Mini Mantas Blog
Naturally, you’ll want your son or daughter’s first swimming lesson to go as smoothly as it possibly can. As nerve-jangling as the experience may seem on the surface, there are several things you can do to ensure your child emerges from the pool with a big grin on their face.
Staying to watch their first lesson and offering words of praise after they’ve dried themselves down can make a huge difference, but the key to a happy swimmer is the instructor leading the session. We’ve highlighted the most important swimming teacher traits below, giving you everything you need to find a top-notch instructor.
Not all swimming instructors will have experience teaching young children, and these coaches will have high expectations of their classes. Ideally, your child needs a teacher who specialises in leading beginner classes. This way, you know your son or daughter will be involved in the kind of session that doesn’t put them out of their depth.
Every child is different and it’s important to find an instructor who is a good fit for your son or daughter. If your little one is having a bit of trouble adapting to the water, you’ll need to find a patient, calm teacher who knows how to talk to children on their level. Other children are easily distracted, and in these instances a friendly but commanding instructor with the ability to grab people’s attention will be more appropriate.
You know your child better than anyone – so use this knowledge to narrow your search for the right type of teacher.
The ability to fuse fun with discipline is a trait that all swimming instructors should possess – giving children a space to learn important skills whilst enjoying themselves in the process.
A balanced teacher will know how to let your son or daughter feel at ease whilst still helping their progress. Under the supervision of a well-adjusted instructor, your child will develop useful techniques and absorb vital safety knowledge without even realising.
In most cases, anyone teaching a beginner’s class will be well trained in water safety for inexperienced swimmers, but checking never does any harm. You’ll want the best person for the job here – someone who can keep your child completely safe.
Always ask to hear an instructor’s set of qualifications before you agree to let them teach your child. It’ll offer you peace of mind knowing you have the best person for the job.
In order to prepare your child for their first session with a swimming tutor, get them used to being in the water beforehand. The more time they spend around pools, the calmer they’ll be when they turn up for their inaugural swimming lesson. And when it comes to developing confidence, there’s no better swimming aid than the Mani.
This superb flotation device is designed to help children swim right out of their comfort zone and perfect their technique in the process – giving them every chance of impressing their instructor right from the off. Learn more about the Mani now.
In Britain, we’re always ready for the warmer weather when it does decide to venture our way. Al fresco dining options are plentiful and outdoor festivals kick into action every year, but where the UK really excels in the summer is in its superb range of waterparks.
When your child develops confidence around swimming pools, you can whisk them away to one of these wild water-themed venues and watch them have the time of their lives. There are many waterparks in Britain worth visiting, and we’ve done our research to bring you a list of the best in the country.
What better place to begin than the biggest waterpark in the whole of Wales? Formerly a Swansea leisure centre, the LC has since been converted into a sizeable splash-tastic venue with snaking tubes and slides. The whirlpool and lazy river offer a spot for those who would rather avoid the adrenaline rush, but if your little one is a bit of a daredevil, they can enjoy the mini slides and fountains designed specifically for kids, or even hop aboard the surfing simulator.
If you’re based in the Midlands, you’ll be delighted to hear there’s a wickedly fun waterpark just a stone’s throw from your doorstep. Waterworld in Stoke-on-Trent is one of Britain’s most popular holiday venues, attracting the best part of half-a-million visitors every year. It’s easy to see why, of course: There are as many as 30 different rides and activities across indoor and outdoor arenas, including an interactive jungle house, toddler slides, and wave pools.
Blackpool has long been a tourist hotspot for its amusement parks and beaches, but one of the best reasons to visit this famous corner of the North West is Sandcastle. The largest indoor waterpark in Britain, this gigantic waterpark is home to a variety of white-knuckle rides, but is equally suitable for kids: with sleepy lagoons to splash around in and mini ships to explore.
Stationed down south? You’re in luck. The mighty Splashdown in Poole is one of Dorset’s biggest and best attractions. This terrific venue has an exciting selection of water-themed activities for toddlers and older children alike, including starter flumes, water cannons, play areas, and even a little snorkelling section! There are also slides designed for families to ride together, as well as a series of intense tube rides for the risk-takers.
