Swimming season starts EARLY in Jacksonville with children getting in the water as early as March! If you're like us and have young kids who are extremely nervous about swimming lessons and don't even like to get a drop of water in their eyes or anywhere near their face, the idea of swimming lessons can be a nightmare. My daughter becomes anxious at the mention of lessons, even months in advance. And, swimming programs can be pricey! Yet with lakes, rivers, retention ponds, pools and beaches, parents must be diligent in teaching their kids how to swim and find an affordable program that works for your family. We've teamed up with local swimming lessons company owner, Austin Rhyne with Mobile Swim School, to help guide us through this turbulent time with young kids who can't yet swim. Mobile Swim School has put together 5 ways to encourage your children to become swimmers.
1. Take Your Time
It is tempting to start swim lessons as early as possible; but it is equally important that you allow your child to come into his/her own with the water. Consistently introduce the opportunity to swim but try not to push your child. We want to build a healthy, long-term relationship with swimming and that takes time!
2. Know Your Swimmer
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone; and you can use that expertise to help your child in the water. What are your child's strengths and how can you help him/her develop those traits? What is their personality like? How do they best adapt to new environments?
3. Adapt to Their Needs
Building a healthy relationship with swimming starts with a happy foundation. Try to make swimming as inviting as possible. Bring a favorite toy or a familiar item (water appropriate!) with you to the pool/beach. If you have new pool toys/equipment, introduce those out of the water as well. You can create an environment conducive to [your child's] learning by considering the length of lesson, lesson content, style of teaching, and location of lesson.
4. Start with the Basics
It's easy to get overwhelmed when learning a new skill. Remember to take your time and only introduce new topics when your child is ready. Depending on age, start with the very basics and work slowly but steadily from there. After your child is acclimated to the water, try to work through several tasks together: sit on the steps, kick your feet, wet your hair, blow bubbles, hold your breath, hold onto the wall, kick across pool, roll over on back, dip under water.
5. Invest in a Quality Program
Hiring a swim coach/instructor is a go-to for many parents for several reasons. Coaches/instructors are the experts of swimming; many of them have competitive swimming experience and understand the mechanisms of every stroke. A coach/instructor is also able to develop a relationship with your child solely as his/her coach. Investing in a swim program also provides a structured, class-like environment where both you and child can confidently learn.
We're entering year 3 of swimming lessons as our daughter turns 5 years old and we're determined that this will be her year to finish learning how to swim and be able to save herself in the water. Wish us luck and share your swimming lesson secrets below! If you need swimming lessons, Mobile Swim School offers affordable and mobile private or group lessons! Mention Fun4FirstCoastKids.com to receive a free trial class. Find more info by clicking HERE.
Austin Rhyne is a guest blogger for Fun4FirstCoastKids.com Mobile Swim School is a partner with Fun4FirstCoastKids.com, but this has not changed our opinions in this blog.