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BENEFIT OF BABY SWIMMING

‘A SAFE CHILD IS A SUPERVISED CHILD’

BABY & TODDLER CLASSES

The S.O.S. Swim School Baby and Toddler programmes are an opportunity for mum – (or Dad!) and child to participate together, in a warm, nurturing learning environment.  The class incorporates songs and games while introducing the child to the basic skills necessary for a strong swimming foundation. Babies have a real affinity with water and can be taken into the water as soon as the mother feels able.
  It’s never too early for your baby to learn to swim. Early lessons lay the foundations for lifelong enjoyment of the water. 

BENEFITS OF INFANT AQUATICS

Socialisation
Taking turns
Following directions
Water safety habits and comfort
Separation from parents
Builds self esteem and confidence
Develops motor skills
Communication skills
Independence
 
SAFETY FIRST, LAST AND ALWAYS

Children need to learn and develop safe habits around the pool area and any body of water.  Teach your child not to run around the pool area or throw objects into the pool.  Refrain from allowing you child from playing on the pool steps or pool walls.  As adults it is our responsibility to supervise at all times as the only safe child is a supervised child.  No matter how advanced your child’s swimming skills are, you must be aware children of this age are not responsible, they do not have the skills to discern danger and it is our responsibility to protect them from dangerous environments such as the water.  Never use swimming lessons as a short cut to safety. 

Group Praise

Give encouragement.  Group response serves as a reinforcement and helps parents as well as children.  It makes them feel as if they have done great things (after all, so many can’t be wrong).  Your child will see the fun and excitement of others around them.  So praise each child proudly.  You have a responsibility to the other babies as well as your own. 

Be Flexible

Let your baby be your guide.  Try to work with your child, not against him or her.  Ease into a new task rather than forcing them.  Encourage your child to try each task. 

Be Gentle

Use slow movements.  Always be ready to cuddle. Watch baby’s face - they are closer to the water than you. If you become distracted your baby’s face may fall below the water. By watching his face at all times you are also aware of baby’s reactions to the lesson and can respond quickly. Don’t ask the child if they want to do something.  Instead use a calm friendly voice to inform them of what the next activity will be.  Don’t hesitate – it causes confusion and makes the child unsure of what’s going on.  Your child will establish trust when we follow through with a task.  Your teacher will discuss what comes next to eliminate any surprises.  TRUST IS A MUST. 

Keep trying and don’t give up

Parents must realise, learning to be comfortable in the water takes time and patience and cannot be achieved overnight.  However, with time and patience all children will develop a life long love of the water and have gained a gift for life. 

OUR TEACHING METHOD

Demonstrate

Your teacher will show you what to do.  Make sure you understand what the teacher is saying before you try it by yourself. 

Repetition

Do it over and over again.  You will get tired and possibly bored (this is where the patience comes in!) but for your baby’s sake make the effort.  Practicing a skill helps to reduce the fear of the unknown. 

Keep moving

Your baby becomes aware that by moving their arms and legs they will stay afloat. Movement also generates heat, if you remain still in the water or babies are held out of water, they will become cold. 

Praise

Is their reward.  Make it sincere.  You want to accentuate the positive and ignore the negative.  Let your child know you are proud of every task they attempt. 

Freedom

Children eager to learn must be given freedom.  You will have to experiment to find the best way to hold your active baby. 

Be on time for your lesson

Allow you and your child a chance to relax before hand.  Arriving late to class not only disrupts the flow of the class, but puts stress on the teacher and makes it difficult for you and your child to integrate with other parents and children. 

Come prepared

Parent and baby’s swimming costume* 3 towels – one for baby, one for parent and one for the floor of the changing room*a means of fastening back baby’s or parents hair *some milk for baby, we do not allow food in the changing rooms for health and safety reasons. *an aquanappy * nappy changing needs.*bag to take home soiled nappy, no nappies should be left at the pool or in the changing rooms.  

Don’t set goals too high for your child

It is better to re-set them from time to time in order to be more realistic for both you and your child.  Start out small, leave room for them to grow.  Never show disappointment or scold for something not done to your expectations. 

Give encouragment

Be patient and understanding, swimming is one of the hardest skills to accomplish, yet people tend to expect fantastic results with the least amount of learning time.  Give help, love and praise. 

Crying

There are different degrees, and a certain amount of crying is to be expected from time to time.  Don’t get upset, a little is okay, but a lot is not!  You and your teacher will be able to discern what is right for your child and take the appropriate steps to make the learning experience a rewarding one. 

Don’t compare children

Let them progress at a pace that is right for them.  They all have different temperaments and personalities.  Once again, with time and patience all children have the ability to swim.  However it is up to parents and teachers to access the learning style that best suits the child and not force our own expectations onto the child. 

Have fun! And S.O.S. SWIM SCHOOL looks forward to your participation in your child’s aquatic education.   


(C) Copyright  2009 Donna Graham, SOS Swim School, Colehill. All rights reserved.