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Category: Kids Learn to Swim

Online media outlet, The Fold Southern Highlands spoke to learn to swim expert Jessica Toomey about how to measure your child’s progress in the pool. 

Swimming and kids go hand in hand, and for good reason. Enrolling kids in swimming lessons has them moving, making friends and splashing around having fun.

While these are all fab reasons to keep your kids in the pool, it’s super important these lessons focus on the main purpose, learning vital safety skills.

Good quality swimming lessons should be making sure your kids are progressing and hitting the right milestones for their age or skill level. They also help your kids respect the water and gain skills to be safe while they’re in there.

Kids learn best when they’re having fun, often not realising how much they’re learning! And sometimes parents don’t understand all the learnings going on behind the scenes, or should we say, behind the splashes.

So, The Fold Southern Highlands spoke to Jessica Toomey, Aquabliss Area Manager about what to look for amidst all those splashes, when checking in on your child’s abilities in the pool and monitoring their development to make sure the swim school they attend is providing the best education for them and the most value for you.

Here’s what Jessica had to say when being interviewed by The Fold….

BABIES :: 6 to 30 months

“Because fear of water is a learned response, it’s really important that a child develops water familiarisation skills early,” says Jessica.

“This allows a bub to master other water skills faster.”

“Over time, we teach the little ones what to do if they fall into a pool. We teach them not to panic, how to turn themselves around, regain their body position and make their way back to the side of the pool or find something to hold onto.”

So, when you’re bonding in the pool with your baby [maybe for a lesson or just a dip], check to see if they are holding their breath and opening their eyes underwater.

When they are on their backs floating, see if they can recover and if they can front glide 1 metre towards you or another adult.

Also, see if they can submerge themselves aided and unaided.

If they are doing these things, then you know their lessons are on the right track.

Jessica points out that at Aquabliss, they never force a child’s head underwater or try to trick them.

“Our teachers are skilled at reading a child’s face and body language, only safely submerging a child’s head when the child, and you as the parent in the water with them, feels ready.”

Fear of water can be a real thing for babies when first learning to swim, so by not forcing them to submerge, they are building trust with their teachers and developing more confidence in the water – just what they need!

TODDLERS :: From 30 months old

Ah toddlers, don’t they just love exploring and getting into mischief?

Tooootally not stressful for the onlooking parents [yikes!] and obvs even more nerve-wracking when there’s water involved. So, it’s really important your toddler tykes are getting the most out of every swimming lesson they attend.

“Nothing beats supervision around water for minimising the risk of drowning but giving toddlers the skills to get themselves out of a situation will also help,” Jessica says.

So, what should these skills look like when they’re in the pool?

Starting out they should be able to push and glide, front and back float for around 10 seconds, paddle and kick 3m to their teacher.

They should also be able to back float, recover and paddle 3m to a platform.

Once they have the hang of these techniques, then the lessons should become more advanced. This should include mastering skills like torpedo kicking and learning basic strokes.

If you notice during lessons that your toddler is not hitting these milestones, not moving forward or achieving key water safety benchmarks, then have a chat with the swimming teacher or school to work on any challenges the child or the school is facing. 

(Added side note from Aquabliss: your go to person is the pool deck supervisor.)

KIDS :: K-6

“The K-6 age group is what I refer to as the golden years when learning to swim,” says Jessica.

“These are the age groups that make big leaps in their swimming skills and ability as they become more comfortable in the aquatic environment.”

So as your kidlets become more sure of themselves, you should start to see big jumps in their progression as they smash through those milestones.

Next time you’re at a lesson with them, pop down your phone and take some time out to see how they’re faring.

Can they float on their front and back for 10 seconds?

Are they able to board kick?

Can they float, recover and swim 3m to their teacher?

If you find they’re not achieving these things within a reasonable timeframe then it might be worth having a chat with the school.

“A good swim school will adjust your child’s lesson to suit their abilities and will probably come to you before you go to them,” Jessica points out.

“At Aquabliss we understand no two children are ever the same. We recognise that, so we have a very flexible teaching approach.”


So hopefully, that’s helped take some of the mystery out of understanding where your kiddo should be at with their swimming skills and water safety benchmarks, plus guide you to ensuring they’re getting the most out of every lesson they attend.

Thinking of Swimming Lessons?

What about if your children haven’t had lessons before? Are you thinking of signing ’em up but haven’t actually got around to it? Maybe you’re worried they might be behind on their progress.

“Don’t worry,” says Jessica.

“If your child has never been enrolled in swimming classes, we have a very strong teaching methodology in place that adapts to the confidence, experience, age and skill level of each individual child.”

