Tips for being an awesome swim parent

APR 07 2022

Parents sitting by the pool watching their kids swimming

Investing in baby swimming lessons or toddler swimming lessons is an amazing gift to your child. Kids swimming lessons set your child up for a lifetime of fitness, fun and safety around water. But just taking your child to a kids swimming lesson is not all that’s required to achieve learning success. There’s a few things you can do as a parent to help your child in their swimming journey.

Have a look at the following tips to help you be an awesome swim parent for your kids!

Just be there

You’re most of the way on the journey to being an awesome swim parent if you’ve made the effort to set up swim lessons for your child. By taking those initial steps of enrolling your little ones in lessons and getting them to the pool, you’re demonstrating a respect for the importance of learning to swim. This kind of investment in your child’s physical education is invaluable, and will contribute to their long-term health and ability to be safe around water.

You’re also giving an enormous gift to your child by just being present as they learn a new skill. Whether you’re literally supporting them in the water or just poolside, your presence and encouragement makes a huge difference and shows your child you’re with them, and your support is at hand whenever they need it. This is priceless in terms of strengthening your bond with your child.

Don’t push too far

Your child needs the time and support to learn at their own pace, which may be slower than others. You’re not going to speed up their learning if you throw them in the deep end, either figuratively or literally.

Fear and apprehension are perfectly normal feelings which generally rise up when any of us are exposed to something new and are yet to understand how it works.

Our kids may experience these feelings when they start out in the pool, so pushing them beyond their current limits can breed more fear and distrust of the water. If your child isn’t ready to let go of you, put their head under the water or jump into the water, don’t rush them. They’ll do it when they’re ready, and will actually be excited to try.

And if your child isn’t talking yet? How can you tell when they are ready? The following signs may indicate your child is apprehensive in the water.

  • Restlessness
  • Reluctance
  • Avoidance
  • Outright refusal
  • Panic
  • Misbehaviour
  • Aggression

If you notice these signs, the most important thing is to remain patient, project calm and confidence, and use reassuring phrases like “let’s have a try”, “it will be ok”, “you can do this”, or ‘it will be fun!’

Make sure your little one can enter the water at their pace. Sit with them on the side of the pool as they experiment with the feeling of the water on their hands and feet. Use toys to provide interaction with the water and create a sense of fun.

Never force. It’s the little steps you take along the way that result in big steps for your child’s swimming future.

Don’t compare

You no doubt know this one, but kids develop at different rates. There’s never any point in comparing how fast your child is developing in the pool with how fast other kids are learning.

The point of going to kids swimming lessons is for your child to experience their own journey, not for you or your child to be overly conscious of someone else’s.

Sure, if another little one has a cool way of doing things you think your child could try, mention it, but be careful about your delivery. The message you want your child ultimately to get is that they have the time, space and support to learn at their own pace.

Don’t judge

It’s important to keep judgements to yourself when it comes to assessing your child’s progress in the pool. Your child’s swim teacher is there to give them tips and tricks for improving their swimming skills.. Our Supervisors will assess your children and can communicate to you both what they are doing well, which skills need work on and how to help with this at home.

Ultimately, swimming is something experienced with your body. Words won’t always help, and if the wrong words are delivered, it can be discouraging for a child. Encouragement is preferable.

Support the tutor

If your child hears you questioning or criticising a teacher’s methods, there’s a chance they’ll do the same. So, if you’re going to invest in kids swimming lessons, then try your best to be onboard with the teacher’s methods, (or at least appear to be). This way, your kid can just focus on learning to swim.
You can speak with the Supervisor on shift if you have questions about what’s happening in the class.

Pay heed to water safety

No matter the age of your child, it’s essential to supervise them in the water. If they are taking baby swimming lessons or toddler swimming lessons, it’s likely you’ll be in the water with them, holding them up and ensuring that they don’t swallow water. But even for older children, it’s important to always be aware of where they are, in and out of the water, at the swimming pool. You can’t rely on pool supervisors or swim teachers to notice if your child is in trouble. You need to ensure your child is being supervised during their kids swimming lessons at all times, so if you need to take a break, make sure another guardian is closely watching.

Get excited about going to lessons

If your child feels your enthusiasm about taking them to their swim lessons, they’ll feel positive about the lessons too, whereas if you complain about driving your child to class, or suggest it’s ok to miss a class here or there, your child will wonder if classes are something valuable, (if you don’t value them, why should they?).

Positive engagement will make a world of difference to your child’s attitude to swimming. They’ll be less likely to want to miss a class or quit.

It also sets your child up well for the future. If they learn it’s all too easy to not show up because they don’t feel like it, or because they lack energy, they may follow suit in other areas of life. So it’s worthwhile pushing through lulls in enthusiasm. In fact often those lulls are when your child is on the precipice of mastering a new skill in the water. You wouldn’t want them to miss the opportunity to find out.

In saying that, if your child is unwell, it’s definitely advisable to stay home until they are completely recovered. At Kingswim, you have up to two make-up lessons per swimmer, per term, so if your child needs rest, it’s better they stay home until they feel ok.

And if you are a little tired? Here are a few ways to get in the swim positive mood.

  • Talk with your child about the class with positivity. Revisit what your child learned in their last lesson, and talk about what they want to achieve in today’s class.
  • Involve your child in preparations for class. Help of course, but get them active in getting the swim things together and packing the water bottle and snacks.
  • Play some fun music in the car on the way. Have a sing.
  • Consider wrapping some other fun activities around the swim class. Maybe walking or cycling to class will make for a more interesting day? Or add a trip to the cafe at the end? Whilst you never want to bribe a child to go to class, making the day fun for all and celebrating their achievements in the lesson can really make it more inviting.

Kingswim are here to support your child on their journey to becoming a confident swimmer. With a focus on water safety, we ensure your child learns a range of swimming skills, and most importantly, has fun at the pool.

For information on our Foundation swimming classes for babies, toddlers and older kids, see more here.

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