Sure, swimming’s an activity that most kids love (and without fail, the enthusiasm levels go up a notch when it’s time to get out), but water safety is also an essential life skill. We sat down with coaching duo Ivan and Larisa from Nexus International School and asked them to share their expert tips for helping kids learn in the water. Not only was Larisa a former national swimmer for Russia, the married duo are also proud parents of two little ones – making them the perfect go-to- gurus for swimming advice! Read on and watch our quick video to get some swim time wisdom…
Tip 1: Exposure is the key
It’s often the case that children with home pools usually turn into the best little swimmers simply because they’re in the water every day. Of course, if you don’t live in a condo, installing a pool at your house probably isn’t an option. So, do what you can: if that means hitting a public swimming pool (there are plenty around town) once a week, or just as often as you can, that’s great. Any exposure to the water is a good thing.
Tip 2: Master independent floating
If you’re talking about starting with the basics, floating is the first skill that little ones need to learn. Whilst floaties are often used to help kids gain confidence, our advice is to avoid them and teach natural buoyancy and a feel for the water. It’s a fact that children who can float learn to move more efficiently through the water rather than thrashing to keep themselves afloat. Kickboards are also a good option for balance in the early learning stages.
Tip 3: Encourage independence
Your children are the most important little people in the world, and we know it’s hard to let go. As much as you want to shepherd their every move, it’s vital to realize that independence is key to building strong swimming skills. Try not to over-handle your children in the pool. Stay low in the water and let them grip you (wearing a t-shirt can help make gripping easier), giving them the chance to recover independently instead of picking them up after swims. You’ll still be with them every step of the way, but you’ll slowly let them get comfortable swimming without you by their side.
Tip 4: Build skills slowly
Learning to swim properly can take years to fully accomplish! Most swim instructors tend to cram as many skills as they can into lessons, but our advice is to take things slowly and build one skill at a time. Follow the learning progressions of water familiarisation, breath control, submersion, floating, kicking, paddling and breathing, with water safety skills underpinning the entire learning process. Parents should also model safe swimming behaviours and teach children to read and follow basic pool rules.
Tip 5: Make it fun!
Last but definitely not least, have a blast! Swimming together with your child is a great way to bond and give them your undivided attention. Once your child picks up the basics, you can even throw in some pool-related games like a race to the finish line or water polo to ramp up the action. And be prepared for some long afternoons in the pool – once a kid loves swimming, they reeeeeally love swimming!
This post is sponsored by Nexus International School.