“Private swimming lessons might also be a catch-up option, and once they’ve hit some key milestones and their confidence builds in the water, they can move across to group lessons.”

Perfect. Thanks, Jess!

If you’re not sure how your child is going in the pool, or you’re a bit uncertain about their progression, get in touch with the Aquabliss team.

Their swimming programs are professionally developed for all ages and skills. They have a proven track record of providing quality lessons with highly skilled teachers and a family-friendly atmosphere. Sounds good!

Thank You to The Fold Southern Highlands

Aquabliss thanks The Fold Southern Highlands for their article on the importance of swimming lessons.

How do you control a swim cap, and maybe your child, when putting one on your little swimmer? These valuable tips will help you master the art, along with some great advice on how to care for them too – the swim caps, we mean, not your kids!

Some of these tips relate only to silicone or latex caps, but if you’ve got an early learner wearing a lycra one, read on because it won’t be long before you want to change to a silicone (or latex) swim cap. Why?

Because as soon as your little fish starts to move through the water, that looser fitting lycra cap will begin to slip off – taking with it any goggles your child might be wearing. (This blog explains why silicone caps are the most popular with parents and are Aquabliss’ first choice.)

Some "dry" runs first

Well, not exactly “dry” as it’s best with wet hair (and we will explain why later).

Complete some dress rehearsals at home before your poolside debut. Make a game of these rehearsals; add some time trials. Practising will also help stretch the cap a little bit too.

No sharp objects

No jagged or sharp fingernails. Use your fingertips, not your fingernails. Beware of jewellery that might damage the swim cap, such as rings or bracelets. Earrings, too, if your child wears their cap over their ears.

Wet hair first

Water smooths dry hair by lubricating it, providing a smoother surface for the cap to slip over.

There’ll be less friction and resistance between the cap and the hair – and hopefully less friction and resistance between you and your child!

Tucking in stray hairs will also be easier to grab and tame because the water will hold the hair strands together.

For long hair

Tie up in a tight bun or ponytail and position the gathered hair, so it doesn’t interfere with goggle straps. That position might be higher or lower than usual, and practising at home will help you work out the best position.

Most goggles have a split strap so you can position one strap on either side of the bun or ponytail.

Avoid using elastic bands, especially with a silicone or latex cap. The materials can rub together, creating tension, which can be a bit uncomfortable.

We know it sounds obvious, but don’t use sharp pins to secure long hair.

We’ve seen caps damaged because some parents have been on automatic pilot when carrying out poolside hair maintenance or have forgotten to take out sharp pins from that morning’s styling session.

The look and fit

Latex and silicone caps, when new, will have a crease. This crease goes from the middle centre of your child’s forehead, over the top of their head, to the middle of the top of their neck. Think about where a shark fin would sit on your child’s head.

The crease does not go from side to side/ear to ear.

Looser-fitting lycra/nylon caps can have different panel constructions, sometimes aligned with different patterns or colours, which should guide you regarding the front and back.

Here’s one of our students modelling an Aquabliss branded lycra cap – cute, uh!

Position the front of the cap on/more towards the middle of your child’s forehead, not on the hairline. This will help prevent stray hairs from escaping at the hairline boundary and help the cap stay on when swimming and diving in the pool. Tuck away any stray hairs.

For latex and silicone caps, it’s best to smooth out any creases. Wipe out any coneheads! Press the cap down, and mould it onto the head to get rid of any air pockets that might allow the cap to move.

What about ears? Under, over, halfway? This is a personal preference and can depend on the size/style of the cap. But make sure your child can hear the teacher clearly!

How to put a swim cap on your child

The methods below work best because you do the more challenging part of stretching the cap over the head.

Before you start, gently stretch the swim cap to help loosen it.
And have an agreed countdown prepared. You will want to complete the manoeuvre in one swift go, and if your child isn’t ready, you might knock them off their feet!
Most parents find it easier to put on their child’s swim cap from forehead to back, but it’s not one rule for everyone.

Child facing toward you

Watch the video to see how easy it is and quick too! Well done Jess!

Play Video

Child facing away from you

Don’t forget to check and adjust the cap making sure the cap fits snugly, is comfortable, and is not too tight. And tuck away any stray hairs using fingertips, NOT fingernails.

And if you want to have some fun… try the challenge in this next clip (and keep an eye out on our social media pages for the bloopers!)

Play Video

Removing the cap

Easy! Place your finger under the front seam, stretch the cap away from the scalp and lift.

Because latex caps are very tight fitting, there might be slight tugging at your child’s hair. If this is an issue, consider a silicone cap.

Cap care

Maximise the pool life of your swim cap with proper care.

