Swimming is an essential skill for all children, helping ensure they are safe both in and around water, wherever they may be. There is no more important time to ensure your children are participating in lessons than the summer months, when they are more likely to spend time in the water whether at home in the garden, at the pool with friends, or when on holiday.
Why should my child continue to swim all year round?
Children learning to swim do not have a command of the activity and need continual practice and tuition to ensure that the correct techniques are learnt and remembered – if a child stops having lessons for any period of time, they often lose some of the skills required and seem to take a backward step during their break.
It is also important for children at the more advanced stages of swimming lessons to continue as they depend on both swimming technique and swimming fitness. Any long period out of lessons can reduce their fitness and therefore impair their ability to participate in the swimming classes when they return.
Swimming Tips for Helping Your Child Learn to Swim away from lessons
Pre School Stage 1/Stage 2
Encourage your child to gain water confidence by playing games with them in the water, using floating objects, balls and sinking objects. Help them to gain more confidence by floating in a star position on their back and front. If you are using arm bands during play in the pool encourage them to take them off for a while each day and swim with you so that they don’t become too dependant on them.
Play should be used to encourage water confidence along with some swimming practices. Encourage your child to swim 5-10 metres each day on their front and back. Swimming with an older sibling, friend or parent can make this fun.
By this stage, your child should be able to swim 10 metres confidently. Games such as jumping in and swimming to the side can be used to practice their strokes. Encourage your child to swim front crawl with their face in as well as taking a breath whilst swimming. Skills like picking objects up from the bottom of the pool can be fun and will help them practice the skills needed to pass their next award.
In this class your child should have a very good knowledge of Front crawl and Backstroke, but should also be confident when swimming breaststroke. Children should be encouraged to practice all strokes when playing on holiday so that they do not favour their favourite stroke. Children at this level will be able to jump into deep water but will still tire quickly. Children can be encouraged to practice treading water by playing ball games.
Stage 6 and above
Children at these levels have a good knowledge of all strokes and know the practices they can do. Encourage your child to swim front crawl with breathing to the side and see if they can swim further or faster than peers on holiday with them. A variety of skills have already been learnt during their swimming lessons, which can be used in play. If your child is reluctant to practice ask them to teach you the skill, you may find this will encourage them to participate.