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.