As parents, we all want the best for our children. From the moment they take their first steps, we're there to guide them through life's adventures and learning to swim is one skill that most of us would love our kids to master.
Children can start swimming lessons as young as 6 months old, or some parents choose to wait until their child is school age or older. Either way, getting the hang of swimming is like putting together a whole toolkit of skills and each child will progress at their own pace.
Am I asking too much?
It’s easy to expect a lot from your child after they’ve started their swimming lessons – you’re paying a lot of money and it’s quite an effort to get your child ready and changed in time!
But keep in mind that little swimmers might need some extra time to nail down certain moves because their bodies are still growing and even older learners may still be held back by lack of water confidence. If someone isn't totally confident in the water, it's normal for them to take more time to get comfortable in the beginning stages of swimming lessons.
The benefits of swimming lessons:
Even if your child's progress seems more like a leisurely stroll rather than a marathon sprint, rest assured that there are lots of benefits to swimming lessons:
- Water confidence: Feeling comfortable in water is a great skill to have and an excellent beginning to mastering swimming. Even just splashing about and having some fun in the water is a great starting point; blowing bubbles, kicking and leaping into the water.
- Exercise: Swimming is a great form of exercise and even if little ones are just splashing about in the water, this often is enough to tire them out ready for a great sleep afterwards (and a chance for your to put your feet up!).
- Social interaction: In group swimming lessons, your child gets the opportunity to mingle, make new friends, and practice teamwork in a fun environment.
- Water safety: Swimming lessons provide a solid introduction to water safety, and even if your child hasn't quite mastered swimming yet, you might find yourself a tad less anxious when you step by a pool on holiday.
- Accomplishment: As kids start picking up new skills, they feeling great about themselves and get a self-esteem boost! (For some children this might just mean getting super comfy with jumping into the water without a second thought).
Ultimately the focus of swimming lessons should be about enjoying time in the water and feeling confident, safe and comfortable. While some children might grasp swimming techniques quickly, others may take more time to build up their skills and be able to swim independently.
Try and celebrate the journey, focus on gradual improvement, and appreciate the lifelong skills that you're giving your little ones.
Top tip: Keep in mind that learning to swim isn't just about having ‘proper’ swimming lessons. You could mix it up a bit by doing a term of lessons, followed by a term of family swim time every week (which is also a wallet-friendly move!).