I've had lots of enquiries from parents wanting to book their children in for classes in time for the Summer so that they can enjoy spending some time in the pool as a family on holiday. I have a few spaces left for June, but some of those families have gone on the waiting list for September because the level they need is now full.
I thought I'd put together some tips for those of you on the waiting list, and anyone else who isn't able to fit in some swimming lessons before the Summer this year.
Always, always, always watch your child when they're anywhere near water - no matter how shallow. It's not enough to assume that siblings will keep an eye on one another; water is too dangerous and there are just too many distractions. Respect the water and always supervise.
Be prepared to splash about and go under the water yourself to encourage your child. They learn more from you than from anyone else, so show them how brilliant the water can be. Pretend to be super-confident, even if you're secretly not much of a water baby!
Invest in some good sun protection
It's worth buying a UV suit (Splash About do some great ones!), a wide-brimmed hat and some water resistant sun cream so that you can let your children go for it without worrying about those harmful rays.
Book swimming lessons all year round
We always have a big influx of new students in the Spring Term when the weather is warm and people want to get ready for the Summer, but the best swimmers are the ones who swim even in darkest December. Big gaps or seasonal swimming mean that children lose confidence and forget the skills they have learnt.
Paddling pool fun
Use a paddling pool in the garden, watering cans, buckets of water and water pistols and take advantage of the lovely weather we'll (hopefully) be enjoying in the UK!
Jump, jump, jump!
Jumping in is a great way to build confidence - your child will love it when they get the hang of it, and it involves getting water on your face, going under, building trust between the parent and child and even a bit of independent swimming. Just check that they have ten toes curled over the edge of the pool to stop them slipping and make sure they jump well clear of the wall and into a space.
Don't push your child out of their comfort zone - it won't have the desired result. Focus on building trust between you and your child - don't suddenly let go of them or go under water to see what they can do on their own and don't get frustrated when they don't do as well as you'd hoped. Take little, positive, progressive steps and let them progress at their own pace. If they don't enjoy something, try again the next day!
Don't have a plan
You're not aiming for your child to have a perfect frontcrawl by the time the Summer has ended! You want them to feel happy and confident in the water, and you want to build brilliant splashy memories and positive associations with the pool or the sea. Don't have any kind of checklist of what you want them to achieve.
Let them feel the water
If your child spends the whole holiday in a rubber ring or wearing a float vest, they won't learn how it feels to balance yourself in the water, so give them some time when they're playing in shallow water without any kind of floatation device if you can. If you're a strong and confident swimmer, they could even have a ride on your back while you do a couple of lengths yourself!
You are your child's best teacher and role model, so be the swimmer you want them to be and HAVE FUN!
Book a space for the Summer!