Category: News

Whilst it’s never too late for your child to start swimming lessons, it can be too soon to stop.

As passionate swim educators, of course, you’d expect our answer to be “never” when asked, “when should I cancel swimming lessons?”

However, whilst we support the theory that learning never stops, we are realistic. We accept that, in practice, parents do cancel lessons. 

So when could you consider cancelling lessons?

As the key driver for learning to swim is usually safety, we’ve considered some highly respected research, facts, and stats to help answer this question.

National Swim & Water Safety Benchmarks

Before cancelling, you should assess if your child is meeting swim safety benchmarks.

After working closely with experts across the aquatic industry, education sector, and academia, the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) developed the National Swimming and Water Safety Framework (the Framework), which identified a range of national benchmarks.

There are 3 key national benchmarks that you should consider, and to help you, we’ve matched these to the corresponding Aquabliss levels.

Note the ages stated are the latest to reach each target. Children can achieve them earlier.

And there’s no need to pay for swimming lessons until your child is 17. 

Once they’ve smashed the second benchmark, they’ll have the basic skills to achieve the third without Aquabliss. They can build their strength and stamina while enjoying whatever water-based swimming activity floats their boat. Just keep encouraging them.

Of course, if you have a super fish in the family interested in swimming, or your child needs a bit more discipline to keep on track, after completing all the levels in our Stroke Development Program, we have some great Squad opportunities!

Australian Royal Life Saving BenchmarksCorresponding Aquabliss Swim Level
By 6 years
Swim 5 metres without stopping, swim underwater, simulate an accidental entry and move to safety, know how to call Triple Zero (000).
Our pre-schooler Jellyfish or school-aged Turtles will smash this first benchmark before moving to the next level.
By 12 years
Swim 50 metres without stopping, float in deep water for 2 minutes, demonstrate survival skills wearing clothing, rescue a conscious person and have basic resuscitation skills.
That 50-metre goal kicks in at our Stroke Development levels and is achieved by some Dolphins but mastered by all Sharks.
By 17 years
Swim 400 metres without stopping, tread water for 5 minutes and swim survival strokes for 4 minutes wearing clothing, rescue an unconscious person and provide first aid.
For keen swimmers who continue with our program, graduating as an Orca from our Stroke Development program can help your child achieve this benchmark. And they can definitely blitz it if they enrol in our Squad Program.

Competently & without goggles!

The distances should be achieved with your child feeling confident and not too out of breath. And without goggles!

Yikes! Why? Because it’s likely your child won’t be wearing them if they accidentally fall into dangerous water.

Dependency on goggles can cause a child to panic and keep their eyes closed instead of looking for ways to get to safety.

So before cancelling, get your child to take off their goggles and see how far and how well they can swim without them. It’s better to find out in the calm water of the pool.

Minimum skills to achieve

The RLSSA recommend that children should stay in swimming lessons long enough to at least achieve the 50-metre swim and 2-minute float national benchmark.

And we agree.

At Aquabliss, that equates to either a Dolphin or Shark level.

Don’t over-estimate your child’s swimming and water safety abilities. 25 meters (or less) is not far enough to forge a well-rounded swimmer.

Our pools are calm, warm, quiet, and familiar. Conversely, it’s much harder to swim in open water environments. So, this 50-meter benchmark will better prepare kids to cope with different aquatic situations.

Technique matters – don’t miss a stroke

Don’t miss our Stroke Development Levels. Some of the technical elements of swimming can be very hard to master.

Good technique = learning to swim WELL = swimming efficiently.

Essential for safety reasons. Your child will tire less quickly if they know how to swim more easily and efficiently and, therefore, less likely to panic should they find themselves in trouble.

From kids to adults – risk management

Additionally, keeping children in swimming lessons until they reach this 50m benchmark, being a little older and/or more mature, gives us more time and opportunity to really drill into them how important it is to respect the water.

You never stop being a parent, worrying and caring for them, but you won’t always be with them when they are in and around water.