When you’re getting bits and bobs together for your waterpark excursion, don’t forget to bring along the Mani! This British-made swimming aid is designed to help your child perfect their technique and adjust to life in the water. Whether you decide take a dip in the main pool or go for a drift down the lazy river, the Mani is what your little one needs to feel confident and stay safe. Learn more about our superb flotation device before you book your tickets to one of UK’s best waterparks!
We’re officially in the depths of summertime. Barbecue kits are flying off the shelves, sunglasses are selling by the bucket load, and the coastlines have morphed into makeshift homes for tourists. When you’re a parent, the hotter months are full of fun-filled days out and family excitement, and whilst stocking up on summer survival kit (like suncream and bottled water) for your kids is important, you should also use this time of year to champion swimming.
With climates at baking level, few children will need much encouragement to take a paddle in the local pool. Listed here are the reasons why you should gently keep nudging them in the direction of the water before summer ends
Time is on your side
The summer holidays never feel long enough for children, but for adults they can seem a little tricky to fill. Six weeks of no school means you’ll have to repeatedly think up new plans to keep your little ones entertained, and there are few better ways to make the most of the extra time than by taking them swimming.
Becoming a skilled swimmer doesn’t happen overnight: it takes practice. During the summer, there’s a unique window of opportunity to give your children the chance to learn at their own pace without feeling hurried.
Most schools enrol children into swimming classes from a relatively early age, acknowledging the importance of how to stay safe in the water. When your child returns to school following a full summer’s worth of swimming practice, they’ll have a head start on their classmates, boasting skills that can make a real splash.
Experts agree that the earlier a child learns to swim, the better, so by spending big chunks of the holiday playing in the pool, your little one will develop a wide array of essential skills at an important time – not to mention confidence.
Opportunities are rife
Another reason to embrace swimming during the summer is that the opportunities to jump in the pool are plentiful. A lot of local leisure centres clear space in their schedules for additional sessions, and some pool-based venues host a number of special summer events that offer children the opportunity to swim and socialise simultaneously.
You’re also bound to venture out to the beach at some point between now and September. So why not take your child along to the shoreline to splash about in the sea during your visit? It will enhance their awareness of water safety and give you a chance to see their skills progress.
If you’re looking to help your child get involved in swimming this summer, grabbing the Mani is the best place to begin. This float offers your son or daughter the ideal support system in the water, giving them a crucial sense of self-assurance and facilitating flexibility so they can hone their swimming technique. Check it out here and enjoy the rest of the holidays spending quality time with your little one in the blue, cool water.
One of the best things about swimming is that it gives children frequent morale-building feedback. For every new length of the pool they reach, they’ll earn themselves an accolade, steadily swimming their way from 5 metre achievements all the way into the hundreds.
But before all the certificates, trophies, and medals, there are much more important milestones that children have to hit. We’ve listed all the checkpoints your child should pass as they develop their swimming technique – with each one representing a legitimate indicator of real progress.
The inaugural milestone for any young child is entering the water and staying there willingly. Some will have no reservations whatsoever and happily let you carry them into the blue ripples ahead. Others won’t like it at all – perhaps even resorting to kicking and screaming if they feel particularly uncertain about visiting this new realm.
This is where you need to stay as patient, upbeat, and smiley as possible. Treat the whole thing like an adventure, and splash around in the shallow end on your own in full view of your child, exclaiming how fun it all is. A little persistence will convince your little one to let you carry them into the water. It’s all about baby steps. And when your child decides to brave the pool, milestone one is officially complete.
Forever blowing bubbles
After your child has had time to get used to the new environment and developed some self-assurance, it’s time to show them the difference between being above and below water. To start with, dip below the water yourself for a second or two – showing them there’s nothing to be afraid of. Blowing bubbles whilst you’re under the surface will not only seem light-hearted and amusing, it will also teach your child a bit about breathing.
