Parents often ask how they can help their child in with their swimming lessons. Here are some quick tips to assist parents in providing the best swimming experience for their child.
- Engage in Your Child’s Learning
Swimmers who are in the water with a parent (usually in an infant program or in the occurrence of a child who needs extra assistance) are lucky in that their parents are participating in the lesson. However, there is a difference between attending a lesson and being involved in a lesson. Swimming instructors love parents who are willing to participate and get involved in the learning process. If you are in the water with your child, ensure that you are actively participating – listen, ask questions if you don’t understand and partake in every activity to the best of your ability. Parents are the true instructor when they are in the water – the instructor is the facilitator and can make your swimming lesson an exciting and fun experience.
Parents whose children are participating in a lesson without them have a bigger challenge ahead of them to engage in the lesson. It is easy to take the time away from your child to plan family activities, check emails or daydream but a swimmer who’s parent is engaged in their lesson will participate more fully in the learn to swim process. Find a spot around the pool are where your child can see you and you can see your child. Watch the lesson making eye contact with your child where possible. Give non-verbal feedback throughout the lesson such as nodding, smiling and clapping when they look to you for support. After the lesson is finished, discuss specific drills or skills that you saw your child participating in so they know that you were watching and interested in their lesson. This is also a good tactic to use in swimming lessons where you may not be able to make eye contact with your child due to a busy centre or viewing areas.
- Communicate With Your Instructor/Swimming Centre
Get to know your swimming staff. Learn their names and a few things about them. If the staff see you and your family as more than “a client” it’s natural that they will take interest in your child’s learning. A holiday card or thank-you gift can go a long way in staff/instructors feeling appreciated. Happy and appreciated staff will go above and beyond for their clients and families. Ask questions at an appropriate time about your child’s progress and what you can do at home to help them improve. If an instructor knows that you’re serious about your child’s improvement and willing to put in the work they will follow suit.
- Give Opportunities for Practice
Allow children ample time and opportunity to practice skills learned in the swimming lesson. If you have achieved the previous 2 suggestions you will know what to work on in your home pool or at the local public pool. Make practice time fun – your child doesn’t have to participate in drills and skills all the time to improve – practice and play go hand in hand and compliment each other while having fun and improving.
Parents play a huge role in their child’s improvement. Don’t forget to participate, discuss and give opportunities for your child to improve and the whole family will enjoy the process.
Do you do the 3 tips above already? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.