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We, as Aussie’s, love to swim. We love the beach, children’s pool parties, a backyard summer bbq, visiting water playgrounds and we love holiday destinations close to the water. It’s so important to our culture, So, why would we not teach our children how to swim?
Maybe the daunting thought of trying to fit it into our families weekly routine or changing a wet child in the cold change rooms. Do you worry “what if my child won’t like it?” or even preparing a swim bag scare you…. The reality is, it is a very important skill to learn and could save your child’s life…. So turn your swimming lesson trips into positive experiences for yourself and your children.
To help ease your anxiety, here are a few bag packing tips for your swimming lesson trips:
1. Swimmers Nappies – make sure you ask at your swim centre the requirement for Swimmers Nappies. Some centre’s require swimmers nappies until the age of 4, so call in advance and be prepared. However if you forget your swimmers nappies, NO SWIMMING will be allowed!
2. Encouragement – If your child is swimming in the pool without you, be sure to offer lots of encouragement before their lesson. Get to the pools early and let them explore by themselves in the shallow before their class. They might even team up with a few kids and start splashing around together.
3. Snacks – Swimming is hard work, so be sure to fuel them right up when they have finished. Little snacks are great, dried fruit, crackers, popcorn and remember a water bottle.
4. Change of Clothes – Change rooms can be a hectic and cold place…. Pack clothes in a plastic bag to change into after swimming. Choose warm clothes, easy “on & off” change of clothes. Dresses in summer, pull over t-shirts and track pants in summer. REMEMBER knickers and jocks.
5. Plastic Bags – wet swimsuits and towels can quickly be thrown into spare plastic bags, however REMEMBER to take them out as soon as you get home to wash and hang up.
6. Illness – Swimming lesson’s are fantastic, however children can get sick especially during winter. Be sure to keep up their vitamin intake and keep your child warm after getting changed. I would avoid swimming lessons with under 1’s during winter, until they have built up an immune system. Make sure you enrol again for Term 4!
7. Bribery – Keep a few spare silver coins in your purse just in case you need to use a “lolly” from the canteen after swimming as bribery to get them to listen to their teacher…
—– and last, but the most excited part ———
The Swimsuit – make sure your child is comfortable in their swimwear. They will be in and out of the water during their lesson, so be sure swimwear will stay on! Dress them in their swimmers before you take them, they will be dying to get into the water as soon as you walk through the doors. So grab your’s here now!
With a quick checklist and everything packed, parents can feel at ease and enjoy watching their child learning to swim, knowing that these skills may save their life 🙂 🙂
If you have not enquired into swimming lesson’s, please do so now and enrol them in a centre close by.
Cheers Lee-Anne xx
On a recent trip to Tonga, I realised how much we take for granted our ability to swim. Tonga is an independent country in the South Pacific consisting of 176 islands, and many of the locals can’t swim. Imagine living in such beauty, surrounded by warm tropical waters and pristine beaches, and never having the opportunity to learn to swim.
From as young as 4 months old, children in Australia have the opportunity to be involved in structured swimming classes. By the time they are in Primary School, children partake in lessons organised during school time. These lessons consist of beginning skills of survival and safety, right through to CPR and perfecting swimming strokes.
Early Primary School
As noted previously, ages of achievement are just a guideline. Becoming confident in water and perfecting swimming and water safety skills will vary largely due to many factors, resulting in everyone having individual goals and achievements.
Based on the age guidelines, children up to the age of approximately 8 will be learning the following skills:
- Safe entry into water
- Exhale in water
- Opening eyes in water
- Gliding forwards and backwards, progressing on to gliding and kicking
- Recovering from a glide
- Treading water/ sculling
- Forward roll
- Breaststroke legs
For those unfamiliar with the ‘slide in entry’, this is used as the safest way to enter water. It is a way of entering the water slowly with the ability to exit quickly if needed. The slide in entry is done by sitting on the edge, putting your hands on the edge to the side of you (both hands same side) and with your weight on your hands, turn your boy toward the edge and lower in slowly. Many people think this is only for swimming pools, but it should be used whenever possible, even by adults particularly into unknown waters.