Through swimming lessons, children learn to recognise and understand risk factors. Being safe in and around water is all about risk management. This is a great life skill to learn.

As they enter their teens and adulthood, this vital skill can help them make better decisions when you’re not around – and not just in the pool but on land too.

We Swim Campaign

The RLSSA have launched the We Swim Campaign to encourage parents to achieve and exceed this 50-metre, 2-minute float benchmark after their research showed that:

40% of 12-year-olds are unable to meet the national benchmark for swimming and water safety.

Want to cancel?

Discuss your child’s swim and water safety ability with us first, especially if it’s because you think your child has plateaued. Most kids face a learning plateau, and our staff will have some ideas for getting through this stage.

Or, if you’re thinking of cancelling and replacing with another sport, ask yourself, can that replacement sport potentially save a life?

Want to enrol?

Contact Aquabliss for a FREE swim assessment and/or to book into a program. Contact details are listed on each school’s location page.

We Swim is inspiring parents across Australia to take action to ensure their children enjoy all the benefits of swimming.

Facts & stats identify the need for action

The Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) took a deep dive into the water world of swimming lessons. Their research uncovered the following concerning situation:

Many children drop out of lessons before the age of 8 and miss developing critical lifesaving skills

40% of 12-year-olds can’t swim continuously for 50 meters or float for 2 minutes in deep water – a basic swimming and water safety benchmark

As a result of these alarming statistics, the RLSSA, supported by the Australian Government, has launched the We Swim Campaign.

Aquabliss is a  proud supporter of this campaign.

Life is better when we swim

As a nation, we love water. From the local pool, lake or river to the oceans and bays. When children learn to swim, it opens a world of possibilities.

Kids can enjoy heaps of water activities and be involved in water-based sports, school camps, beach holidays, riverside camping and playing with friends and family at the pool. Just to name a few! 

Many studies have shown that we are stronger and healthier in body and mind when swimming. 

Given our national lifestyle, swimming is a vital life skill. Not being able to swim, or swim well enough, diminishes the enjoyment of life and puts lives at risk. 

Campaign’s key focus

The We Swim movement focuses on children staying in lessons long enough to competently swim continuously for 50 meters and float in deep water for 2 minutes by 12 years of age – a vital national benchmark for swimming and water safety.

Failing to develop critical swimming and lifesaving skills leads to a lifelong drowning risk and missing out on a lifetime of enjoying the water.

From kids to adults

You won’t always be with your child when they’re in and around water, but you never stop being a parent, worrying and caring for them.

Through swimming lessons, kids learn to recognise and understand risk factors. As they enter their teens and adulthood, this vital skill can help them make better decisions when you’re not around – and not just about water dangers.

So, giving them these safety and risk assessment skills, life skills and lifesaving skills, is one of the best things you can do for them.

And for yourself, because you’ll enjoy some greater peace of mind.

Next Steps

As a parent, you want the best for your child/children. You want to keep them safe and for their lifelong journey to be filled with fun, confidence and experiences that take them far and wide.

So be a champion for your child by keeping them in swimming lessons until they achieve this 50-metre swim and 2-minute float national benchmark.

And you can help build momentum for the campaign by sharing messages across your network of family and friends, further promoting keeping children safe so they can enjoy the many benefits of swimming and how life-changing it is.

Because life is better when we swim.

Not enrolled in swimming lessons?

Contact Aquabliss for a FREE swim assessment and/or to book into a program.

Full contact details are listed on each school’s location page.

Let’s talk about poo

Swimming Lessons Trump Potty Training

As a parent, do you fear that your “mini-me” might one day accidently let a “floater” loose in the pool or at the beach? (Not to be confused with a “floatie”, which we don’t want to see in our pools either.) And yes, we know there can be “sinkers” too – (but not the actual kids) – but we live in hope of “floaters”. Read on to find out why.