A good way to convince your little one to duck underwater with you is to grab a pair of goggles each. This way, you can see one another whilst you’re submerged and exchange a cheeky thumbs-up.
Paddling and floating
Your child’s early swimming sessions will be predominantly spent in the shallow part of the pool, but as they become familiar with the water, the next milestone they need to achieve is swimming without your support.
Mani is the perfect example of a floating device that gives children a way to bob above the surface all on their own, freeing up their legs so they can learn how to kick and paddle their way from A to B. The longer they swim without holding onto you, the more self-reliant they’ll become.
Their first swimming lesson
Once your child knows the basics and understands a bit more about the water, the next step is to enrol them in a swimming class. Here they can learn how to become stronger, more assured, and better swimmers on a weekly basis.
After completing their first swimming lesson, the milestones will be set by the coaches and will be far more focused on distance and technique. But the important thing to remember is there’s never any rush. Every child develops at their own pace.
Take the swimming journey one step at a time in those early days, and instil your child with the confidence they need to hit those all-important pool milestones. With the right attitude and support, your little one will be splashing about confidently in no time.
“We never had lessons back in my day.” Sound familiar? Your mother or father has probably said it at some point, proud of the fact they learnt to swim without an instructor by their side.
Sure, that’s impressive. But times have changed. Swimming lessons are everywhere now and are readily accessible for parents who want their kids to learn a vital life skill in a safe environment.
But are the older people right? Are lessons really necessary? Let’s take a look…
Make an early splash
We all have different recollections of our first swimming lesson. For some, it’s a mish-mash of memories about splashing around in a few small inches of water. For others, it’s a collection of crystal clear images of deep pools and a slight sense of panic.
The younger you begin your swimming lessons, the likelier you are to remember them fondly. Very young kids are eased into the water at a gradual pace and are often none the wiser about the potential pitfalls of pools. Older kids/adults, on the other hand, are often aware of the dangers, and regard swimming with greater suspicion.
Whilst it’s never too late to learn how to swim, it gets harder to convince someone to dip their toes in the water the older they get.
Confidence in the pool
The benefits of starting swimming lessons at an early age leads us nicely into our second point: the confidence teaching can provide.
Having a professional swimmer showing your child the ropes can enhance their mental strength as well as their physical wellbeing. Whenever they attend classes, your son/daughter will interact with other kids, receive constructive feedback, and begin to think of swimming as second nature.
With an expert watching over them, your child will begin to recognise their steadily-improving ability, which will give them a sense of self-assurance whenever they are around water. And confidence is a crucial factor in becoming a strong swimmer.
Powering to the finish line faster
You can teach your child to swim yourself, and whilst they’ll trust you, they may also take advantage of your good nature and perhaps not push themselves quite as hard as they could.
If your child participates in regular swimming lessons, their technique, strength, and talent will get better with every single session. The people leading these classes are paid to inspire improvement, and will be able to spot flaws that you might miss (or are reluctant to point out).
Swimming lessons enable your child to power to the finish line faster, learning and improving at a much quicker pace than they would if they were simply left alone to splash around ‘til their heart’s content.
Mini Mantas have the perfect support device for young children who are first learning to swim. The Mani is a float that helps your child to position their body in the best possible way, so they can hone their technique. If you’d like to learn more about our products, get in touch with the team today using our contact form.
Getting waterborne is a big step in a child’s life, but it doesn’t have to be a leap they find daunting. With you at their side, they can giggle, splash and play in the water, attentions soaked up by a game you’ve introduced either as participant or referee. Before long, they’ll become aquatic superstars without even realising it!
That’s because we learn best when we’re having fun. Whether you’re at the pool with one child or several, here are five forms of edutainment to throw out into their swim sessions.
1. Mermaid races
You’ll need goggles for this, but we’re guessing they’re already part of your swim arsenal – children can’t get enough of the underwater perspective! For two or more swimmers, task them with racing to the other end of the pool, seeing who can hold their breath for the greatest amount of time. By putting a submerged caveat on the game, you’ll be testing their breath control and stamina.
