At Rackley Swimming, we all want the best start for your child. Here are some easy tips to follow, to help make their first Learn to Swim experience a positive one. Children need a circle of security to guide them through any new experience. They may not show it, but those little butterflies can be there and become overwhelming.
- The night before: Allocate time to pack the swimming bag. Include your child in the process of packing their bag in preparation for the class. Togs and towels are essential. A rash shirt and goggles are not mandatory. However, if your child is used to wearing them, don’t change the plan. Any swim aids like floaties, floatation jackets or backpacks, are not required. Please leave them at home.
- “Slow down world – I can’t keep up”. Arrive early. Rushing into the pool as the lesson is about to start is difficult for a child to process. It can take a while for them to settle into the change of environment. It is also stressful for you. Arriving at the pool must be a calm experience. If it is difficult to arrive at the scheduled lesson time, discuss alternative times with the Rackley Customer Service Team. We are here to help.
- Toilet your child before the lesson. Getting in and out of the pool during lesson time can be disruptive for your child and for others in the class. Vital activities and skills may be missed too.
- Talk to your child positively about previous achievements your child experienced with something new. Even if it was only going into the building and meeting new people. Avoid saying “…you don’t have to…” Rather “…well let’s talk to the teacher about it. I will go with you….”
- Avoid eating immediately before the lesson. A small snack is fine if your child is hungry. However, a large amount of food won’t turn into energy for the lesson, in fact it has the opposite effect and can make the child extremely uncomfortable. Also avoid dairy products and bananas before exercise as these take a little longer to digest. This is a great swim safety tip and can ensure your child is ready to start their lessons without feeling sick.
- Build confidence in your child. We celebrate small successes. A child sitting on the edge of the pool with you nearby can be a huge milestone. Support from a distance. Smiling and waving are simple positive techniques to build confidence. Your facial expressions speak volumes to your child.
- Stay close by and gradually create distance. Your child needs to know you are nearby until they gain trust in their environment and build a relationship with the teacher. Often this is after the first lesson.
- After swimming. Take time to allow your child to dress themselves. Not only is it a self-esteem builder, but this simple skill will also improve with speed and accuracy the more it is practised. Ever seen a child say “I did it all myself” only to find the shirt is on inside out and back to front, and the shoes on the wrong feet. Who cares?? The effort was the journey. The destination is not the point.
- Hydrate and eat. Swimming uses a lot of energy. Moving through water is 60% denser than air. That is why it is so beneficial to muscle development and overall health. Initially your child will be tired too.
- Talk to the pool deck team leader about the skills your child needs to achieve to assist with their progress. Then practise them. Even without a pool many of the rhythmic skills can be practised at home. The parent portal will show your child’s current achievements and the skill pathway for graduation.
We understand parents are on this swimming journey with their child. As your child grows and learns new skills, the Rackley Team is here to support and guide you. Just ask us! We love that you love swimming lessons for kids and know you will meet so many new people and make great friends through the swimming connection.