Swimming lessons are fun but can sometimes be a challenge for children and parents alike. For kids, the prospect of leaving their parent and spending time in a swim class — with an instructor and other children they may not know well — can be intimidating. This may be compounded by a fear of water or hesitancy about swimming.
For parents, concerns may be distinct: general concern about their children’s well-being, anxiety about their children’s emotional state, or concerns related to the health and safety measures required due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
However, swim lessons can be a rewarding activity for countless children. Here are five ways to ensure children stay safe and happy while at swim classes.
1. Practice Pool-Side Safety
Safety begins even before your child gets into the pool. As part of outlining your expectations at the pool, and giving your child a sense of what to expect, emphasizing pool-side safety is of paramount importance. This means walking — not running — carefully alongside the pool. It also means following their parents and instructors’ directions around the pool area, in terms of when to get into and out of the pool, and any other rules that may be associated with the swim class.
In general, it means emphasizing listening and being attentive while in or around the pool.
2. Be Deliberate at the Start of the Lesson
Safety is especially essential at the start of swim classes, as you work with the instructor to hand over your child and ensure a safe start to the lesson.
At the start of your swim lesson, your instructor should always be in the pool first. If your child is on the younger side, you should lead him or her by the hand to the pool’s steps for a safe hand-off to the instructor. If your child is older, he or she can perform this independently, but you should be clear in your directions, and should effectively coordinate with the instructor.
Oftentimes, our little swimmers are very excited to start their class, and they might want to jump in the water right away. If that is the case, it is important to ask them to sit tight and wait until the instructor gives out the signal that the class is about to start.
3. Start Swim Lessons by Laying Out Guidelines
Instructors should begin swim classes by being deliberate about guidelines, rules, and general best practices while in and around the pool area. One of the most effective ways to do this is to direct students to sit on the pool steps after entering the pool. Safety rules should then be clearly and calmly explained, a step that is especially necessary when meeting a new swimmer for the first time.
4. Be Prepared for the Next Class
Overlap between swim classes is a time to be especially attentive, for students and parents in both classes. Students in the first class should understand that they must wait for their instructor’s signal to exit the pool and meet their parents. A proper procedure that defines the signal for the end of the class and identifies the proper way and location to exit the pool is important, and children should know what to expect at this phase of their lesson.
Students in the incoming class should understand that they are to wait for the instructor to finish with the first class before entering the pool. For everyone’s safety, the instructor can only focus on one student — or one class — at a time. Parents of children in the second class should be especially aware during this period. Because the instructor is occupied, their children’s’ safety is entirely their responsibility. They should refrain from using phones or engaging in other distractions, and should be focused and supportive of their children.
Once the instructor has finished their first class, and invited the students from the second class to begin their lesson, guidelines should be laid out again.
5. Be Attentive to all COVID-19 Protocols
In these unprecedented times, understanding rules and regulations around COVID-19 is essential. Students and parents waiting to swim should maintain social distancing and wear masks as recommended by the swim environment. Parents should remind children of the need to be safe and responsible with other children and parents in light of COVID-19.
Instructors may want to meet with parents to discuss specific regulations and guidelines regarding COVID-19.
Start Swimming Today!
The joy of swimming is for children and parents alike. The Aqua Life Swim Academy teaches swim lessons in Ottawa, year-round, for individuals of all ages. Contact us today to get your children – and you – in the water and start learning today!