Swimming advice for parents I The Beach Company
The Beach Company want all those learning to swim to enjoy the freedom, fun and exhilaration of the water with unconditional trust in their goggles, equipment and swimwear.
State swimming coach Raj Sakunde answers the most common questions asked by parents when starting swimming lessons for their children.
What age should my child start swimming?
We feel parents should introduce children to swimming as early as possible to promote water confidence, fun and well being. There are no strict ages as to when your child should actually start to swim, though we wouldn't recommend introducing a baby to swimming or the pool environment before they have had their first set of injections. It can be a daunting experience for babies (and parents too!) the first time they are in a swimming pool, the first time they smell chlorine, and the first time they will see Mummy in a swim suit! The earlier children can learn that the water is a fun environment, the sooner they can enjoy the swimming experience. We also advise parents not to leave it too long, as learning later in life can sometimes be a harder development process.
Does my child need swimming goggles?
Swimming goggles are an essential piece of equipment for any child who is learning to swim or who just wants to have fun in the water. When children are learning to swim, it is important that they are as comfortable and relaxed as possible, being able to see clearly underwater will not only give children confidence as they learn, but will allow them to stay in the water longer. For a child that is fearful of the water, not being able to see clearly underwater can compound the problem. Wearing goggles for the first time can be a strange sensation for young children, we often advise parents to give goggles to their children in the bath or shower to get used to the feeling.
They have never swum before, do they need armbands?
The use of a floatation device is extremely important and supportive for children swimming for the first time, no matter their age. This is in addition to support from an adult. However, we also recommend a floatation device, whether it be Float bands, Roll ups, a Zoodle or a Floatsuit. The most important thing to remember is that the adult must hold onto the child or child’s hands at all times as the child learns to swim. Only once the child gains confidence in the water should the adult either deflate the floatation device or allow the child to swim with less support or even unaided (and only for short periods in the first instance).
What else do they need?
If you are swimming with your baby for the first time, you’ll need waterproof nappies, a towel, and a swim suit for yourself! You may also consider some little squirts, or super soakers to keep your baby occupied whilst you get ready or in the pool. Depending on your confidence and the baby’s ability we recommend the trainer seat as the best product for first timers! Don’t forget a bag for wet swimsuits and towels!
Is there anything I can practice at home with my child?
There are plenty of things you can practice at home, and the best place for most of these is in the bath! Encourage your child to blow toys across the surface of the water, and then with their chin under the water to blow bubbles under the water even blowing bubbles through a straw can help! It sometimes a good idea to try goggles on for the first time in the bath or shower to get used to the sensation, and seeing the effect of wearing goggles underwater. Remember games are a great way for children to learn and practice.
Please remember that floatation devices do not replace the need for parental supervision.