Don’t let that fear delay starting swimming lessons until your child is potty trained. Your little one can start lessons as young as 6 months. Your child’s safety far outweighs the chance of a “Code Brown” incident. Yes, that’s what we call it in the swim industry, Code Brown – even though a baby’s poop isn’t always brown!

 

 

Oh Crap! S**t Happens… But rarely!

A Code Brown hardly ever happens. If it does, our staff have seen it all before. Just not that particular specimen! It’s a little bit like “déjà poo” to them, so they know exactly what to do to protect both the hygiene of the pool, as well as you and your child’s dignity.

We have processes and procedures in place to quickly deal with the situation. We follow NSW Health protocols relevant to the type and severity of the Code Brown incident.

First, watch our staff run for cover, because one of them will have to go fishing. Kidding, but only about the running bit. We all know that running is not allowed at any pool!

Everyone must first exit the water. Giving kids the chance to demonstrate their safety exit skills of course, whilst under a little bit of pressure. Then, one lucky staff member gets to try out their fishing skills. And this is why we hope for “floaters” – much easier to catch!

Normal chlorine levels won’t kill all faecal disease-causing organisms immediately or quickly. So once the poop has been scooped, the pool will be super chlorinated at the appropriate level. Even the equipment used will be sterilised. Backwashing will also occur. And no this is not a service we provide to your kids in lieu of a swimming lesson! Putting it simply, backwashing is cleaning the filter by reversing the flow of water to remove any debris, build-up, and contaminants.

Now if you want the “technical” explanation from one of our senior management team to the marketing team writing this blog… here it is…. (bear in mind that marketing people who produce these blogs usually sway more to the arts than science.)

“After a super chlorination or shock dose of the pool you backwash. Think of it as you’re killing all the little bacteria animals in the water – they are just going to be floating around dead making the water funky 😂 Essentially, after you kill all the grossness, you want to get rid of it and put some nice freshwater in. The fastest way to do that is to backwash. That way it also cleans up any of the grossness that got into the filters also. Don’t you love my technical terms!” Yes, we do!

Because we have to basically shock the crap out of the water, sterilising the water can take several hours. That means no-one can get back into the pool. So, classes must be cancelled. Depending on when it happened, and how severe, classes could be cancelled for the rest of the day.

Rest assured, the waters are tested during the shut-down period to ensure the pool has been disinfected, and to confirm safe chlorine levels return before re-opening.

And because we cancelled on you, you’ll be offered an extra make-up lesson, or instead, a credit to your account for the cancelled lesson.

Why do Poop Accidents Sometimes Happen?

Sometimes a parent takes the risk of their child no longer wearing a swim nappy just a tad too early. Or a child is fully potty trained but got distracted, was having too much fun (and we promise our lessons are fun), forgot and then it’s too late. Oopsie!

It’s also worth pointing out that movements in warm water can cause the bowels to relax. Our pools are chill free toasty zones – around 31 degrees. Our lessons have lots of movement. All that leg kicking is likely to help the colon move things along!

What Can You do to Lessen the Risk?

Try not to rush to swimming lessons. Rushing can make a child feel stressful. Stress for some kids (even adults) can bring on the need to do the deed. Rushing might also mean you miss taking your child to that oh so important bathroom visit before each lesson. Just getting them to sit on the toilet can prompt some action. Sometimes a pee can encourage a poo!

Help your child understand how to tell you when they need to go. Watch your child in the water. You probably know the type of face they usually make when needing to push one out!

Use a swim nappy if still potty training, or your child is known to be easily distracted, or known for leaving toilet needs to the last minute when on land. If in doubt, put a swim nappy on your child, and make sure it’s a good fit. If they feel too old to wear a nappy, use the word “pants” instead to make it all sound so much more grown up.

And of course, don’t bring your child swimming if they are sick – or within two weeks of suffering any diarrhea either.

