Challenging Toddlers Part 4: Finding the magic approach for your child’s learn to swim journey

As discovered in earlier parts of our Challenging Toddler Survival Guide series, every child is unique and choosing the right swim school is a major decision in your child’s learn to swim journey.
While we could share a million reasons for why we are an award-winning swim school, we believe there are some key elements of a swim teacher’s approach to your child’s class. If you can observe the following in your child’s swim lesson, learning to swim should be a positive experience for your family.

Energy:

Young kids enrolled in a swimming class are there to have fun. If it doesn’t feel like playing, they’re far more likely to be inattentive. Therefore, it is important that the teacher keeps things interesting in the pool, giving 150% of their energy.

Eg. I sometimes like to whisper when students are getting too noisy because it adds an element of surprise and they have to quiet down to hear me.

Positivity:

Children respond well to positive feedback, it’s so powerful. Your child’s teacher should be on the lookout for things that are being done well.

When teaching basic swimming skills and particularly with little ones, repetition is important. We enhance this practice by layering instruction with imagery and play.

Eg. For back floating, the child is encouraged to pretend that they are a pancake and “flip” as they practice. 

Bringing their attention to a special quality within a movement can also improve their focus.

Eg. Making their body as straight as an arrow/like a torpedo for streamlines.

Movement:

A common mistake in teaching classes with young children is to spend too much time on a single activity. For students under five, five minutes on any one thing is usually the maximum. Generally, we try not to spend longer than 10 minutes in any one drill or on any one portion of the class. Children are easily distracted and their attention wanes quickly.

Anticipation:

Repetition and routine are extremely important in a class for children, however, if the same skills are done the same way each week, the children are bound to get bored – by mixing up the same skill with a different creative objective each week it will increase the kids’ anticipation toward participating.

Eg. When taking turns, we may ask each child to pretend to paint the water that colour with their feet as they kick. This method gives the children something to look forward to and think about as they wait for their turn.

Managing, engaging, and interacting with young children in an active setting like a swimming class can be extremely challenging. While there is no magic trick for your child’s teacher, we believe it comes down to thoughtful practice, ongoing training and experience. What’s magical is your child’s confidence as a result of a happy and caring learning aquatic environment.

Are you looking for a fun, educational and safe environment for your child’s swim journey? Let’s talk.

See you next month,

Weronika and the team at Aquatica Swim Academy.

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