As the summer break approaches, many parents are excited to enroll their children into classes for enrichment activities, but this isn't always exciting for their children, especially after two years of doing activities only within the home. The process of learning and starting something new can be a daunting endeavor for our little ones and that includes their first swimming lesson.
Here are 5 ways you can mentally prepare your child for their first swim lesson:
1) Explain to them what will happen in class and how it's going to go. To do this, you may speak with the assigned teacher and have a general idea on the agenda for their first session based on their evaluation of your child's age, skill level, needs, and goals.
Once you get an idea of how the class will go on the first day, you can describe these activities to your child and get them to understand that there is nothing to be scared of and more to be excited about. Showing them videos of other kids playing in the water can also get them excited about swimming as well. Having an idea of what’s going to happen will condition them to expect things as they happen in the class.
2) Take the pressure off. Of course parents who enroll their children into any class would have goals in mind to achieve for their children; but at least on the first few sessions, make it a fun and pleasurable experience for them so they can come back for more.
On the first few sessions, take away expectations and encourage them to have fun in the water as they get acquainted not only with their teacher, but also being in the water in general. We can’t expect our kids to stick to these classes if they don’t feel comfortable from the very start. Make it about the fun first — the technique will come later.
3) Introduce them to the possibility of initial failure and frustration. As the saying goes, every master was once an amateur, and with being an amateur comes a lot of failure and frustration. It is your job as their protector and guide to prepare them mentally that failure is a normal part of life and that everyone goes through it.
This is actually a very essential part of character building for our children and it teaches them to work hard and have humility when it comes to trying again and asking for help when necessary. Encourage them by letting them know that their teachers are there to help them get better. Have an open conversation with them about the possibility of things not going their way and how they should respond should it happen to them. Assure them that practice makes them better and that you will always have their back even when they fail.
4) Stick with the program. No parent wants to see their children experience difficulty in anything. Be aware that all children have different skill levels and don’t be frustrated as well if your child/children don’t perform as well as other kids do. That being said, even if at first your child experiences difficulty in the classes, trust the process and stick to the program.
This may not always be a comfortable sight to see as a parent but it is an essential part of learning and life in general. This teaches our children to work hard and have discipline and is applicable not only to swimming but in all areas of life. As a parent, it is your job to support your children to see it through until they get to their desired goals.
5) Get Excited! It is a fun and exciting journey ahead for you and your child. There is a lot to look forward to as you, your child, and their teacher strive to get to your set goals. It is also an opportunity to see them improve and learn more about them through swimming. Swim classes provide opportunities to not only learn swimming, but more importantly, character building and bonding opportunities as well.
As we get excited about these things, we also set the tone for them as well. If parents are anxious, the children will get anxious as well. So let us be conscious also of how we project our excitement and anxieties to them.
On this note, fun swimming gear would be helpful and beneficial to their swimming journey. There are a lot of different play, teaching tools and equipment available that teachers can use to incorporate learning through play— something we at The Noodies feel strongly about. Having proper gear and tools will surely help in safety and add fun to their swim classes.
If you’re curious about our swim gear recommendations, you may check out our collaboration with Decathlon-Pasig and see our hand-picked items for you and your little ones as they begin their swim journey. :) Click HERE for more info on our SWIM PACKS.
Swim lessons are an investment to your child’s safety now and in the future. If you decide on enrolling this summer, we hope you can find something here that can help you prepare them for it. Happy splashing!