Swimming is a valuable life skill that we believe every Kiwi should learn!
Not only is water safety essential over the summer months, when many families flock to the beaches, lakes, rivers and local pools, but it’s also a great form of exercise to set your child up to live a happy, healthy life. At Fulton Swim School, our goal is to provide a safe space for Kiwis of all ages and abilities to learn to swim, so that everyone can feel safe and comfortable while they experience the benefits of swimming regularly.
If your child is living with a disability, they likely can’t help but feel different from other children on occasion. This may be frustrating for them at times, and equally as heartbreaking for you as a parent or caregiver. Thankfully, swimming lessons are a place where no child has to feel different or left out, where everyone’s abilities are celebrated, and every success is met with a smile and a high five!
How to Prepare for Swimming Lessons for Disabled Children
Starting swimming lessons can be overwhelming for any child. But there’s no need to jump in at the deep end!
There’s no right age for your child to start learning to swim, but whenever they’re ready, we’re ready to show them how they can enjoy the water! We’ve been teaching children’s swimming lessons since 2005, so we’ve learned a thing or two about how to help your children feel more comfortable around the water and set them up for success in their lessons.
As a parent, we know that you want your children to feel comfortable and excited about starting swimming lessons, so here are a few things you can do to help prepare your disabled child to make the most of their first swimming lessons:
Find the right swim school
First, and most importantly, it’s essential that you pick a swim school that is confident teaching disabled children who may experience extra difficulty learning water safety skills. You want a school that will take the time to understand any special requirements that your child may have because of their disability. It’s crucial to find a swim school, and a swim teacher who will provide all of the support your child needs to enjoy their swimming lessons, without making them feel as if they are being singled out from other students because of their disability.
At Fulton Swim School, we have designed our programmes to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, and to encourage safety, improvement and confidence, without compromising our high standards. All of our teachers undergo extensive training and hold relevant qualifications, and we’ve even won several NZSCTA awards for teaching.
Each of our classes is limited to a small number of students so that we can maintain a high student-to-teacher ratio, so our teachers can guide each child through the class, and no student feels left out or unsure of themselves.
Choose the right equipment
Whether it’s your child’s first swimming lesson, or they are an experienced swimmer, finding the right swimwear for your kids is essential, and that’s even more true for disabled children.
Helping your child to select togs, goggles, and a swim cap that fits them comfortably, helps them feel confident, and makes swimming more enjoyable, is a very important step to prepare them for swimming lessons. Aside from the practical aspect of having high-quality, comfortable equipment, swimming gear comes in so many colours and patterns these days that it can be a fun way of getting your child excited for their lessons!
For disabled children, finding the right equipment is especially important so that they are not restricted in any way when they jump in the pool. If you’re not sure which swimming equipment is right for the specific needs of your child, talk to our lovely team and they’ll help you find the right match!
Encourage your child
Your child may experience some nervousness when they start swimming lessons, but you can help them overcome their fear of the water by acknowledging their fear, helping them to develop coping strategies, making being in the water a fun experience, celebrating their success, and of course, making sure they know the basics by participating in swimming lessons.
As your child progresses through their lessons, it’s important to keep the discussion open so that they can come to you if they are feeling the nerves creeping in. No matter how many lessons your child has been to, be sure to remind them how well they are doing and how proud you are of them for keeping at it!
Keep it up!
Over a lifetime, swimming lessons can be a big investment in time and money. Thankfully, it’s an investment that easily pays off tenfold in peace of mind that your family is safe around water.
To get the most out of their lessons, it’s good if your child can practise between sessions. It doesn’t have to be at a pool, the beach or the local swimming hole is just as good (although they may not be as warm as our pools which are constantly heated to warm, 32-degrees to keep all of our swimmers comfortable). This extra practice can help your children to commit swimming lesson content to memory, and it is also an opportunity for you to get involved, to make swimming more relaxing and more fun for your whole family.
Swimming lessons can be a positive, fun experience for children of all ages. There’s no reason for a disability to hold your child back from learning how to be safe in the water, so long as you have the support of a swim school that embraces inclusivity and enables every child to make a splash in the water!
With locations all over the North Island, and a reputation as one of the best swim schools around, why not consider Fulton Swim School for your child? Contact us, or pop in for a visit - we’d love to meet you and your little one!