Most young children love to experiment and explore their surroundings. It plays a huge part in their development and the way they learn about the world around them. This love of experimentation and exploration certainly follows them into each new environment they encounter.
Swimming lessons offer a vast array of new experiences and can send their senses into overdrive. Some things early learners may encounter in swimming lessons include:
- The sensation of water on their skin
- Different temperatures
- New sounds, songs, voices of instructors or other swimmers
- Different toys and swimming equipment
- Bright colours
- New smells
For many young children learning to swim, this sensory overload can be thrilling and exciting. Others may find it overwhelming and frightening. If you know your child might find new situations overwhelming, head down to your local swim school and watch some classes and allow your child to hear what is happening and observe the process before jumping in and starting swimming formal lessons. It is important to find a happy balance for all learners so that learning to swim is an enjoyable experience.
Swimming lessons are great for young children. It can help with learning to follow instructions, working with others and learning important water safety skills. Being able to swim is a gift for life – a skill you will enjoy for a lifetime. A four-year study on infant aquatics by Griffith University found that children who attend swimming lessons are more socially and emotionally prepared for school transition and reach milestones earlier than non-swimmers in the following areas:
- Physical development
- Cognitive development
- Language development
You can learn more about the research findings here
In addition to attending formal swimming lessons, your child should be given the opportunity to play and explore in a number of different aquatic environments. This will allow swimmers to build confidence and understand their capabilities and limitations in a wide variety of situations.
It is important to remain vigilant and provide close supervision when your child is exploring the water. Better yet, become involved and play games with your swimmers in the water. Allow them experiment in different depths, pools and in open water situations under active supervision. Also ensure you are following any rules or signs around your local pools, beaches or swimming holes. Talk to your children about water safety and dangers they may face in different situations and make learning about water safety a priority.
For more information on water safety and resources for early learners visit the Kids Alive website at http://kidsalive.com.au/early-childhood-program/
How do you keep kids interested and engaged in swimming? Share your ideas in the comments below.