“I can’t wait for my swimming lesson Mom (or Dad)!”
How many times have you heard this? A few I bet. Swimming lessons are such an exciting time for children. The thought of splashing around in the water and letting loose fills them with incredible joy. However, we know that every child is different, and some will feel quite nervous and daunted about their very first lesson, and that’s OK - and completely normal too.
With that in mind, we’d love to share our guide on how to get you and your child prepared for their first lesson. We hope it will ease you into what will be an exciting and rewarding learning journey for you both.
1. Before the swimming lesson
Most importantly, you know your child better than anyone else, so you’ll recognise if they’re ‘super excited’ about their upcoming lesson or ‘a little daunted’ by the whole idea. Based on this, the time at which you mention their swimming lessons may vary.
If your child can’t wait for their lesson, then that’s a great opportunity for you to start preparing early for their lessons together by talking about buying new swimwear or picking out a special towel or flip flops – exciting times!
On the other hand, if know your little one is anxious about the swimming lesson and putting their face in the water, perhaps mention the lesson just a day before, so that they don’t spend time worrying too much. Let them know that even though this will be new, it’ll also be lots of FUN.
2. The day has finally arrived
From experience, we recommend not feeding your child for 1.5-2 hours before their class is scheduled to begin. Whole fruits with skins and milk-based products, in particular, are not recommended as they’re not easily digested and can be brought back up with just a strong burp. Your child may eat as normal after their lesson.
Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the start time of the lesson. Allow plenty of time to get your child changed and to go to the toilet etc. Once at poolside never let your child into the pool (even if they’re a strong swimmer) unless the coach calls them and is ready for them. The lesson time begins at your scheduled time and if you arrive late, we can only give you the remainder of your lesson time.
3. What to bring:
A swimsuit for girls and swimming shorts for boys is perfect. Try to avoid costumes with long arms and legs. These types of outfits are great for wearing at the beach to protect your child from the sun’s powerful UV rays, but in a swimming pool, these costumes can actually make them feel cold – which is something we want to avoid.
Gone are the days of plain boring towels. Today, there’s a whole array of bright and fun themed towels to choose from. A poncho style with a hood is a nice way to keep extra warm after lessons.
Wearing flip flops poolside are great for giving a better grip on wet surfaces as well as protecting feet from any bacteria. There are so many fun designs available so picking out flip flops with your child before lessons is a fun way to build excitement and get prepared.
An extra bag for wet clothes sounds very simple, so bring one – you won’t regret it.
We’ll supply you with the first swimming cap that your child will need to wear in all lessons. Take a look at our online shop for other products and our T&Cs for more information on our uniform.
Wearing swimming goggles is very beneficial especially as skill levels increase, but for all our beginners we start off by teaching without them. Its crucial children can get used to the feeling of their face in the water without goggles. Once the children are comfortable with their face in the water and holding their breath, we can start to introduce them to goggles. Letting your child pick their own goggles is always lots of fun and gives them a sense of ownership.
We’ll supply your child with an easy to use water bottle when they join us. As every swimmer receives a branded bottle, it would be great if you write your child's name on the bottle. You can use a Sharpie or maybe use some stickers (like some use to mark their children's school items).
Staying hydrated during lessons is really important so we encourage them to bring the bottle with them to every lesson. Even though they’ll be having fun, they’ll be working hard too and they might sweat. It’s so important to us that we not only deliver safe and fun swimming lessons, but that we also educate children about the importance of healthy habits early on and this includes staying hydrated.
Children usually feel hungry after their lessons, and definitely, are more tired. During their lessons they’ve not only been working hard physically but also mentally, learning new concepts and skills. This all leads to a very hungry child post-lesson so choosing a healthy snack to keep up their spirits and energy levels until they reach home for a full meal is a great idea. A piece of fruit, plain sandwich, smoothie or crackers are just some suggestions to help keep the children happy.
4. What to expect:
Your child’s very first swimming lesson is such an important one and will most likely stay with them forever, so it’s crucial to make it a positive experience. Our classes are very small with only four children in the beginner lessons. Our experienced swimming coaches are also in the water with the children, and our coaches will be at the same level as the kids, which will help your little one feel more supported and comfortable, as well as giving them the attention they need.
Our friendly coaches understand the needs and doubts of each swimmer. They’ll be able to tell when a child is apprehensive about an activity and they’ll encourage and reassure them. Our coaches have many activities up their sleeves, so if one approach doesn’t work, they’ll try something else to engage your child.
Children will look for Mom/Dad approval, support and encouragement, so every time your child looks at you please smile at them and show a thumbs up or clap your hands to show how happy and proud you are of them. These small actions will make a big positive difference to their progress and happiness in the pool. Use the 30-minute lesson as an opportunity to get away from your mobile and give your child the encouragement they’re looking for. We can guarantee that after their lessons, they’ll ask “Mom/Dad, did you see me kick my legs?” so you’ll need to be ready for them.
5. After the swimming lesson
Congratulations! Your child has just completed their first swimming lesson. This is a very special and memorable time, so after the lesson, it’s important to give your child lots of positive feedback and encouragement. This will really build their confidence and ensure they have a positive association with swimming lessons in the future. Remember YOU are your child’s number one cheerleader!
Try to give specific examples, such as “You did a great job of getting onto your back, and your arms and legs were so long!” or “I saw you holding onto the wall all by yourself!” This will show your child how proud you are and will reinforce the concepts they’re learning.
If your child is still nervous during or after a lesson and says that they don’t want to continue, try and not battle with them (as children usually win anyway). Instead, don’t give too much attention to the negative talk and move onto another subject. But please continue with the lessons. As the child gets more familiar with surroundings, and their coaches, they will feel more and more comfortable as time goes on.
Don’t forget fun and games are essential for learning and learning doesn’t stop after the lesson does. At the end of the lesson, our coaches will give your child homework as this is essential to their progress. Supporting your child with this work will really help them to achieve results more quickly – it’s a win-win for everyone!
We’d love to know, what tips you found the most useful and do you have any special tips of your own that you’d like to share?