Learning to swim is a significant childhood rite of passage. Like starting school, learning to read, learning to ride a bike and our first overnight trip without our parents. Learning to swim is one of those essential life skills that as adults, we give very little thought.
If you learned to swim as a child, you might not have thought about the actual process of learning since. You might swim regularly, but it’s just something that you know how to do.
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Then, when we have our own children, our thoughts might turn to the appropriate timelines.
You see, swimming isn’t like starting school, there’s no set age at which it happens for every child. Some parents chose to take their children to the pool very early when they are only a few weeks old, but formal lessons often start a little later.
So, how do you know when it’s the right time to look to Tanya’s Tadpoles for your Child’s first swimming lessons.
It’s Never Too Soon
It’s never too soon to spend time in the pool with your child. Some parents choose to wait until their child has had their immunisations, and others find it easier, and more comfortable to go to the pool together once their baby is a little stronger and able to hold their head up and support themselves well. But you really could go swimming for the first time as soon as you’d like.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’ll be swimming straight away. But, every time you are in the water, they are learning and developing skills.
Learn Through Fun
Older children might learn well through formal coaching and clubs. But, this doesn’t often work with much younger children.
The first year of school focuses on learning through play, and their earlier swimming lessons should be the same. Have fun with them in the water. Encourage them to stretch and reach out, pushing their bodies, through games and songs.
Choose the Right Aid
There are plenty of swim aids out there, from rings to armbands and pool noodles. Your child might prefer floats or a back float. Try things out to see how they feel comfortable.
It’s never too early for your child to start learning, but that doesn’t mean that you should add pressure. Don’t expect them to be winning awards, or hitting distance milestones. Don’t expect anything at all. Don’t try to rush them, let them learn in their own time.
In their early years, your priority should be in helping them to gain confidence in the water. Even from a very early age, having confidence will help them when they do learn to swim.
Realistically, there is no right or wrong time, and it very much depends on your child, and how they like to learn. A water confident child that’s always been in the pool might be ready for proper coaching from a very young age. A child who has never been in the water, however, might be more comfortable with a class in which their parents are allowed in the water with them. You know your child, and on this one, there’s no right answer.
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