Spring is in the air, and parents are beginning to think about getting their little ones registered for swim lessons. Some children are fearless when it comes to the water, but others are a little more timid. How can we prepare these more cautious youngsters for their first swim lesson experience? Here are 6 tips.
Play with water at home. The sensation of water where we don't expect it is unsettling to everyone, even adults. Children can be frightened by it at first, which is why a little advanced practice is helpful prior to starting swim lessons. Go ahead and splash in the bath, squirt each other with the garden hose, play in sprinklers.
Play with water in the community. If there's a kids' pool in your community, it's a great place to see other kids taking water play in stride. Same goes for local beaches, parks or water parks that have shallow areas for non-swimmers.
Get wet: face. This is a great opportunity for Mom and Dad to model relaxed water play. Let children watch adults a few times before they try it themselves, to help them build confidence. The bath is a great place for this, but Mom and Dad might want to use a deep pan instead.
Get wet: eyes. Go old-school when it comes to getting your children used to opening their eyes in the water. Put a few apples or other fruit in a big bowl of water and have your kids try and fish them out with their teeth.
Talk it up as an adventure. Make sure children get to hear how much fun it is to swim, and how easy it feels once it's mastered. Children are eager to learn new skills, and (believe it or not) they want to please their parents. Your pep talks will count, whether they admit it or not.
Plan a celebration. Want to make it even more appealing? Propose a family trip to a water park or other swim-friendly location once lessons are completed. Children may find it easier to stick with lessons if they know there's a treat waiting at the end.
Swim lessons are a key investment in a child's safety. For children who have a positive swim lesson experience, swimming can become a favored fitness activity or competitive sport, as well as a part of beach and lakeside vacations. It only takes a little advance preparation to get them ready for a lifetime of swimming.
If think your child is ready and would like to take up swim lessons, Merritt Clubs has partnered with the Michael Phelps Swim School for children starting at 6 months to 12 years old.