Post-Lesson Tips & Instructions

Your child has just completed an intensive course in learning how to swim. However, it is important to note that the end of these lessons is not the end of their instruction for the year. On the contrary, this is just the beginning. As their parent, it is your responsibility to follow through with regular and consistent practice as prescribed below to see them progress as a swimmer. Confidence is the foundation to your child’s success in these lessons. Right now, your child is willing to come to the pool and swim. The instructor has worked diligently to instill this confidence in your swimmer, but it can only be maintained by actively following these post-lesson instructions. If you do not go to the pool to practice regularly as prescribed, your child’s confidence may drop, and they may then be unwilling to swim. Viewing these lessons as the end-all of swimming instruction will only cause your child to regress and be a waste of your child’s hard work and your money.

What to do:

  • Take your child swimming each and every day for the first 10 days after the last lesson.
    This allows them to “continue” their lessons; only now with mom and dad instead of the instructor. After the first 10 days, practice at least on a weekly basis. In the fall and winter, get in at least once a month to practice.
  • Practice 10 - 20 minutes each time you visit the pool; do not tell your child it is practice, just go to the pool, get in and start working with them.
  • Duplicate with your child what you have seen the instructor doing during the last few days of the lessons. This usually involves keeping their head down and kicking with a straight-leg flutter kick, big circle pulls, swimming to the wall, swimming to the steps, etc.
  • Start swimming with a space of 6’ to 8’ between you and your child. Do not back away from your child as they swim to you, but increase the distance as their ability increases.
  • Use all areas of the pool and stay in water that your child cannot stand in so they are not tempted to put their feet down. Swimming with you in deep water enables your child to build and maintain confidence to swim anywhere in the pool, which is very important for their safety.
  • Practice jumping out and away from the wall and then swimming back to the wall. Tell your child that this is what to do if they ever fall in the pool.
  • Be patient with your child. Making progress in swimming skills takes time and many repetitions. Do not try to change or improve your child’s skills all at once. Consistent practice will be their best path toward improvement.
  • Give your child plenty of encouragement and positive affirmation ... it can go a long way. Have Fun!

Needless to say, help when necessary, but BE CALM. Don’t panic! Be reassuring at all costs. When new swimmers first swim from a parent to the side, they may make a U-turn back to the parent. In spite of the desire to pick-up/rescue the swimmer, instead, REDIRECT the child back to the ORIGINAL DESTINATION. This is done by using your hand to turn them while they are still underwater until they have reached the safety of the steps or side. They will not remember the redirection, but they will remember a rescue. In an accident, (i.e., the child falls into a pool under no supervision) the most important factor is the immediate reaction. This reaction must be for survival, not waiting for Mom or Dad.

What not to do:

  • Do not use the pool as a sandbox. Never put your beginning swimmer on the step, in a jacuzzi or a wading pool to play. Once your child has learned to swim, this will cause regression because they do not need to swim in areas where they can easily put their feet down and head up.

    NOTE: After practicing, a little time to hang out on the step is fine, but make sure it is a small percentage of their time spent in the pool.
  • Do not use floatable water toys such as kickboards, noodles, inner tubes, arm floaties or life jackets (unless on board a boat). When your child has gained more confidence and experience in a year or two, you may introduce some of these items (i.e. noodles) as toys, but do not allow them to be used as a crutch. If your swimmer begins to depend on a toy, it is too early to introduce it.
  • Do not use goggles for the same reason. Only introduce goggles to an older, confident and experienced swimmer so that they do not become “goggle dependent”, which can be dangerous.

    NOTE: Any toy that sinks is good to play with. (Toypedo’s, diving rings, etc.) Your swimmer will need to use their skills to play with these toys and, therefore will add, not detract from their skills.

Questions:

Breathing
If your child does not take a breath, do not worry. It is much better for a beginner to swim slowly and easily and get across the pool than to struggle in the water to take a breath before they are ready. Many children do not learn to breathe until a second or even third year of swimming. You will be amazed at how long your child can hold their breath effortlessly as they improve their skill over time. If your child was not taught to take a breath, it is because the instructor felt that this was best for your swimmer. Do not compare your child’s skills to another child’s skills. All children learn at their own pace.

Big Circles vs Freestyle arms
We teach beginning swimmers to do “Big Circles” before Freestyle arms because it is a much better foundation for good swimming technique. Big circles are balanced, easier to accomplish, and make learning to breathe easier. Teaching Freestyle first usually ends in frustration for the beginner swimmer and poor body positioning that makes swimming a struggle, rather than fun.

Repeat Lessons
We do not offer repeat lessons in the same year because the skills that are introduced to a child in any lesson session are more than enough to practice for the rest of that year. We would rather see a swimmer master a few basic skills that will serve them well than to be confused by being pushed beyond their developmental abilities. We are also wary of swimmers becoming “instructor dependent.” Instead, we would like to see each family enjoy the pool together through regular and consistent practice.

“Pool Safe?” No such thing!

Always supervise your swimmers. Never allow a child to have access to a pool unattended. Even experienced swimmers can get into trouble by misjudging their surroundings. Do not assume a good swimmer has good sense and won’t goof around. Help your child be aware of potential hazards wherever you swim.

Have fun, but be vigilant.