What to Do if your Child does have an Accident

If you spot it first, let us know, calmly. Your little tot may already be upset, so if you get upset this might make them feel worse. We won’t make you feel like you, or your little one, have committed a crime. Our staff will treat you with compassion.

No doubt you’ll help your water babe deal with any feelings of shame or embarrassment and won’t accept it if they try to make fun of the event. Age and maturity dependent, we know you’ll explain clearly that pooing in the pool is not acceptable and why. Speaking to them in a kind but firm way.

It’s also a good idea to discuss ways to prevent this happening again. For example, get them to agree to certain things such as going to the bathroom before each lesson. Maybe remind them of all the pool rules, including no getting into the pool until the teacher says so, no running, and then add in the no pooing rule as well. Making it part of the general rules might help lessen any feelings of shame or embarrassment for them.

You might also want to find out the name of the staff member who went fishing and send them a nice thank you note.

Our Nappy Policy – It’s Quite Simple

Please do your part in reducing the risk of accidents by adopting some of the hints and tips we’ve provided and by following our Nappy Policy.

Babes and toddlers not fully toilet trained must wear tight fitting waterproof swim nappies.

Not an ordinary nappy, which will fill with water and weigh your child down. We are teaching your child to swim not sink! Some regular nappies contain crystals to absorb fluids to keep your bub’s bum dry. Expose these crystals to large amounts of fluid/pool water and they will expand so much that the nappy is likely to “explode” and create a mess – even if they haven’t pooped!

If you see your child’s “poop-face”, remove them immediately from the water to check. Especially if your child’s poos are usually loose or a bit runny.

If the nappy needs changing, do so away from the poolside of course. Time permitting, you can then return to the lesson.

Any person not complying with this policy will be instructed to not enter the pool (for e.g., we notice the child is wearing an ordinary nappy) or leave the pool (for e.g., the nappy needs changing.) Management will always have the right to suspend or cancel a customer’s account if a person continues to breach this policy.

In Conclusion

It hardly ever happens. If it does, it’s not the worst thing in the world. There are things you can do to lessen the risk. But don’t deter swimming lessons just because your precious one isn’t potty trained.

And remember, no swim nappy can contain urine, so don’t put them on your child too soon!

Urine in the pool is not a problem because it’s sterile when it leaves the body. If there are any pathogens from an infection for example, the pool chemicals kill them. However, that doesn’t mean we need your kid’s help to keep our pools warm and toasty by peeing in the pool…. And yes, it’s a myth that the water turns blue, but let’s not tell them that!

Trivia Wikipedia Fact: Rumours of the origin of urine indicator-dye go back at least as far as 1958, and the story is commonly told to children by parents who do not wish them to urinate in the pool. A 1985 biography of Orson Welles describes him using such a dye as part of a prank in 1937.

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that the risks are minimal and you’re ready to enrol. So reach out to our friendly, understanding, caring and compassionate Customer Care Team.

Building kids’ confidence in the water while having fun

Weekly swimming lessons for kids are awesome. It’s great for their routine and learning new skills in the water, but if you’re keen to take the kids’ skills in the pool up a notch or improve their confidence around water, a School Holiday Intensive Program is a crackin’ idea.

Why? The online media outlet, The Fold Southern Highlands, spoke to the Aquabliss Frensham team to find out.

1 // Keeps kids busy and active

It’s sooooo tempting to resort to the world of video games and devices to give the kids some downtime in the hols, we get it (confession time, we’ve also done it). And while screens have their place and time, there’s a truckload of research that points towards the positive benefits of getting kids active – and not just physical benefits. Regular activity in kids also have psychosocial and cognitive health effects. Cool, right? Imagine how well they’ll sleep after participating in the Intensive Program?

2 // Builds confidence in the water

Intensive swimming programs are great for building a child’s confidence in the water. There is something about knowing your kid is capable in the water that makes a parent breathe a little easier, right? Plus, these sorts of programs reinforce swim safety awareness in and around water. Perfect when the weather is still warm enough to head off to the beach or pool parties. But no matter what time of year, kids are always in and around water which is why regular swimming lessons and intensive programs are important to keep your little one water-wise and confident in and out of the water all year round.

