Starting your child’s engagement in water from the earliest possible age can help develop important bonding, water skills, safety awareness and access to health benefits such as increased brain function, improved coordination and immune system function.
Choose the right swim school and your child has potential to become a confident, water-loving little fish.
Research and be prepared to travel for the right swim school.
Go and observe classes of your child’s age group to see how it feels.
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Here’s a few suggestions to consider:
- Does the swim school have a philosophy that resonates with you?
- Are classes age and skill appropriate for your child? e.g. Large variations in age and ability in the same class are not ideal.
- Look for consistency with teachers and progressive lesson content each week.
- Parents make best teachers of their babies providing there is a high level of guidance and support. It is important to develop proficient technique, understanding baby’s body language and adapting skills when upset, not ready or not capable.
- Teacher qualities to look for include being nurturing and joyful with excellent training and experience. The capacity to understand and respond positively to challenges arising in the water is paramount.
- Programs focusing on well-being and happiness through “play is learning, and learning is play” produce the best outcomes, rather than being achievement driven.
- Submersion must be based on careful preparation, individual readiness and good technique and, it shouldn’t be stressful.
- When children transfer to independent classes, ideally this should be assessed on emotional and physical readiness, rather than age.
- Ideal water temp for baby’s comfort and optimum learning is 33-34°C.
- Water quality should be of the highest standard.
- Noise and distractions in the pool including aerobics and other lessons, can overwhelm babies and compromise focus and learning.
During three decades of training parents to teach their babies to swim, I have witnessed physical, emotional and social benefits to children and a positive flow on effect to immediate and extended family and wider community.
Oceanic Waterbabies provides a specialised program in a positive, nurturing environment with great outcomes all round.
For more information call 9498 7700 or go to www.waterbabies.com.au