Keep away from sharp objects
Take care when putting away your swim cap, especially if there’s anything sharp in your bag.
Be careful of sharp or jagged nails when handling a swim cap, and beware of jewellery that could damage the cap, such as rings, bracelets, and your child’s earrings.

Don’t use hair pins to secure long hair; remember to take out any already in your child’s hair.

Rinse in freshwater

Do this as soon as possible to remove pool chemicals or salt water which, if left on the cap, will erode the material.

Dry and store in a cool, dry location

Don’t leave a silicone or latex cap in the sun or a hot car as the cap can become misshapen, the material can deteriorate, and even melt!

Some people dust silicone and latex caps, inside and out, with talcum powder, baby powder or corn starch to absorb residual moisture in which damaging bacteria can grow. This also helps keep the cap soft and prevents wrinkling and sticking. And can prevent the cap from pulling on hair when taking it on and off.

But don’t use too much; otherwise, your child will look like they’ve got a bad case of dandruff!

Next Steps

Don’t have a swim cap?
We sell them, and that’s also handy if you forget to bring one.
All our swim schools stock silicone Aquabliss branded swim caps because these ones are the most popular with parents. The silicone is high-grade and has extra stretch, and some schools also sell lycra and latex caps.

Not sure which type of cap is the best for your child? Our ultimate swim cap guide will help you choose which one is best for your swimmer.

Not currently swimming with us?

You’ll find more information about our programs on our website or contact us.

Swim caps come in various materials, with silicone, lycra and latex being the most popular. Our ultimate swim cap guide will help you choose which one is best for your swimmer.

And they are easy to put on, honestly, but if you’re struggling, our child-whispering staff are on hand to give you some child and cap wrangling tips.

Silicone Swim Caps

The best all-rounder for learners.

Most popular with parents and Aquabliss’ first choice:

One of the best reasons to love a silicone cap is because they maintain heat well. This is great for learners in group lessons who, from time to time, will be sitting on the pool edge or standing on a learn-to-swim teaching platform, watching, listening and learning while the teacher demonstrates skills with another student. 

Lycra/Nylon/Spandex Swim Caps

The second most popular choice with parents. Mainly because these caps are not as tight fitting, making them even comfier and easier to put on and take off.

The downside of being much easier to put on is that they can slip off much easier too!

Stopping to adjust caps then becomes a distraction that wastes valuable lesson time.

Lycra caps are durable if cared for correctly, but like swimwear (mainly made from lycra), these swim caps can stretch with usage and chlorine exposure, increasing the likelihood of the swim cap slipping off.

Caps that stay on mean fewer distractions and interruptions, more lesson time, and more focused learning. So, it’s worth investing time and effort to get your child used to wearing a tighter-fitting cap.

Lycra caps are certainly a great choice if you have a beginner swimmer, and you just need to get your kiddo used to wearing a swim cap in the first place. 

After all, wearing a lycra swim cap is better than not wearing one at all. But please try to ween them off and get them into a tighter fitting cap as soon as possible.

Another downside is that lycra caps are permeable, creating more drag. So, we don’t recommend them for kids who have started swimming distances.

If at this stage you think wearing a swim cap is all too much trouble, we encourage you to read our blog about the numerous benefits of wearing one. It’s worth a read, and we’re confident that, after reading it, you’ll feel the benefits of wearing a swim cap are worth it too.

Latex Swim Caps

A very tight-fitting cap that is unlikely to budge when on and has an excellent grip for goggles. However, with its tighter fit and less stretch than silicone, a latex cap can pull on hair when worn and when putting on and taking off.

They usually cost less than silicone caps, but they tend to rip more easily because latex is a thinner material. 

We’ve seen quite a few latex caps damaged by sharp fingernails.

However, being thinner means they are more breathable. So consider latex if your child tends to “overheat” a little. Or you have an advanced swimmer generating a lot of heat swimming all those laps!

Important to note – some kids may be allergic to latex.

Next Steps

Don’t have a swim cap?

We sell them, and that’s also handy if you forget to bring one.

All our swim schools sell silicone Aquabliss branded swim caps because these ones are the most popular with parents. The silicone is high-grade and has extra stretch. Some schools also sell lycra and latex caps.

Not currently swimming with us?
Take a look at our programs, or contact us. We’d love you to be part of our extended Aquabliss family.

They make learning to swim easier, a real game changer. They won’t keep hair dry or water out of ears, but there are many reasons why it’s best to wear a swim cap, and here are just 6 of them.

1. More focussed learning maximises value for money

Swim caps eliminate distractions and time wasted when a swimmer stops (often more than once) to move hair (sometimes someone else’s, yuk) from their eyes, nose or mouth and/or to adjust their goggles.

