Understanding the fundamentals of the learn to swim process will help you introduce and maintain skills that will help build towards your childs independence in the pool. One of the best ways to see a dramatic increase in your child's swimming ability is to give them every opportunity to get in the pool to play and explore. This, with a little knowledge and direction from the parent, can bring consistency and familiarity. Jumping in the pool 2 or 3 times a week and initiating skills such as the 'Show - Practice' method can ensure your child is on their way to experiencing the love, independence and appreciation of being around the pool.
Video #1 - Allowing Independence
Allowing independence (with strict supervision) around the pool is by far the most important aspect of learn to swim when building confidence. Introducing shallow water play and allowing children to explore independently allows them test their own boundaries and learn what can and cannot be done. Here we see a 12 month old standing on a pool ledge while holding the side of the pool. Giving babies and toddlers the opportunity to hold the wall and support their own body weight can be great for two reasons:
1. Maintains a strong grasp reflex and help build on child's physical development
2. First step in teaching 'Monkeys' on the wall
Video #2 - Breath Control
The second step of the learn to swim process is teaching the children how to hold their breath. At Swim Personal we believe that the best way to teach this skill, between the ages of 4 months and 2 years, is by a way of Conditioning. This is a stimulus response method used to teach breath control on command.
If you would like to find out more about the Conditioning process you can download a step-by-step guide here.
Video #3 - Kicking
Once children have good breath control and feel comfortable going under the water we introduce propulsion skills. Kicking is important as it determines your child's body position while swimming.
It is common in the younger age groups to kick with a knees forward 'bicycle kick' forcing them into a vertical swimming position.
Introducing the Show' Practice Method is a great way for you to combat this and refine those finer motor skills.
We show the children what to do - Then we let them practice. Simple.
Video #4 - Turning
Turning is introduced so that if a child falls in the water or pool they are able to comfortably turn, swim back to the side of the pool and exit safely. BE AWARE - This skill should only be introduced when breath control has been established and children can comfortably submerge without fuss.
Swimming is mainly done between two planes - horizontal and vertical. If we can adapt certain skills to create comfort and familiarity with these positions then children will soon learn their own spatial awareness while under the water.
Moving from assisted turns to allowing the children to turn short distances by themselves will allow them to practice this skill unaided. Once mastered you are well on your way to having a child that can enjoy jumping in and swimming back the side.
Video #5 Learn to Swim - Education and Fun
With over 14 years’ experience in learn to swim I have had the opportunity travel the world and work with some fantastic people. I called this video Education and Fun because I believe that is exactly what needs to be offered to families wanting the most from their learn to swim lessons.
Next time you're booking in for a swimming lesson don’t choose on convenience. These tips will help you find the most suitable for you and your family.
The Top 5 questions you should ask when choosing a swim school.