Got some time off over the holiday period? Planning to make the most of it by exploring with your family? That’s awesome!
If your family’s plan this summer is basically: Eat. Sleep. Swim. Repeat. Then, chances are, you’ll be visiting some of the incredible lakes around New Zealand! At Fulton Swim School, we’re all for exploring nature and enjoying everything Aotearoa has to offer, but we also firmly believe that it always pays to be prepared.
How to Prepare for Swimming in Lakes with Swimming Lessons
The Christmas tree is decorated, the BBQ is out, the temperature is cranking up and the longest day is just around the bend. It’s official - summer is here and it’s time to cool off in your favourite lake! Of course, learning to swim is a crucial skill to prepare for swimming in lakes. But there is so much more to it than that!
At every Fulton Swim School, our swimming lessons focus not just on teaching your children how to swim, but also on teaching the next generation how to stay safe in the water, whether that’s a pool, a river, the beach, or a lake. Throughout their lessons, our teachers talk to their students about how to use what they learn in the pool to keep safe in any body of water, even when conditions change or unpleasant situations arise.
Here’s how swimming lessons can help you and your children make a splash this summer, and every season after that:
Learn the basics
As we mentioned, learning to swim is a crucial skill to enjoy family time in the water! Swimming lessons help children to master basic techniques like how to float, tread water and breathe steadily which will go a long way to ensure your family are safe and comfortable in the lake.
Couple those basic techniques with fundamental swimming strokes like freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke and you’ll be away laughing (probably quite literally), enjoying your well-deserved, summer break as a family!
As you watch your child attend their swimming lessons throughout the year, you might be surprised by how much you learn too! If you’d like to take your swimming skills further, we also offer adult lessons at most of our swim schools and we’d love for you to join us!
Build confidence in the water
Going for a swim in the lakes can be a daunting task for children and adults alike, if you’re not prepared for it. The fear of the unknown can make lakes intimidating for many people. What could be below the surface? How deep is the lake? How far should I swim out?
We know your little ones are brave souls! And feeling uneasy about swimming can look different for everyone. You’ll know if your child doesn’t feel confident in the water if they avoid it altogether, panic if their face gets wet, get upset or act out near the water, or avoid showers and baths. Many kids feel nervous around water to begin with, it’s completely normal, and it doesn’t mean your child won’t grow to enjoy the water one day, with the right support.
Swimming regularly can help your child to overcome a fear of deep water, and in particular, swimming lessons can help children to become more confident in themselves, physically, mentally, and socially, so that they can live happy, healthy lives! What more could you want for your wee one?
While having fun is great, staying safe while you swim in lakes with your family this summer is understandably your number one priority. Having conversations about safety with your kids will help them to understand the dangers and act appropriately if something happens.
These conversations around safety while swimming at the lake may start during swimming lessons, but it’s up to you to make sure every member of your family, and anyone that joins you at the lake, knows that you should never swim alone and having adult supervision is non-negotiable, no matter where you are swimming. You could set up a designated swimming area by positioning branches or towels along the lake shore, much like flags at the beach, and remind your family that they should never swim out further than they can comfortably swim back, and if they feel unsure, it’s always best not to swim out to where they can’t stand comfortably.
When you’re out exploring the local lake, sun safety is just as important as any other safety tip we could give you! Remember to always wear sunscreen, reapply regularly, wrap up when it’s practical to do so, and relax in the shade if you can.
Other ways you can prepare to swim in lakes
Just like when you swim in the sea, you want to choose the perfect lake ahead of time. It’s all about location, location, location.
If you can find a lake with lifeguards on duty, that’s perfect! But, if the lakes near you aren’t patrolled, be extra careful. A good lake will be somewhere not too far out of the way, because not only does this make it a less intense day, but it also means that you’ll be closer to help if anything happens and you’ll be closer to shops, if you forget to bring something essential, because, let’s be real, no lake swim is truly complete without ice blocks and fish and chips.
The right lake will also be somewhere without a strong current. While most lakes in New Zealand are relatively still, you want to avoid swimming in lakes that feed, or are fed by raging rivers to keep everyone safe. Sometimes lakes may appear still but a current may be present below the surface, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time. Along the same lines, avoid swimming in areas where boats are zooming by.
Swimming in lakes isn’t just about keeping cool and staying safe, it’s also about having fun! So, don’t forget to “let your hair down” a bit, and make it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved, including you!