To help build confidence under water, encourage children to blink their eyes to get the water out rather than rubbing them. Rubbing can cause irritation and add to their fear of having their face in the water.
For people who want to hold their nose, it can be helpful to teach them to close their mouth and blow through their nose instead. This takes away the fear of water going up their nose and leaves their hands free for swimming.
It is strange to think that we need to be taught how to stand up in water, but the ‘floating’ feeling in water is strange until we are familiar with it. To help with recovering from a glide or float, encourage your children to lift their head, lift their knees up, and use their hands to pull down to get into an upright position.
Hopefully you are able to use these tips next time you are swimming with your children and give them a gentle shove in the direction of becoming more confident and competent swimmers.
Cheers, Nic xx
As a parent we want the best for our kids. Water safety is extremely important here in Australia and most children are encouraged to take part in swimming lessons.
We are please to announce, “HeavenLee” will be having a series of “Swimming Achievement” updates from resident, Nic, who is a qualified swimming instructor. She will be giving us advice on what parents should be watching out for to ensure you child is learning according to “AustSwim”
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Water safety is an essential part of learning, especially in the Australian lifestyle. As a Mother of two I worry about my children being safe in and around water as well as being able to have fun.
Do your children attend swimming lessons?
Did you attend swimming lessons as a child?
From information gained through studying the AustSwim ‘Teaching Swimming and Water Safety’ course, I have complied a series of guidelines for swimming achievements, as well as some hints and tips for how you can help your kids have fun and be safe around water.
It is important to first note that all learners will have individual goals and achievements. While students are generally grouped by age to begin, this does not necessarily mean that skills should be achieved at certain ages. There are many factors affecting learning and performance, including environmental, cultural as well as when they were first introduced to water.
It has become increasingly common to start swimming lessons from as young as 4 months. In these early stages the focus is on an introduction to water. This is done in a fun environment by way of lots of song and games.
The first few swimming milestones are ones that we do not usually consider. They will include things such as:
- Entering the water without fear
- Being comfortable without holding on (but still being held onto)
- Enjoying splashing around and having water splashed/poured onto head/face
- Submerging while being held
- Jumping into a parent/carers arms.
When we are first introduced to water, it is important to feel safe. Babies and small children in particular may cling on tight for security. LET THEM! There may come a stage when you do have to peel them off (as with my daughter), however, many children will do it on their own. Keep in mind this may take 5 minutes or 5 weeks (or longer). Being in water is a much different feeling with buoyancy coming into play. As experienced swimmers we tend to forget the ‘fear of falling’ water can create, particularly with babies, who are still learning to control their bodies on land.
If you are unable to take your children to swimming lessons, or even for some extra practice, try taking them yourself to the local pool just for a float around. It may not seem like you are achieving much but this is a critical stage to their further development. The more experience in water, the quicker they can familiarise themselves.
If your child is attending swimming lessons prior to entering school, they will have the opportunity to gain valuable skills in and around the water. If you are unable to attend structured lessons, here is a heads up on what others may be learning. This may allow you to get in there and give it a go with them yourself, or even just help them practice what they are learning for those who do attend lessons.
This next set of milestones may include:
- Safe water entry
- Exhale in water (blowing bubbles)
- Monkey along the wall
- Torpedo off wall leading onto gliding
- Attempt to swim- arms and legs moving
- Lay on back, supported by teacher
- Submerge without being held
In these early stages, children should also be introduced to basic water and sun safety.
In 1980, Sid the Seagul told us all to Slip, Slop, Slap. Now he also wants us to Seek and Slide.
- Slip on a shirt
- Slop on some sunscreen
- Slap on a hat
- Seek out some shade
- Slide on a pair of wrap around sunglasses
The AustSwim website provides some simple water safety tips to teach children which may save a life.
Never Swim Alone
At the beach – always swim between the flags
Always look out for pool rules
The better educated we are, the safer we will be!
More guidelines and tips coming soon for school aged swimmers, but in the meantime feel free to post questions below and I’ll get back to you.