appropriate for your child to practice away from lessons and enjoy making the learn to swim process happy for your family.

To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Kate Lawrence

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Getting a fright and going backwards in swimming

It’s easy for children to get a fright in the water and lose confidence in their swimming ability. Sometimes parents and swimming teachers can pinpoint the exact scenario and act immediately to help get the child back on track. Other times parents can be left wondering why their child has a sudden lack of confidence and is displaying a timid approach to their swimming lessons. 

 

I’ve observed children on many occasions lose confidence because the adult has moved backwards during a swim and the child has struggled to make the distance. Yes, just this very simple action can affect a child’s learn to swim progress. They may quickly become reluctant to swim off the ledge or arch their back in protest when before they have been very relaxed. In this situation, it’s important to go back to a very short swims where the child makes the distance easily as this will build their confidence. Even just a little jump and cuddle with no submersion may need to be the starting point. Remember if you have told a child that you won’t move keep your promise. It’s important that we maintain trust with the child when teaching them to swim. 

 

Common scenarios that can cause a setback

  Taking in a mouthful of water or getting water up the nose

  Struggling to make it to the side of the pool 

  Getting out of their depth

  Becoming reliant on goggles

  Being pushed to perform a skill before they are ready

  Boisterous play with other children

 

These are only a few examples of things that can happen to make a child lose confidence in their swimming ability. The good news is that we can easily overcome this apprehension if we take a careful approach to get the child back on track. 

 

Play in shallow water 

Children will feel much more relaxed when they are in shallow water. Here they are in complete control of their learning and don’t need to rely on the adult for support. It can be intimidating and frightening for children when someone else takes them out of their depth. I would certainly encourage the parent or caregiver to participate in the lesson with the child. Here they can demonstrate to the child how relaxed and happy they feel in the water. But shallow water avoids parents or teachers having to over handle the child. Remember there are lots of swimming activities you can do in shallow water including breath control, back floating, crocodiles along a ledge to develop paddles while the legs learn to float. Be creative and don’t rush the child. 

 

Revise the foundations skills 

Remember we should follow a building block approach when teaching children of any age. Start again with the learn to swim principals of water familiarisation, breath control, submersion, floating and propulsion. By revisiting the foundation skills we set goals and activities that are easy for the child to master and this in turn builds their confidence. Remember even the best swimmers need to perfect streamlines and their body position in the water in order to excel. Therefore revising the foundation swimming skills should never be seen as a backwards step. 

 

Frequent exposure

If children are showing apprehension or a fear it’s important they are given a lot of opportunity to practice. Once again it’s about building their confidence and a week in between swimming lessons is a long time. Combining a play swim on Saturday and Sunday with the formal swimming lesson during the week will give great results. Booster blocks or holiday intensive programs are also ideal for timid swimmers. Remember some children will take longer than others to warm up or become relaxed in the water environment. It may be a good idea for you to arrive early to the swimming lesson so your child can acclimatise and watch other children enjoy the classes. 

 

Don’t stop swimming lessons

Some parents choose to pull out of swimming lessons when their child show signs of fear, apprehension or dislike to classes. Stopping swimming lessons at this stage is not recommended. Very often this results in children becoming more fearful and when parents try to recommence swimming lessons they are faced with the same or worse problem. I must stress that using fear, force or intimidation to achieve swimming results is totally inappropriate. Swimming must be a happy experience for both parent and child. 

 

If you have a child who is fearful of learning to swim or who has lost confidence in their swimming a ability don’t become frustrated or disheartened. It’s important not to force the child to do things they’re not comfortable with. We should read their body language, let them take the lead and gently encourage them to get them back on track. The main focus should be to have fun and choose games and activities that are easy for the child to achieve which will build their confidence in the water. Don’t underestimate the importance of regular play in a variety of different environments. If you follow these suggestions, you will have a happy, confident little swimmer in no time at all.

 
To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

Emma Lawrence

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Dressing for Swimming Lessons

Parents often wonder about the best way to dress their children for sporting activities.  What is the correct outfit for running, gymnastics, soccer and swimming?  What do all of the other children wear?

There are many different options for swimwear/accessories for swimming lessons.  Here are our suggestions for swimming attire for lessons.

 

Young swimmers who aren’t toilet trained should wear a swim nappy.

Swimmer nappies make life easier for parents attending lessons.  They work just like a regular nappy and are designed to be submerged under water.   Regular nappies will fill with water and swell up.  They also become heavy and will weigh a child down during lessons.   Swim nappies are designed to contain urine and fecal matter until nappy is changed and will help the swim school with water filtration and cleanliness of the swimming area.

Single use nappies can be purchased in the supermarket and thrown in the bin after each use.  There are also some types of swimmer nappy that are reusable with a plastic lining and cloth outside.  These reusable nappies can be emptied, washed out and reused each swimming lesson.

 

Caps and Goggles

We recommend that caps are worn once hair is long enough to affect performance by getting in the eyes, ears, nose when participating in lessons.  Caps can be made of materials such as latex/rubber to silicone to lycra.

Rubber/waterproof type swim caps are mostly worn by older swimmers and slide on over the child’s head.  They usually come in a standard size and stretch to fit quite tight over the swimmers head.  Hair is then tucked up inside the cap so it doesn’t drag down behind the swimmer in the lesson.    They can pull longer hair as they are placed on the head if wearer is not well practised in putting them on.  These caps are great for keeping hair or ears dry (when teamed with earplugs) and come in many different brands and colours.