3 // Builds muscle memory

Back-to-back days of practice builds muscle memory in kids. What’s muscle memory? Let’s get technical – it’s consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. Which means your child is more likely to remember how to frog kick, or dive or do a tumble turn….whatever it is they may be learning…..if they do it regularly. They can spend a bit more time on mastering specific skills, rather than trying to squeeze learning that particular skill into a 30 – 60 minute lesson, and then try and remember it a week later (a week is a long time in a child’s life!) The best bit about daily back-to-back lessons is children easily pick up from where they left off the day before.

4 // Make new friends

Cos’ friends and fun are life, right? Developing social skills are a fabulous side-effect of a School Holiday Intensive Program as kids meet and mix with new friends.

5 // Fast track your child’s progress

Who has a mini-Thorpie in their midst? Or a child who Just. Really. Loves. Swimming? Or has your child’s swimming skills plateaued a bit? An intensive program is a way to reboot or kickstart their growth and ability in the water with one month’s worth of lessons in one week.

6 // Peace of mind for parents

We mentioned it quickly at the top, but when your child is confident, skilled and safety-aware in and around the water, as a parent you can definitely relax a little bit more (of course, never taking your eye off the supervising ball!).

Highlanders are no different to anyone else. They love getting outdoors and that usually means being around water in some form. When it’s still warm enough to enjoy a pool party, hang out at the beach, go fishing or boating……..being confident of your child’s abilities to manage themselves in the water makes that time much more enjoyable for everyone! And even in the cooler months, rugged up and cycling by the river, wandering along the pier or fishing, whatever and wherever near water, greater peace of mind leads to greater enjoyment.

To find out the latest program dates and more information, please click here.

There is a free lesson on offer for each week! So don’t miss out. Find out more and contact our friendly Customer Care Team today to book your little one into our School Holiday Intensive Programs.

Are swimming lessons still on your to-do list? Maybe added after the last school holidays? Or at the end of last year as one of your new year resolutions to focus on health and safety? While some resolutions are a might-do, swimming lessons are a must-do. And if swimming lessons are sitting on your action list, make them a priority. It’s never too late to organise swimming lessons to support your child in mastering a range of new swim skills throughout the rest of this year and beyond.

And it’s never too late to start swimming lessons at Aquabliss because we offer perpetual lessons, not term-based lessons. Our perpetual program means your little one can start swimming lessons at any time during the year. You don’t have to wait now for next term, or a specific date, to enrol. Very convenient!

Our swim programs also run throughout the year, including school holidays. So you’ll have at least one school holiday activity already locked in! Great planning!

Plus, once you’ve signed up, that’s it. No need to re-do that each term. No fear of losing that precious timeslot. So easy!

Here at Aquabliss, we understand that children learn to swim at their own pace. So, when your little fish has mastered all the skills in one level, they can move up to the next level as soon as a new spot becomes available. No need to wait till the end or beginning of next term. Very flexible!

With perpetual lessons, you won’t be charged for a full term of swimming lessons in one go. We bill monthly*. This means it’s also easier to take a break from lessons because you aren’t locked into any long term contract. The most you are committing to is one month at a time. That’s great!

Except maybe the part about taking a break from swimming lessons. However, we understand if you need to take a break from time to time. We even offer eight make-up lessons per year* to help you. How supportive!

Perpetual lessons provide a number of benefits and opportunities for your child to stay on track, with no interruptions to their development. That’s fantastic!

If you aren’t already perpetually swimming with us, then be a champion for your child and contact our friendly Customer Care Team today!

*Details accurate at the time of publishing. Please confirm details with your local swim school.

In summer kids have ample time in the water to practice. And in winter kids aren’t going to be in the water as much. So we find that some parents think there’s no need to continue with swimming lessons, right? Wrong!

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