2. A pool singalong
Does your child know any action-based songs, like ‘Ring Around The Rosy’ or a rhyme that lets them clap their hands? Ask them to perform it in the water: the familiar motions, combined with yours, will make a boy or girl used to the motion effects. They’ll build up strength, and you can introduce another element by going underwater and spinning them by their legs – if they can still perform the song and dance, faster and faster, they win!
3. The trampoline
One of the scariest challenges for a child is jumping in unaided. To boost their confidence, sit them on the poolside, and stand in the shallows with your arms open and ready. They can then fall into the water, landing in your grip; once there, you can lift them up and down like a bouncing trampoline. Eventually, your son or daughter will get bolder about the jump, leading them to crash into the water by themselves.
4. Catching ‘fish’
This is a fantastic competition, although it can also be a timed game for lone swimmers. It does, however, need a bit of space in your side of the pool, as you’ll be planting inflatable toys around the water’s surface. One by one, kids have to catch the fish and bring them to you – those who retrieve the most are victorious. Sing along if you like: ‘1-2-3-4-5, once I caught a fish alive!’…
Haven’t heard of noseball before? That’s because we invented the name, despite it being a popular choice for kids of all swim abilities. Fill up balloons with water so they float, or use a pack of ping pong balls; whatever the preferred item, set up a pair of little goal posts to aim for at the closest pool edge. Give your child a swimming aid like the Mani, on which they can lie flat and push a ball towards the goal with their nose. Keep going, and call out encouragement until all the balls have been used to score.
There are far more than five games to explore… By dipping into some research, you’ll have an unbeatable set of activities for your kids to savour and develop with. Supported by a swim aid and your untiring encouragement, your child will find that learning curve a lot less steep.
We don’t all take to the water naturally. Some children find learning to swim more difficult than others, but it’s a key skill that your child must develop to stay safe in the water. To help find their aquatic groove, they must relish the idea of going back to the pool with you.
So, how do you turn a scary proposition into one they can’t get enough of? Here are some easy ways to make swimming more enjoyable for children.
Embrace positive reinforcement
Firstly, children have to realise that you’re on their side. A trip to the local leisure centre with mum or dad shouldn’t be a chore. Moreover, they have to feel encouraged; this makes positive reinforcement essential, celebrating milestones big and little.
Keep smiling, and resist showing fatigue if they’re taking a while to learn something. Every child develops at their own pace. They need plenty of “Yes!”, “You can do it!”, and “Just a few more strokes!” while they’re getting waterborne.
Introduce a game or two
Playing games is a great way to inspire and delight your children in the pool. What’s more, educational swimming games can strengthen their skillset and focus their mind on achieving a goal.
A popular one is Talk To The Fishes, whereby you ask your son or daughter to blow bubbles into the water. Then, you ask them to repeat what the ‘fishies’ are saying back to them: an imagined (and likely adorable) conversation gets them used to submerged breath control.
Another, more suited to children of three years and up, is the shark game – basically tag with a watery twist. With a swim aid like Mani to support your child’s kicking, task them with chasing you. When they reach you, you’re the shark, and you should tag them back, letting them hone leg strength and turning abilities.
Treat them afterwards!
When we were young, our parents might buy us a fizzy drink from the pool café, grinning while we slurped it down. This is only a small treat, but it’s a powerful form of positive reinforcement – linking swimming to things that your children already love.
Why not take your child out for a quick bite to eat, or let them have the pick of a movie at the cinema? Alternatively, tie swimming into other plans at the weekend, like visiting friends and family after you’ve finished at the pool. There are loads of ways to associate positive rewards with a swimming lesson, and you don’t have to break the budget.
Beyond all of this, your child will benefit hugely from a swimming aid like Mani. It’s more than a float – it’s your friend in the water, supporting your child at each stage of the swimming journey and enabling games that will improve their technique. See what we’re all about, and order your Mani today for those good times ahead!
