So, you've enrolled your little one in swim lessons at Fulton Swim School. What's next? First swimming class may be terrifying, exhilarating, perplexing, and overwhelming — and a child's first session frequently sets the tone for the rest of their time with their teacher. It's a brand-new adventure for you and your child, so it's perfectly reasonable for a parent to feel nervous. Don't worry. You are in good hands.
Preparing for a pleasant, entertaining, and simple first lesson might take some time, but investing the time now will pay off in the long term. Patience is the key here. Take your time, don't rush, and give your child time to adjust. Here are some recommendations to help you prepare for your child's first swim lessons.
Before the Lessons
Consider your schedule. You'll be likely to appreciate your child's session without feeling pressured if you've prepared ahead of time. Remember to check when your child's swim lessons start and keep an eye out for any traffic changes that may lead you to skip class. If feasible, accompany your child to the facility for the first few classes to demonstrate your support and encouragement.
Visit the facilities. Take your child to the facility before their lessons begin. Your child will appreciate the instructors' kind demeanour and the entertaining activities that comprise the classes. Your child can watch other kids learn to swim and have fun. This type of exposure could be just what your child requires to feel more comfortable and confident.
Make bath time fun. Start by singing songs, having toys in the bath to squeeze, and float around, allowing your child to splash the water and themselves a little, or bathe their favourite toy. Children must become accustomed to water by pouring water over their faces and heads with a verbal trigger. This helps children become used to having water on their faces and prepares them for submersion in their swimming classes when they are ready.
Tell them what to expect. If your child is old enough to understand, explain what to expect from the lessons, the benefits of knowing how to swim (for example, visits to the pool and the beach), and how much fun they'll have in the classes.
Speak with the instructor. Before the lesson, speak with the swimming instructor or pool supervisor and let them know how your child is feeling, what they are most afraid of, etc. All instructors have been trained and have experience working with nervous children, so a good instructor will quickly put you and your child at ease.
Allow your child to choose their swimming costume. Allow your child to choose their swimming attire to get them excited about the classes. It's incredible what a new swimsuit can do to motivate a child to jump into the pool!
Avoid having a full or empty stomach. Check that your child is not hungry or overly full before beginning their class. They must wait at least an hour after eating before entering the pool.
Pack wisely. While your child will need swimsuits and towels, don't forget to bring snacks afterward, a water bottle, soap for rinsing off after lessons, a plastic bag for your wet belongings, a change of dry clothes and underwear. If your little one is younger than 2, take swim nappies.
During the Lessons
Spend time with your child. If your child is under three, you must accompany them to the pool. Make sure you can stand up so you can focus on supporting them, or put a swimming noodle between your legs to float. Hold on to them at all times, move at their pace, and smile!
Use a swim nappy. When babies need to go, they will go! All nappy-wearing babies should be wearing a proper disposable or reusable swimming nappy, preferably with a plastic swim nappy on top for added protection.
Be their cheerleader. Swimming classes can be a whirlwind of firsts. It could be your child's first time participating in a group activity outside of school, having an instructor, or even swimming in a pool! As a result, they will naturally experience apprehension and fear at first. Encourage your child to enjoy the experience by providing positive reinforcement such as telling them how well they're doing, looking happy, cheering, or giving a thumbs up from the side from time to time. Seeing you cheering and encouraging them gives them the confidence and inspiration to stick with their first lesson.
After the Lessons
Wrap them in warm clothing. Be prepared to wrap your child in a towel as soon as they exit the water after the class. If you're wet from a swim with your baby, wrap yourself in a towel and focus on getting them clean, dry, and dressed as soon as possible.
Check with your child. After the class, ask your child what they thought about it, how they liked the teacher, etc. It's normal for kids to be resistant to the idea of swimming lessons at first, so stick with it. If they are still reluctant to go after a few weeks, consider changing the class or instructor, discussing options with your swim school, or experimenting with one-on-one private swimming lessons.
Be patient. While it may appear that your child will never enjoy swimming lessons, almost all children eventually fall in love with the water and find swimming classes to be a lot of fun. Stick with it, remind your child of the importance of learning to swim, and be patient and positive.
Practice makes perfect. Children should be encouraged to attend swimming lessons at least once a week for several years in order to develop vital life-saving swimming skills. Maintain the momentum by attending classes simultaneously each week, so your child becomes accustomed to a consistent routine. Swimming between classes should be encouraged because the more time young children spend in the water, the faster they progress. If you have a pool at home, taking your children in and practising swimming as often as possible will significantly aid their development.
Enrolling your child in swimming classes is an investment of a lifetime. Swimming is an excellent way for your child to be active and have fun while staying safe in and around the water. In general, splitting about, learning swim strokes, and swimming provide extra heart and lung capacity advantages for children. They also provide you with a full-body exercise while improving your confidence, flexibility, endurance, and balance. If you have further concerns regarding your child's first swim lessons, don't hesitate to drop by your nearest Fulton Swim School facility or contact us through our website. We'll be there for you every step of the way!