Lycra/material swim caps are often easier to slide onto smaller heads as they tend to slide on more easily and not pull hair.  These caps do not keep hair dry and are used to keep hair out of the eyes when swimming.  They are quite easy to put on and don’t pull the hair as they go.  As these caps are used more they tend to stretch and lose their elasticity a little so should be washed and hung out after the lesson to keep them in good condition.

Goggles should be worn only when a swimmer is confident submerging under water and can open their eyes under water and return to safety.  Goggles can often give swimmers a false sense of security for viewing underwater.  It’s important to remember that when children fall in the pool they may not be wearing their goggles so they should continuously practise a little bit of swimming without goggles in their lesson/play time.

There are many different types of goggles available for swimmers.  WWSS recommends that parents spend money on a pair of goggles that are all one moulded piece and don’t have any small parts around the nose or side that can snap and break or the parent/instructor will have to spend time fiddling around with.  The side pieces should be easily loosened/tightened and should be able to be used and adjusted by the swimmer.

Caps and goggles that are sold at your swim school are usually good quality and can usually be adjusted by swim school staff to fit your child properly.

 

Swimwear – be practical!

Swimwear should be comfortable for the swimmer but try not to dress swimmers in too much clothing.  Board shorts are better suited for beach attire than swimming lessons as lots of material tends to get in the way and weigh swimmers down.  1 or 2 piece swimwear works well too.  Underpants shaped or bike pant length swimmers work well for older swimmers.  Be sun smart if participating in lessons in an outdoor pool but remember that the more material surrounding the swimmer the harder it is for their propulsive skills.  Tighter swimwear works better for movement through the water.
 
To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

 

Laurie Lawrence

 

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Why Is Parental Involvement Important In Swimming Lessons?

Baby and Toddler swimming lessons often recommend that parents stay in the water and participate in their child’s lesson.  WorldWideSwimSchool is a huge believer in parents staying involved in the learning process until the age of 4.  This article will discuss the many reasons that we believe in parental involvement in the learn to swim process.  Of course we understand that every swim school, family and individual situation is different but our philosophy remains the same for teaching swimming to children under the age of 4 years.

 

Maximum Practice Time

Parents in the water with their children increase the time that each swimmer is able to participate in activities within the lesson increases.  The one on one practice and support gives swimmers an opportunity to be constantly practicing and honing skills needed for great propulsion through the water.  Parents can assist with keeping swimmers moving whether they are moving in a wave formation all together or in a circuit or circular formation where swimmers take it in turns.  No matter how great an instructor is, there will always be more practice and movement with parent involvement in the water.

Parental involvement important in swimming lessons 4

Physical Manipulation

Parents can place hands on their child and physically manipulate arms and legs to create great swimmers.  Physical manipulation of kicking and paddling creates neuromuscular patterns between the brain and the muscles.  The more a child can receive physical reinforcement the better their skills will become.  Parents should ensure when manipulating that:

  • Paddles are focused on actions under the water – getting a good feel for the water will help a child move through the water effectively
  • Restrict the depth of the kicks so that the knees are bent just a little bit – too much bend in the knee will promote bicycle kicks or create a less effect kicking pattern
  • Paddle manipulation works better when done on the spot as opposed to hopping/moving through the water. Manipulate with swimmer on your knee and then send them on their way
  • Kicking manipulation is best done with a kickboard or on the ledge to stabilise swimmer and keep them on top of the water. If kicking manipulation happens in deeper water swimmer may get a fright or be unable to take a breath when needed.

 

Safe and Secure Environment

With parents offering 1 on 1 supervision within the lesson under the watchful eye of the instructor, swimmers safety is paramount.  It is important that instructor and parent not only discuss but practice safety scenarios such as safety slide in the water from the side, climbing out independently if possible, turning back to safety, only swimming with parent supervision and more.

 

Parent and Child Bonding

In today’s busy society there aren’t many opportunities where parent and child can spend half an hour focused on each other!  Technology, siblings, other activities and more take up most of the precious time in our daily lives.  Swimming lessons offer parent and child a special bonding time where everything else is left outside the pool and the focus is on the swimming lesson.

 

Discipline

Having parents in the water is a huge help in the disciplining of the class for the instructor.  Many parents have different styles of parenting and disciplining their children.  With parent participation in the water they can ensure that this discipline style continues throughout swimming lessons.  It can be a difficult task to keep a group of young swimmers listening, sitting still waiting for their turn and on task!  Parents can help instructors achieve that by assisting their child within the swimming lesson.

Having the parent in the water and participating in the swimming lesson doesn’t mean that the child ‘needs’ their help to swim.  Of course they may be proficient in their skills to swim by themselves.  Swimmers will have the opportunity to practice independent swimming throughout the lesson but by achieving the things discussed in this article parents, instructors and swimmers will work together to produce swimmers with excellent technique, a good feel for the water and a love for swimming and water safety.

Parental involvement important in swimming lessons 3
To learn more about what you need to know CLICK HERE!

 

Laurie Lawrence

 

FREE 3 Part Video Series…

Watch Laurie take a group of frightened beginners for their first class Now!!!!

Get it FREE Now