Remember those first summer trips abroad? The sand was plastered to our heels, and our parents would spread a beach blanket down, happily encouraging us to swim in the water where they could see us. Now that you’re a parent, you probably want to recapture those flashes of sun, sea salt and breaking waves with your own child…
However, the ocean can be dangerous for young swimmers, much more so than a pool. Whilst most mums and dads understand this, what is it, really, that makes open water swimming so different? Let’s investigate:
Currents are unpredictable
The loudest, most pertinent issue on your mind – and ours – is likely to be the sheer unpredictable quality of an ocean or river, at least compared to a swimming pool.
Open water doesn’t have limits, and can’t be controlled. Indeed, it puts you at the whim of a current, which is tough to detect until you’re in the water. Unlike you, it will never tire, and it’s incredibly hard to fight against.
Plenty of strong, capable swimmers have fallen prey to a current when they least expect it. A pool, by contrast, is stable and measured, with an even motion across the length of the water.
Top tip: Look out for beach flags and warning signs before swimming in the sea.
Pools are warmer
When we swim, we flex our muscles a lot, pin-wheeling our feet and arms. And since exercise heats us up, that surely keeps us toasty in all kinds of conditions, right?
Well, to an extent that’s true. But the ocean is far colder than a heated swimming pool. The temperature is also prone to sudden drops. We mustn’t forget that too much time there can induce hypothermia, which makes it very tricky to swim back to shore.
Top tip: Stick to the shallows and bays where the water tends to be warmer.
Foresight is hard to gain in open water
When we look at a pool, we can suss it out pretty quickly. There’s the ‘deep/shallow’ divide; there are the steps; there’s a life guard if anything goes wrong. The sea, however, is much harder to judge effectively.
For instance, you might jump in for a swim around a cove, only to realise that the rocks are too slimy to grip when you’re ready to come out. Changing tides are another factor; they can be pernicious, especially when you lose track of time.
Also, how can you be sure of the depth? Sea beds don’t conform to our wishes. They dip and rise at random. So it’s a good idea to test out the area yourself before giving the children free reign of the seaside.
Top tip: If you’re unsure, ask a local. They should be able to advise on safe areas to swim.
We don’t want to dissuade you from an open water experience. After all, it’s a true highlight of a holiday abroad. Practice swimming techniques in the pool, and follow these tips in the ocean, to embrace the joys of open water swimming. They’ll gain confidence in no time at all…
As we hurtle towards the Easter holidays and look forward to long sunny days with our families, no doubt many of us are packing our bags and booking flights. Sunny destination - check. Shorts - check. Sunglasses - check. Swimming costume - check.
As you jet off to warmer climes, it’s easy to relax and let safety out of your mind. The sun is warm, everyone’s having fun cooling off in the water - but there are a few things to consider when swimming with children on holiday to keep them safe:
Although you might be able to catch a nice tan while stretched out on the beach, the sea won’t always be warm, especially if you’re on the Atlantic coastline. When you’re swimming with children in the sea, be conscious of the water temperature.
Cold water can seize up muscles and make it difficult to swim, which can pose a real danger to young children - even confident swimmers. What is comfortable for you might be too cold for them, in which case limit the swimming time and make sure you have towels and clothes nearby.
Tides are tricky to keep an eye on, but easy to avoid. If you are by the sea and not paying attention, you run the risk of being swept out or trapped by a tide that can rise and fall frighteningly fast. Do some simple research beforehand to find out what time the tides are high and low, and plan your trip around that. A little preparation will let you explore the seaside with your family safely, and to your heart’s content.
The sun is one of the biggest hidden threats of the holiday season. Swimming is one of the best ways to cool off on a hot day, but it’s easy to forget about the sun once you are in the water.
Apply plenty of sunscreen before going in the sea, and reapply after they have finished swimming. The higher the factor the better, especially with young children. Take plenty of water with you to keep the kids hydrated, even if they don’t feel thirsty.
