When summer arrives, Australians love to head outdoors. Whether you have your own swimming pool or you’re thinking about heading to the beach or another local watering hole, the earlier you teach your child to swim, the easier it is for them to learn and be safe.
Babies have natural reflexes that make them appear to be born swimmers. Baby swimming lessons teach infants to become more confident and safe in the water. With toddler swimming lessons, children learn to be water smart and develop their swimming techniques.
Drownings are amongst the leading causes of accidental deaths in children. So, teaching your child to swim and be water safe is critical. This article covers:
- The benefits of early years swimming
- How to prepare your newborn for swimming lessons
- What toddler swimming lessons teach
- Swimming safety messages for adults and children.
The benefits of early years swimming classes for kids
The benefits of learning to swim from an early age are numerous. Recent studies in Australia show swimming helps children develop gross motor skills. It also boosts a child’s confidence with water play and provides an excellent way to improve physical and mental well being.
Teaching your child to swim improves their:
- Social behaviour
- Social interaction
- Coping mechanisms
- Water safety.
Swimming classes for kids also have social benefits. As they get older, your children will receive invitations to poolside birthday parties and swimming play dates with friends. Give your child the confidence for swimming from an early age, and they’ll be healthier, happier and safer for it.
How to prepare for baby swimming lessons
Discover more about the way your child learns by teaching them to swim. Baby swimming lessons build positive parenting methods useful for in or outside of the pool.
Do you know how old your baby should be before they learn to swim?
The World Wide Swim School website developed by Laurie Lawrence advises teaching your child from 4 months of age.
Baby swimming lessons builds a strong bond between you and your child. They learn to move independently more sooner than they would on land. As your child explores the water, their confidence builds, and every time you catch your child when they jump in the pool, the trust between you grows.
Before you begin baby swimming lessons, prepare your baby with bath time exercises. Baby bath conditioning teaches your child to hold their breath with trigger words, become comfortable with you holding them in the bathtub and helps them familiarise with the water.
How toddler swimming lessons benefit your child
Preschool and toddler swimming lessons introduce your child to the fun of swimming. They’ll learn different swimming techniques and develop an awareness of the dangers associated with swimming.
Depending on the swimming school, early learning swimmers experience:
- How to blow bubbles in the water
- How to float on their back and front
- Kicking and paddling with the aid of a board
- How to call for help
- How to swim unaided for a few metres
- How to get in and out of the pool
- Pool safety and etiquette.
Other benefits for toddler swimming lessons include:
- Moving and exercising in the water to burn up excess energy
- Socialising by having fun and learning with other children their age
- Improving their communication skills by listening to and following instructions carefully
- Building confidence with each lesson
- Creating happy experiences.
Another huge benefit is learning how to persevere. Children are not born swimmers, so swimming is a skill they’ll learn. And some children will have to work hard to learn how to swim and be brave to move past any obstacles like the fear of getting their face wet.
Many Australian swim schools have different swimming levels for children to achieve. Once your child can confidently demonstrate the skills and abilities for that level, they receive a certificate and move up to the next class.
How to teach a toddler to swim
Do you prefer to jump into the pool with your toddlers instead of paying for lessons? Some parents do both. You should always be close by your little swimmer, no matter which method you choose. Parent supervision at all times is a critical safety practice.
- Teach them about water safety first.
- Then, set up a couple of developmentally appropriate learning activities and let them choose the ones they want to experience. Like:
- Learning to kick by holding the edge of the pool.
- Seeing who can place their face in the water first.
- Feeling the experience of floating in the water on their back and tummy.
- Showing them how to use a kickboard.
- Swimming a metre or two from the ledge to you.
The lessons you set up will depend on your child’s skill level. Ask a professional swim instructor for advice if you decide to teach your children to swim at home.
Always provide positive feedback to your child. Positive reinforcement helps a child to relax and have fun. Your child doesn’t need to achieve a new skill to hear praise for their interest and participation. Positive feedback helps your child to learn to swim and grow in confidence.
Safety first before kids swimming
When you teach your children to swim, first show them how to become more water-wise. Learning about water safety from a young age is essential to prevent accidental drowning.
And it’s not all about the swimming pool. Water safety lessons count when fishing or playing along the beach or the river bank, for water-themed activities or play parks, for participating in a myriad of water sports like canoeing.
Swimming safety doesn’t just focus on your child. You too may need to learn swimming safety alongside your child, especially if you have a pool. Teaching your child to swim is the third step in the Kids Alive Do The Five community program to prevent children from drowning.
With water-safety comes many happy memories in the pool or at the seaside for both you and your children.
Explore fun children’s water activities at Petit Early Learning Journey
Do your children love to play with water? At Petit ELJ, we provide children with fun, water-based activities. Our children like to splash about in puddles and spray water on themselves on a hot summer day.
We believe in nurturing the human spirit of each child, so they feel loved, important and unique. And as Educators, we enjoy our responsibility in helping your child become confident learners. Join us for a free tour of your closest Petit Early Learning Journey centre.