Sounds exhausting! Most likely annoying! It could even be stressful for those upset by having their vision and breathing hindered. All of which make learning to swim harder.

A swim cap provides a smooth surface for goggles to stick to, so they stay in place without snagging or pulling on a swimmer’s hair as they move through the water. And a swim cap keeps hair out of their face – or someone else’s!

A swim cap means fewer distractions, a more focused lesson and learning to swim easier.

Swimming lessons are usually short, most only 30 minutes. With at least 3 or 4 students in the class, interruptions will quickly add up, soon eating into precious learning time and your pocket!

A swim cap means fewer interruptions for hair and/or goggle maintenance, which improves efficiencies and maximises the value of the cost you’ve spent on the lesson.

2. Helps keep pool water cleaner & lessons cheaper

No one likes getting a handful or mouthful of someone else’s hair or seeing a clump floating in the pool. Gross!

A swim cap keeps hair out of the pool, providing a more pleasant experience for everyone. Thank you.

Most stray hairs end up in the drains and filters. At best, mechanical system effectiveness in removing contaminants and impurities is reduced because it’s more difficult for the water to move around these systems with ease. At worst, stray hairs clog them up. Both scenarios add costs to running a swim school. Not good!

A swim cap will help mechanical systems run smoothly and minimise wear and tear. When operating costs are reduced, there are fewer costs to consider passing onto customers when assessing price increases. A much better scenario!

3. Keeps swimmers warmer

By conserving energy, a swimmer will tire less, which is great for swimming lessons as they’ll have the energy to learn more. And the quicker a student learns to swim, the less spent on swimming lessons. (Yes, we’re always sad to say goodbye to our students when they graduate, but there’s a positive, it frees up a space for us to help someone else learn to swim. So quicker is better for everyone!)

A swim cap helps safeguard precious energy by keeping the head warm. Especially in cooler weather/water environments, so getting used to wearing one all year round is helpful.

4. Protects hair

Pool chemicals eliminate harmful bacteria, making the water safe to use, but the downside is – not great for hair.

A swim cap will add a layer of protection against pool chemicals, helping to protect luscious locks or a sensitive scalp.

Tips for better hair protection

5. Reduces drag & improves swimming

Water flows more easily and quickly over a smooth surface. So wearing a swim cap, regardless of hair length, makes students more hydrodynamic.

A swim cap means faster movement through the water with less effort!

6. Minimises stress levels

Once students have gotten into the groove of wearing a swim cap, so many things will be easier

The initial investment in getting used to wearing one really will pay off.

Next Steps

Don’t have a swim cap?
We sell them, and that’s handy if you forget to bring one. For children with long hair, choose one with extra stretch or consider an adult-sized one.

Not currently swimming with us?
Take a look at our programs, or contact us. We’d love you to be part of our extended Aquabliss family.

Taking those early splashes into swimming lessons can be difficult for parents who have a little one who doesn’t take to water like a fish.

Children feel safer when they are in a familiar environment. Yet growing up and learning is all about exploring. So that means your “mini-me” is likely to feel out of their comfort zone now and again.

If your tot is having that sinking feeling about being in the pool (no pun intended!), then helping them to become familiar with the idea and process of swimming can be extremely beneficial in the early stages of their swim journey. Exposing them to swimming, whilst on dry land, can calm their fears and anxieties.

So how do you do this? One way is education!Here’s a list of children’s books that encourage a positive mindset and familiarity with swimming. Great for kids about to begin swimming lessons, or for those who need a little bit of comfort once started.

Dive into Swimming with Knowledge

Book 1: Peppa Goes Swimming – Neville Astley

(For ages; 2-6 years old)

Peppa Pig is a very familiar character in the world of children. Peppa and George are at the swimming pool. It’s George’s first time so this strikes some fear in George. This book looks at how Mummy and Daddy Pig try to convince George to hop in and give swimming a go! Peppa Pig also has many activity books that are parallel with the story book. I’m Ready for Swimming – Penguin Random House Australia

Book 2: I’m Ready for Swimming – Jedda Robaard

(For ages; up to 3 years old)

This book details the excitement of hopping in the pool without Mum or Dad! This book contains brilliant illustrations that are sure to get your children excited for swimming lessons. Spot Goes to the Swimming Pool – Eric Hill

Book 3: Spot Goes to the Swimming Pool – Eric Hill

(For ages; up to 3 years old)

Spot, yet another popular children’s character, feels extremely nervous going to the pool, until his Mum and friends offer him some support! He is splashing around in no time! The Swimming Lesson by Dori Chaconas

Book 4: Cork and Fuzz: The Swimming Lesson – Dori Chaconas

(For ages; 6-8 years old)

Details two friends, Cork and Fuzz. Cork, a muskrat is a confident swimmer, and Fuzz, a possum, still yet to learn. Which is not easy for Fuzz because as a possum, swimming doesn’t come naturally. Through illustrations, the reader can follow along with Fuzz as he dives into learning. Concepts of problem solving, fear and making comprises are all explored. Best fun of all whilst learning – this book is full of humour!

