As a swimming teacher I agree that six weeks off from swimming lessons over the summer holidays is a long time. We see babies and toddlers progress so much over a single half term, they can just as easily regress over this break. It’s really important to continue swimming with your child.
It doesn’t need to be 30 minutes of singing nursery rhymes and recreating an organised lesson (how silly would you feel singing the wheels on the bus by yourself at the local leisure centre!!). However continuing to take your child into the water, repeating simple cues such as ‘ready, steady, under’, ‘reach and hold’ and ‘safe place’ will go a long way. Reminding them of the fun they have in their lessons with a gentle focus on holds and positions will really help them transition back to lessons after the summer break.
A few good ways of helping to keep up your child’s progress would be:
Buy a woggle. If these are used in your lessons weekly it’s great to keep your child familiar with such aids so that they don’t return and have an aversion to them, which is very common with the toddler age group.
Continue with the cues your teacher uses each week, for example, using a watering can or cup, practice ‘name, ready, steady, under’. Children over 1 year should be happy to have their face submersed in this way for at least 3 seconds.
Give positive feedback after each submersion, big smiles and lots of praise. From the age of approximately 18 months we stop forced submersion’s and allow them to be far more fun, even accidental!
Incorporating a ‘dunk’ mid game or song is far more acceptable to a child that has shown an aversion to being submersed in a controlled manner.
Most importantly have fun in the water with your child. From the age of approximately 14-18 months children tend to go through a stage in swimming lessons where they don’t want to do certain things in the water. Never force your child to do something, especially if they say ‘no’.
So enjoy the freedom of swimming with your child at your own pleasure over the summer and we look forward to seeing you in September!!