Children of all ages adore repetition - they love a familiar song and a routine they can recognise. How many times have we thrown our kids a curve ball or dragged them through a busy day, only to be rewarded with a huge meltdown - when children and babies can predict what happens next, they feel safe and secure. Think of how many times your baby would watch you play peek-a-boo, or how many times your toddler asks the same question - children crave repetition!
Repetition and practise are also key to learning a new skill - if you've had music lessons or trained to a high level in sports you know how many times you have to keep doing the same thing in order to see an improvement. It's also the way we can tell when we've made progress - if you compare your progress on the same skill week after week you can tell when you're getting better.
During parent and baby swimming, it's often the parents who crave new skills and activities, rather than the children. The fundamentals of swimming are the same for any learner, although some need more emphasis than others depending on the age of the swimmer. You do need to practise the same core skills each week in order for your little swimmer to improve. Teachers can make skills more appealing with a different game or a song, but essentially unless the children get enough repetition they won't get stronger and better at the skill.
Some swim schools are afraid to allow for that repetition, and as a swimming teacher it is tempting to rely on a gimmick and feel the need to introduce a different skill each week in order to make the lessons seem more exciting. But all the babies and children really need is familiarity and practise in order to develop as brilliant little swimmers.
Our lessons start with the same warm up activities and songs, and we always follow our main activity with water skills work, water safety work, jumping and end on the same songs - it helps children predict when the lesson is coming to a close and helps them to feel secure. That way you can focus on the moment together.