The parent’s role in baby swim lessons
The parent’s role in baby swim lessons is a big and a multiple one, especially active and to a large extent also the most important one. The best and maximum results can be achieved in work with the youngest children up to 3 years of age, when it is vital that parents are present.
There are many reasons why it is insisted on engaging parents in baby swim lessons. Parents bring security and with their presence they make a contribution, creating a safe and secure setting for learning, fine motoric development, their own education as a parent-teacher, building a perfect parent-child relation, and making a maximal use of the time to exercise.
How important is the role of the parents for babies who come in contact with water for the first time?
These are some of the reasons:
The first experience is crucial: Parents are the first swim coaches, because at home, in the bathtub, they provide their children with the first information about the water and the pleasant
and unpleasant experiences with this medium. This is why the very beginning and the first child’s pool may actually be the small bathtub and the bathroom... The bathroom itself turns to be a place of fun, joy, stimulation and learning. Parents should ensure daily cuddling, play, and communication with water, to provide their children with water fun and make the bathroom be part of their daily routine. These early experiences in the bathtub are actually the first informal swim lessons, and the parents are the first “instructors”. My children even now, apart from the regular swimming in the sea and at the pool, love their evening bubble baths and playing in the bathtub. I still find it hard to take them out!
Respect matters: Parents’ activities and participation in the baby swim lessons is of special importance, because children learn how to respect water, and realise they are not allowed to swim without being supervised by their parents. Learning that and the experience they get in the baby swim lessons reduces the probability of your child finding herself/himself in a dangerous situation. With the respect and the experience, you make them learn naturally and gradually about the benefits and dangers water can bring, you make them learn how to be a friend with water and how to respect the water and the pool, and to know that they are still not ready to have fun with the water all by their own. Give it a try and you will see the results soon.
Safety is bigger: Baby’s safety in the water is the most important thing. In the baby swim lessons for children under three, it is of upmost importance that each child, together with his/her parent, is properly supervised and guided by an expert. For this reason, the first baby swim lessons, which don’t have one-on-on relation, can be quite upsetting and dangerous. The practice has proven, and the statistics also show, that babies and children feel safe in the water only if they have their parents with them from the very start, to give them support.
For example, the parents and children who are professionally guided from the very beginning and who attend baby swim lessons, will never have any difficulties later in regular swim lessons, while parents who try to teach their children how to swim, on their own, often come for help when they face difficulties and don’t know how to overcome them, and most often then it’s too late and they need much more time to continue with swim lessons.
The coordination is better: Children who undergo a baby swim training with the parent being present, will acquire a better coordination, become more flexible swimmers compared to those children who didn’t get that chance. Therefore, for the best results, especially of the youngest children up to three, we recommend the one-on-one approach, which is best ensured in a group with a parent present.
Here is a typical example… My children started with swimming when they were 4 months old, and through their moves in the water they started developing motor skills and muscles very early, becoming more flexible and resilient and thus were able to overcome easily other challenges outside the pool!
Stable and safe persons: The presence of the parents in the early stage of learning how to swim and in the first contact with the group of other babies and people, with the unknown and new setting, outside the comfort zone, is also a big step towards socialisation and psychological
maturity. Your child will be relaxed and safe next to you, and your calmness and good mood can produce only positive emotions related to the first contact with the water and friends.
The presence and the role of parents are the most important thing, as well as “the instructions”
you will give to your children in the baby swim lessons, and they will be acquired and learnt thanks to you. You wonder how you will be able to manage all that, to learn yourself and be a parent-instructor. Be patient, take step by step and you will improve together with your baby. What matters is that whatever you do with your baby, you should do it under the professional supervision.
Being there in the water together with your child is the most important thing!