Learning to Swim Advice – Part 2
Swimming Advice & Safety for children and adults – Part Two
by Mimi Conner
In Part One of this two part series, I talked about water safety what to look for when you’re considering enrolling your kids for swim lessons. The next step is to get your kids comfortable in the water and help them become good swimmers.
How do you overcome obstacles a child may have?
Overcoming obstacles can be quite a challenge to the swimmer and the instructor.
Water in the face: Making bath time a fun time not just something that we have to do to get clean. Bring out the toys, make the tub a mini-swimming pool.
Water in the ears: A challenge especially for the children who have had ear infections, tubes and pain.
Talk to your pediatrician to get special ear plugs so that the child can still experience the water. The longer the wait the longer the time it takes to get that child comfortable in the water. Like wearing glasses, it just takes time to get use to something different.
Goggles: Children who become dependent on goggles may not be safe swimmers. Take the goggles away and see what happens. Children should not be allowed to wear goggles till they are an advanced swimmer. What would your swimmer do if the goggles broke, took on water, forgot them, fell off? Would they be able to swim safely and with effective skills? There is always the exception, for the child who is sensitive to the chemicals in the pool, but they still need to know to swim without them. Goggles should not be allowed on a swimmer jumping or diving off a board and going down a slide.
Water Wings: These are a love hate relationship. Water wings gives a child some independence in the water and time for parents to not always be holding onto a child. Children can become too dependent on them and then it is time for swimming lessons and they do not love the water and it becomes very confusing to the child and the parent. Water Wings also keeps a child vertical and swimming is a horizontal skill. Tip: Swim without the water wings first, practice swimming skills then let the child have freedom and independence with the water wings on, before leaving the pool remove the water wings to reinforce safety and skills. This allows the child to learn safe entry, skills and safe exit to and from the pool.
How can I help my child during swim lessons
- A parent that is supportive, a cheerleader for their swimmer, and takes the swimmer to practice will have a swimmer that love the water and learns at a quicker rate than the parent that uses swimming lessons as the only swimming time a child gets.
- Like any new skill learned practice makes better, stronger and perfect.
- The children cannot do it on their own, they need parental support.
- Be happy, thumbs up and proud of your swimmer no matter how small the accomplishment is.
- No fussies- Tell your swimmer to be brave because you love them and they must learn to be safe in the water.
- All children must learn to appreciate the water-swimming lessons are a MUST.
How will I know when my kid is ready to swim by themselves in the pool ?
A child is ready to swim independently in the pool when they can jump into the water, come up and take a breath and return to safety at the wall. They also need to be able to swim the width of the pool and know all the safety rules.
On another note: When a parent is not a swimmer and uncomfortable in the water, they will pass this on to the child. Parents need to learn to swim as well.
This article is Part Two in a two part series.
Miss Mimi Conner founded, developed, managed and trained staff for Medical Center of Plano Aquatics Program. After the program’s closure 10 years later, she opened Aqua~Fit Swim and Wellness Center in January 2008. She felt there was a need in the Plano community for a comprehensive swim and wellness center for age types, with an emphasis on the family modality. Miss Mimi has over 21+ years of swimming, aquatics and instructor experience to her credit. She has a reputation of providing caring, compassionate and stellar skills in reaching and touching students lives with positive reinforcement. Parents often comment that since their children have been taking classes with Miss Mimi, they have witnessed their children “come out of their shell.”