Updated: Feb 20, 2019
You have signed up for S.W.I.M lessons and your little fish is having a hard time adjusting to their new routine. You get them in the water and all they want to do is get out.
HELP, what should I do?
I have 25 years of experience teaching swimming and have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of children. About 85% of those children have either started lessons for the first time or are extremely nervous and lack confidence in the water.
Here are some tips to help your child have a positive and happy experience during their time with our Learn 2 S.W.I.M program.
Tip 1: Don't rush to S.W.I.M lessons.
If you are arriving at lessons frantic and flustered there will be a higher chance that your child will feel uneasy and stressed too.
If you have set off later than you wanted and you are going to be late try not to worry I would rather you be 5 minutes late and have changed slowly and peacefully ready to start in a positive and calm state.
Give yourselves plenty of time - arrive 15 minutes before the lesson starts.
Tip 2: Be mindful of your child's sensory experience.
If this is your first time starting S.W.I.M lessons or at The Coach House then all of your child's 7 senses will be amplified within the pool setting: sound, sight, smell, touch, taste, body awareness and balance. The temperature of the water in and out, echo's and sounds, unfamiliar smells like chlorine, lighting and the unfamiliarity of others in your lesson, including me as the teacher. Give your child time to adjust to their new surroundings
Tip 3: Let your child take the lead.
Once your child is comfortable and happy in the water they will be happy to follow you when you challenge them with things outside their comfort zone. But until then, let your child take the lead, follow what they are enjoying and having fun with. I am a great believer in NEVER forcing your child to do anything they feel uncomfortable doing or don't want to do. We are looking to create a positive experience and build on your mutual respect. If your child is reluctant to get in the water then you get in and have them sit on poolside with some toys so they can play and explore the water there. This will help them settle and build their confidence. Once they gain that confidence and familiarity they will be more willing to enter the water.
Tip 4: Have a P.O.W moment.
Slowing down in our S.W.I.M lessons means that as a parent we can embrace special sensory moments with our child. Pause. Observe. Wonder. are key elements to the program. It is easy to overwhelm young children and initially they rely on you to regulate their state of mind and body. Becoming attuned with your child and their unique sensory processes enables you to regulate their auto-stress response. A child's brain processes everything so much slower than an adult which is why you'll see them marveling at many different things in their environment.
Tip 5: Keep going. See S.W.I.M lessons as a continuous activity.
Starting the S.W.I.M journey at a young age has so many benefits for you and your child. After 25 years, I had an "aha" moment when I realized that the pool is not just a place to swim. That is why I designed Little Fish Big Fish Learn 2 S.W.I.M program.
You will be investing in having such an E.P.I.C time with your child. You will be Exploring. Playing. Interacting . and Creating irreplaceable memories with your loved one. Learning to swim should be a journey not a process. It should be rewarding and progressive not based on what award they will get as quickly as they can.
Tip 6: Don't let your child struggle if they don't have to.
When your child reaches the age of 2, we use a Little Fish Swim Trainer in our S.W.I.M lessons. Using a training aid in the water is highly effective in my experience and using one builds up their strength (core, legs, arms) and confidence thus reducing the stress and frustration. The more they can move and practice in the water the better. Once your child has learnt to use the swim trainer efficiently they will be moving independently for the entire lesson. The trainer allows progressive development and positively challenges your child through each stage. I have used this system for 10 years and my Learn 2 S.W.I.M program would not be without them.
** These are currently being manufacture so will be available to buy soon. If you are interested in buying one please let me know ** (I do have some to use in my lessons for you to try).
Tip 7: Practice away from lessons and during bath time.
I strongly advise, if you can, to practice at the pool when we don't have lessons. The more your child is familiar with all aspects of swimming the more beneficial your journey will be. I have an online swim program that can be purchased to guide and help remind you of all the skills we learn during our lessons. It is such a useful tool to have and gives you peace of mind that you are doing it right.
Bath time is also a great place to create a learning opportunity too. See my blog about Bath Time - it provides you with some fun activities to do.
I hope this gives you peace of mind that learning to swim is a progressive process and should be an activity with longevity. A perfect opportunity to spend some fun, quality time with your bundle of joy in a positive and rewarding manor.
If you have a child that is really struggling with traditional swimming lessons or you are not satisfied with the structure of the lessons, I urge you to try a different approach and hopefully learning 2 S.W.I.M with Little Fish Big Fish is for you.
Contact me anytime with any questions.