Many swim schools recommend that parents stay in the water and participate in their child’s lesson until they reach a certain age. At Splash-A-Bout Swim School, we recommend that parents should participate in their child’s lesson until the child reaches at least 2½ years of age. This belief is based on our philosophy of focusing on the swimmer’s technique, rather than how far they can swim. This philosophy is the foundation for our entire program. In this article, we will discuss the many benefits of parental involvement in the learn to swim process.
Safe and Secure Environment
Parents are able to supervise their own child under the watchful eye of their instructor. It is important that you discuss and practice safety skills with your instructor. These might include a ‘safety slide’ into the water from the side, climbing out independently, swimming back to safety, and only swimming with parental supervision.
Maximum Practice Time
Having parents in the water with their children increases the amount of practice time each child receives. In essence, the parent is helping to teach their child. The parents can keep their swimmer moving, and provide them with the opportunity to constantly practice the skills needed to move through the water. There will always be more practice with a parent in the water, no matter how great your child’s instructor is.
In today’s busy society, there aren’t many opportunities where the parent and child can spend time focused on each other. Technology, siblings, and other activities take up most of the precious time in our daily lives. Swimming lessons offer parent and child a special bonding time. Everything else is left outside the pool and the focus is on the swimming lesson.
Parents can use their hands to physically manipulate the movement of their child’s arms and legs to create great swimmers. This physical manipulation creates neuromuscular patterns between the brain and the muscles. The more these neuromuscular patterns are reinforced, the better the child’s skills will become. Parents should ensure that when they are manipulating their child’s kicking, that they focus on the actions under the water. If the child has a good feel for the water, they can move through the water more effectively. Parents should also ensure that when they manipulate the child’s kicks, that they don’t bend the child’s knees too much. Too much bend in the knee promotes ‘bicycle kicks’, which creates a less effect kicking pattern. If you need help with this, please ask your instructor.
Having parents in the water is a huge help for the instructor. Many parents have different styles of disciplining their children. Parent participation in the water can ensure that this discipline style continues throughout swimming lessons. It can be a difficult task to keep a group of young swimmers on task. Parents can help instructors achieve this by assisting their child within the swimming lesson.
Food For Thought
Having the parent participating in their child’s swimming lesson doesn’t mean that the child needs their help to swim. Your child may already possess the skills to swim unassisted. Be assured that your child will still get the opportunity to practice swimming unassisted throughout our lessons. From our point of view, the benefits of parental involvement in lessons adds value to the learn to swim process. Parental Involvement allows parents, instructors and swimmers to work together. This enables us to produce swimmers with excellent technique, good feel for the water, and a love for safe swimming.