Bringing your little one to swim lessons for the first time can be just as stressful for you as it can be for your child.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to explore how to minimize those first-time stresses so swim lessons are a joy!
You may worry about everything from whether they’ll take to the water, to their safety in and around the pool, to whether they’ll keep up with the class. This can affect your children without you even realizing it.
We all want our children to succeed in whatever they do. But despite our best efforts, it can be challenging and even the most well-meaning parents can unintentionally jeopardize the progress of their child in swim class.
Here’s what you can do on your end to set your child up for a successful class!
1. Communication Is Key:
The first thing that you need to do is have open, honest and clear communication with your child’s instructor.
Here’s what we need to know from you to help your child shine:
-What is your child good at and what do they enjoy? Telling us this helps us assess your child’s ability and what their limits are.
-What does your child struggle with? Be upfront with the instructor about what your child finds challenging. Do they have a fear of putting their face underwater? Do they have any health issues or learning challenges that we should know about or that might impede their ability to swim effectively? Knowing this in advance will help us better teach your child.
-What are your expectations for your child? Why have you signed them up for swim class? Is it for safety or just for fun? Telling us what your goal is for your child, combined with the above information, will help us move forward so that everyone is on the same page with respect to your child’s progress.
[bctt tweet="Give encouragement often and, as the lessons progress and you see the instructor work with your child, keep giving that feedback! This is a total team effort between your child’s instructor and you." username="@AquaLifeSA"]
2. Effective Encouragement:
Children love to be praised. It boosts their confidence and inspires them to go further. Cheering them on from the sidelines, telling them how well they did a particular skill, and asking them what they loved most about the class boosts positivity and reassures them they’re doing well so they want to continue with their lessons.
However, encouragement can take many forms and how one child responds to vocally cheering from the sidelines may not work for another. Is your child on the more sensitive side or do they embarrass easily? If so, a smile or wink when they catch your eye can be just the subtle validation they will love.
Sometimes it takes our little ones longer than others to pick up a skill. It's so important as a parent to be VERY patient and to try not compare your child's progress to another's. Just as we have to be mindful about how we give them positive encouragement, we have to be just as mindful with the way we talk about the skills they aren’t so good at yet.
Of course, it is never our intention to discourage our child, but children are so sensitive and are always looking for validation, especially from their parents, that they can misconstrue what was said to believe that they’re not good swimmers.
So give encouragement often and, as the lessons progress and you see the instructor work with your child, keep giving that feedback! This is a total team effort between your child’s instructor and you.
How do you encourage your child during their lessons? Let me know in the comments below.