Even more reasons for your child to swim

A third of children leave primary school without being able to swim, and drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death in children. How well can your child swim?

The latest research by Swim England has shown that 1 in 3 children are still leaving primary school unable to swim. One of the factors leading to this is that 40% of children who cannot swim are not even offered the opportunity to learn to swim at school. Unfortunately as austerity continues and education budgets stagnate further. skills that are deemed ‘non essential’ to the academic experience will be the ones to suffer first and most severely., despite the fact that swimming is part of the national curriculum. Most schools in East Yorkshire are only able to offer 10 lessons a year to year 3 and 4 pupils. This is both too late and too limited to allow for effective learning of this vital skill. Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental deaths in children and something that should be given greater attention. Swimming is an essential life skill and it is critical that it is learned from an early age.

According to a recent government report children between the ages of 5-18 should be exercising for at least one hour every day. Swimming lessons are a perfect way to ensure your child gets this exercise while also teaching them necessary life skills. These skills are not just limited to swimming, exercise, especially swimming encourages children to have a more positive attitude, make new friends and helps in the battle against obesity, which has been shown in a recent NHS report to be on the rise again.

Clare Swimming provides the perfect environment for your child to learn to swim. All children are taught on a one to one basis, enabling individual attention with a programme designed around the particular needs of each child.

Swimwear or Sink wear? What is your child wearing in the pool?

When it comes to helping your child float, it’s easy to over look the obvious.

There are loads of quick and easy things a parent can do to assist their child in gaining basic swimming skills rapidly. For all the discussions about different flotation aids and the different methods of teaching, sometimes it is easy to overlook the obvious. That is that what they are wearing in the water, makes all the difference to their ability to float and move in the water.

Children have a big enough challenge trying to float and learn to propel themselves in the water without being hindered by inappropriate swimwear that drags them under.

For girls the worst culprits are swimsuits with skirts and two piece bikini /tankini’s which the children spend most of the time trying to hold up.

For boys it is baggy beach/surf shorts.

There is no reason a child can’t have a princess/Barbie/mermaid costume, just ditch the skirt and for the boys, Superhero trunks are fine, just make sure they are stretchy and tight fitting.

The other really easy option is to buy a suitable but inexpensive swim suit for swimming lessons and keep the beach shorts and tutus for on the beach. Suitable children’s swimwear is available at all the supermarket chains for between £3 and £6.

Quality or Quantity?

Is the number of children in a lesson the most important issue, or is the quality of the teacher more important?

Quality or Quantity? The perennial question.

Should you get your child on the waiting list for the lessons at the local pool as early as possible and then once they have a place keep going regardless until you are happy that they can swim to the level you want them to?

Should you start parent and baby lessons from 6 weeks old?

Would they do better with one-to-one lessons?

The answer to all those questions is maybe, possibly.

The most important thing is that the quality of the lessons is such that the children are engaged and swimming . Yes it’s that obvious, given that most beginner lessons are about 30 minutes, the amount of down time a child has in each lesson is highly significant. If they are spending a lot of time hanging onto the side of the pool waiting for their turn or chatting and playing with the child next to them then this obviously impacts their learning.

Children need to be engaged and swimming if they are to learn, observe how long your child is actively engaged with the teacher and actually swimming.

The lesson needs to be happy and the children need to want to be there and engage with the teacher.

Unhappy children do not only not engage or learn, they distract other children in the class. How does the teacher/swim school deal with this issue? Do they have a no crying policy? or does the teacher have to try and teach while comforting a distressed child?

Does the teacher praise the learners for good work BUT also be proactive in addressing areas of need

Is there variety in the lesson? Children need predictability in terms of expectations of behaviour but they also need some variety so that different skills are practised and they are kept interested in their lessons.

Teachers need to be engaged with their pupils, they should know their names and make them feel part of the lessons. (Does the teacher know anything about ‘Jodie’….that she has a sister? or hates chocolate? or goes swimming regularly with granddad?) These minor details make a lot of difference when it comes to the child trusting the adult and feeling valued.

The teacher should also have clear goals this assists not only the teacher and children but also the parents in knowing in understanding the progression being aimed for.