As parents, we love watching our children learn and succeed. We celebrate their wins and comfort them through the rough patches. It’s just natural to want to be there, especially when our children are younger, to make sure they’re getting the most out of every experience.
Swimming lessons are no different. Water safety and survival are critical lessons for every child to master, and as a parent, you want to ensure their success. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure your child comes out of the water with new skills and more confidence after every lesson.
1. Give Your Child Confidence From the Start
Your children follow your lead, and they pick up on your emotions. If you’re apprehensive about your child entering the water, they’re almost certainly going to be fearful themselves. If you show confidence (even if you have to fake it), your child will pick up on your cues and be more likely to jump right into the lessons.
When your child first starts swimming lessons, watch from a distance. Alternatively, have them work one-on-one or in a small group so that you are confident to leave them in the instructor’s care for the duration of the lesson.
2. Trust Your Child’s Instructor
Swimming instructors are highly trained, certified professionals who have the experience and understanding to help your child be successful–and they’ve seen it all. Everything from tears and reluctance to hyperactivity and overconfidence to outright refusal to participate… hitting, kicking, biting–they’re all behaviors that are in the instructor’s wheelhouse.
By allowing the instructor to use their proven techniques and teaching methods, you’ll further instill confidence in your child that they’re safe in the water without your direct involvement. So, if your child is crying and clinging to the side or they’re jumping from the stairs while all the other kids are sitting patiently, trust the process. Soon, you’ll see the reluctant children celebrating their successes and the excited kids focusing that energy on learning new skills.
3. Collaborate for Cooperation
If your little swimmer is having issues with confidence, difficulty learning a technique, or they’re exhibiting behavioral problems, talk with their instructor. Make sure this conversation happens away from the pool or out of earshot of your child. You may want to arrange a phone call or Zoom meeting to discuss how you can best support both your child and their instructor during the time between lessons. They might suggest simple practice exercises for when you’re in the bathtub or pool. Or they might be able to suggest rewards and consequences for correcting behavior issues.
But the important part here is the consistency. Make sure you’re using the same words that their instructor uses to describe swimming techniques. And follow through with any rewards or consequences that are decided in advance. If your child gets the same messages and treatment from both you and their swimming instructors, they’re more likely to cooperate during lessons. And cooperation is crucial for learning how to swim!
4. Insist on the Rules
Before each lesson, be sure to cover the basic rules specified by your child’s swim school. Common rules such as “no running” and “follow teacher instructions” are important for safety and success. If your child regularly fails to remember any specific rules, be sure to reinforce them directly before sending them out to the pool. But remember: once they’re with their instructor, you need to let them take responsibility for reacting to your child’s behavior.
5. Know When to Walk Away
Often, parents can best serve their children by removing themselves from the view of the pool. Some pools offer parent seating areas where you can still watch what is going on, but that is hard to see from the instruction area. You can watch your child, but they can’t see you.
If you find that your child is constantly scanning the area, looking for you, then it might be best if you leave the area altogether. You won’t want to leave the facility, of course. But finding a place to wait that is completely out of view will allow your child to focus on their instructor rather than seeking you out for reassurance or approval.
6. Heap On the Praise
When your child comes out of the pool, it’s time to celebrate the little victories! Sometimes, they’ll make strides in their learning. Other days, it might be a simple celebration of them showing up and putting in their best effort. But after that lesson, let your kids know how proud you are!
Also, be sure to remind them that they should be very proud of themselves. Children naturally want to please their parents, and it’s essential to show them that you’re excited about their successes. But confidence happens when children find that spark of pride in themselves. That self-confidence leads to even greater learning, which will help them get the most out of every lesson.
Find a Swimming Instructor Through Survival Swim
If you’re in the Phoenix metro area and looking for swimming instruction for your kids, give Survival Swim a call. Survival Swim is an affordable, mobile swimming lesson service. Our instructors can teach in your backyard pool, a community pool, or our “home” pool in Avondale, AZ. Our instructors teach vital swimming skills to children and adults of all ages and skill levels. Starting as young as six months old, you can make water safety and survival ingrained and inherent skills that your children carry throughout their lives.