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.