Preparing Your Child For Their First Swimming Lesson
Starting swimming lessons is a big step for many children, so they might be experiencing a range of emotions. Don't forget it can also be a big step for parents and carers too!
Help Them Feel Comfortable in the Water
As we have had pools closed because of Covid, your little one may have not had as much experience in pools as most children would have. If you have had your little one in baby swim classes then they are likely to be comfortable in the water already. However, this is not going to be the case for everyone.
In my opinion, the best way to start with water confidence is at bath time. They get to play with the water and they are in a safe environment. Make sure your child is used to getting their head and face wet in the bath tub. It is important not to wipe their face with a towel, and instead encourage them to blink the water away. Get them to try splashing their hands and feet as well as blowing bubbles during their bath. Most importantly, make bath time fun. Have bath toys or even a household sponge!
Now swimming pools are open, try and familiarise your child with a swimming pool environment by taking them for a family swim. Make sure you are water confident yourself. Children learn everything from their parents, even fears, so if you spend your time in the pool fussing about getting your hair wet or shrieking if you get splashed, then you will simply be teaching your child that it is normal to be nervous about swimming.
Prepare Them Ahead of Time
Make sure you communicate with your child that they will be starting swimming lessons and explain to them what it will be like. There are lots of books and videos catered to children. Make sure you make lessons sound exciting as your child will have a more positive outlook leading up to it. Even taking them shopping for their swimsuit will make them excited.
Every swimming pool is different so if your child is showing a lot of signs of anxiety around the topic of swimming lessons, make sure you take them to the pool where their lessons will be taking place. Whether is it to look through the window or to watch a lesson, it will be very beneficial. Most swim schools will be more than happy for you to watch.
Swimming lessons may be a first for a lot of things. It can be your child's first time in a group activity outside of their education setting or even their first time in a lesson based activity. Making sure you are encouraging them helps to give them the confidence they need. There may be tears on the first lesson, so it may take them a few lessons to be comfortable in the water with new people. Don't feel discouraged if they cry the whole lesson or didn't make it through to the end, keep bringing them back and over time they will improve.