Take a look at this wonderful video of 2 year old Jethro swimming. His mother Renee was one of our swimming teachers at Laurie Lawrence Swim School Helensvale. Can you believe that Jethro is now nine years old. What I love about this video is how relaxed Renee is. You’ll notice that Renee never picks Jethro up but makes him do all the work and pull himself up on her T-shirt. She stays nice and low in the water to make independent swimming easy for him to achieve.
Why Independent Swimming is so Important
Why is this so important? Pulling up independently is a vital part of the swimming lesson because it helps to teach children independence and a respect for the water. Jethro must learn that if he strikes out in the water on his own, then he needs to recover to safety. Safety in this pool is either up to mum or on the shallow water ledge. Jethro must be given an opportunity to be independent so that he learns his capabilities and limitations in the water.
Strict Adult Supervision
All independent swimming and water play activities must be done under strict adult supervision. But do not be frightened to stay within arms reach and let your child perform swimming skills by themselves. I often observe parents interacting with their child in the swimming pool and the biggest mistake they make is swooping in and picking them up when the child is capable of doing it on their own. This is unnecessary especially if you are being realistic with the distance that you are asking the child swim. Very often parents will stand too far out, have the child to swim to them and then they have to swoop in and pick them up because they are struggling.
Pulling up on T-shirt
I would suggest to start with very small swims where the child independently pulls up on your T-shirt and then gradually increase the distance. Remember that it’s important to observe your child as they swim and look for them exhaling bubbles. If the child exhales bubbles but is not yet capable of lifting up for a breath then they will ingest the water. This can frighten the child and be detrimental to the learn to swim process. Remember learning to swim must be a positive experience for both parent and child.
We would love to hear your swimming success stories as the result of hard work and persistence. Please share in the comments section below.
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