Book 5: Saturday is Swimming Day – Hyewon Yum

(For ages; 3+ years old)

This book is fantastic! New things can be scary. Share with your little one the experiences of one young girl as she discovers that it can take time to feel comfortable and confident in the water. And that sometimes, a little bravery and a lot of patience can conquer fears.

Book 6: There’s a Sea in my Bedroom – Margaret Wild

(For ages; 3+ years old)

David, a little boy, is scared of swimming in the ocean. To cope, he creates an imaginary world where he is free to explore things that scare him in the safety of his own bedroom. And when the time comes to test his fear of the ocean in real life? Oh, he is ready. All about conquering fear, and the illustrations are awesome.

Reviews and Recommendations?

You can help other parents who have young beginner swimmers by leaving reviews on the above books or recommending and reviewing others.

PASS Class is for all levels – except squads because they’ve already achieved their PASS!

One of the main reasons parents enrol their child/children with Aquabliss is safety. Our popular PASS Class, held twice a year, plays a key role in reinforcing and boosting swim survival skills.

What is PASS Class?

Personal Aquatic Survival Skills (PASS), such as sculling, treading water, floating, safe entry and exit from the water, along with basic swimming skills, are regularly taught in our classes.

We know that kids learn by repetition. So our PASS Class is a critical component of the Aquabliss curriculum because swim survival skills already learnt will be consolidated and refreshed.

Plus, where relevant, (and age-appropriate), new skills will be introduced. Such as techniques for clothed swimming survival. For most classes, there will also be mock rescue and emergency simulations. Then those new skills will need to be reinforced at the next PASS Class. It’s that all-important repetition factor again…. and again… and again.

Teaching kids how to save themselves [and not panic] if they find themselves in a risky situation is sooooo important. With more practice, a child is more likely to quickly recall the skills learnt and less likely to panic.

No child will be forced to do anything they’re not comfortable with. If a child prefers to sit on the pool edge and observe, that’s ok, because they’re still learning by watching others.

PASS Class is important no matter the season

Water rules will also be discussed, focusing on the risks of the season. The risk of drowning isn’t over when summer ends. Kids are around water all year round. Riding a bike next to a river, watching the ducks at the pond or going fishing with Dad. Some of you might be lucky enough to enjoy a winter holiday somewhere warm, with access to a pool or the beach.

In the cooler months, your kids will also be wearing more clothes. You know how heavy clothes get when wet. And, of course in summer, well, the risks increase because kids are around water more often. So, no matter what time of year it is, PASS Class is important.

These key swim survival skills, consolidated in our PASS Class, should be practised more than once a year. Yep, there’s that repetition factor again!

Why are kids encouraged to wear clothes in the pool?

Water-related accidents or drownings don’t always happen when a child is in their swimmers. So it’s really important they learn survival swimming strokes and skills while wearing clothes.

One objective, even for the real young ‘uns, is to give kids the chance to know what it feels like to be clothed in water. To experience how heavier the clothes feel when wet, and how harder it is to swim in clothes.

Falling into a pool of water with clothes on can produce fear and hysteria in an otherwise calm swimmer. Sometimes one minor thing (such as not being in swimmers) can throw a child completely off and cause them to forget the skills they’ve learnt.

Remember – no child will be forced to do anything. But we hope most will feel confident to enter the pool, in a controlled environment, wearing their clothes. As PASS Class is all about saving lives, a suggestion to wear any superhero clothes or PJs might help any nervous tiny tots.

No extra costs

During the scheduled week, classes will just be run a little differently than usual. This provides a vital opportunity to focus on water safety and education. To really focus on swim survival skills, which could ultimately save a child’s life.

More information will be emailed

We always send out emails to our customers closer to the date, including what to bring and how to prepare swimmers for a different kind of lesson.

Don’t miss out

PASS Class is only available to enrolled students. Not enrolled? Then contact us so we can welcome you into the Aquabliss fam!

For existing customers who don’t already have the dates in their diary, get in touch and we’ll let you know what days and times to block out in your calendar so your kids don’t miss this really important class. Usually held twice a year, in May and November.