One of the most common questions I get from parents is what they can do to reinforce the skills that their children have learned and what they can practice with them. I love when parents are invested in working with their children during recreation time as it can be a great way to spend time with your kids and help further their swim skills. Here are some tips on how to keep the positive progress going:
- Have some toys on hand! Diving rings, jewels, action figures, mermaids, whatever might be fun. Let the kids toss the toys in and pick them up (either on the steps for beginners or at the bottom for more advanced). Remind them to blow their bubbles every time they dive down to pick something up.
- Let your kids show off to you – whatever they want to show you, let them. Try not to give too much feedback other than “that’s so great!” Of course you can always rely on your child’s swim teacher’s instructional advice and say ‘remember what teacher Lisa told you for your kicks?’ or something like that. You don’t want to overdirect. They’re really only looking for praise from their parents.
- Teach them something new! If they’re into it, show them a new trick. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t ‘correct’ or good form. Just have fun with them. Summersaults, fun jumps, fancy floating.. be creative!
- Don’t force it. If your kids just want to hang with you on the steps or in the jacuzzi or snuggle on a pool raft with you, let them. Don’t come into the pool with expectations about practicing strokes or skills. This is strictly fun time and if they just want your attention and to feel close to you, that’s completely legitimate.
- Get specific instructions from your child’s teacher if you’re going away on vacation and will be doing a lot of swimming. This is an excellent time to practice all sorts of skills. Also I’ve often said, some of the biggest leaps in advancement come when you’re kids are on vacation mainly because hotel pools have very shallow ends where little ones can stand which gives them more independence and makes them feel more in control.
I do constantly tell parents, the more time you spend in the pool with your child, the faster they will learn and the more confident and competent they will be!