You should also limit exposure to direct sunlight, so don’t swim for too long in the sea. Take breaks to retreat to the shade, otherwise your children risk suffering with heatstroke, which is sure to put a dampener on the rest of the holiday.
The beach might be pleasantly sandy, but be mindful of rocks hidden in the water. Seek out swimming advice before you go to the beach. If there’s a lifeguard, ask them about anything you need to be wary of. Stay away from cliffs too, as rocks could dislodge and fall from above.
These tips don’t just apply to holidays abroad, either. Bear them in mind when travelling to Cornwall, or the Suffolk coast, or when paddling in the Hebrides. It doesn’t take much to have a good time when swimming with children on holiday, but it doesn’t take much to ruin it. Be aware, be sensible, and be safe, and you can enjoy your Easter escape care-free.
Aren’t humans amazing? Born to walk on the land, we’re also - when guided - perfectly capable in the water. People have been swimming since before civilisation began, and the techniques haven’t evolved a huge amount in that time. What we have done is refine them, to get our children comfortable and safe in the water much quicker.
Mini Mantas has broken down what it takes to learn to swim into three easy stages of development. Let’s take a look at them here.
Stage 1: Familiarity
This initial phase is all about getting comfortable. You don’t run before you can walk, so why should you swim before you can paddle?
Stage 1 nurtures confidence and a love of the water through exploration. Much of our early development comes through play and a curiosity of the world around us. Whether that’s exploring the rooms of your own home, rummaging in the garden, or playing in the swimming pool. It’s an important process, and certainly not one that can be rushed.
Mani’s natural buoyancy provides security and comfort. It allows the child to focus on one thing at a time and gives plenty of room for the parent to be hands-on. Having a textured, secure floating device is the best way to encourage children to be at ease in the water before moving onto phase 2.
Stage 2: Independence
Stage 2 only comes about when the child is confident and happy in the water. The time this takes can be different from person to person, but it should become pretty clear when they’re ready.
Once they are familiar with the water and the pool environment, it’s time for the parent to take a step back. Phase 2 is all about independence. That doesn’t mean total unaided swimming, however, because Mani can remain as a secure platform for both front and back swimming even when the parents are watching from the side. Supporting the head out of the water reduces fear and builds strength.
Above all, it gives children the confidence to explore the pool to their heart’s content. Under the parent’s watchful eye, Mani helps nurture independence. A distance that may have previously seemed too great is now easily manageable.
Here, we’re a big step towards complete independent swimming. But there is always room for improvement…
Stage 3: Techniques & Play
Playing in the water is the best way to improve a child’s swimming techniques and confidence. It’s a case of putting into practice everything they have learned so far, and then working on those skills in a fun and relaxed environment.
There are plenty of ways Mani can be used in the water. It supports all the key foundations of front and back swimming strokes, and gives the child something to play with. It encourages creativity through games, while promoting safety at the same time.
Mani is an unbeatable way to guide your children through the three key stages of learning to swim. Build confidence, reduce fear and become closer as a family by remembering: familiarity; independence; techniques & play. With a little bit of encouragement and support, your child will be jumping in at the deep end in no time.
As a proud parent, you want to launch your child into a realm of new experiences, many of which are going to stick with them forever. Swimming is certainly one: it offers both protection and enjoyment, wherever water abounds, and it forms a key part of our physical skillset.
To make the learning curve a little less sharp, many companies tout swimming aids for children, claiming they’re a common-sense purchase as your son or daughter gets used to the pool. But how much truth lies within these essential claims for your cash?
The right kind of transition
A child, more often than not, will find the water scary at first. This period can last for weeks, months or years, depending on how naturally they take to swimming lessons. As soon as they’re comfortable, though, they discover what a joy swimming can be – all it takes is gentle support to prove their fear is ungrounded.
Swim aids are able to banish your child’s reservations about aquatic movement. Arm bands are the traditional starting point, helping a youngster focus on the sensation of the water and providing security. They are, however, quite limited when it comes to body position, leg kicking and movement around the pool.
The Mani buoyancy aid has a different, more inclusive approach. It is structured to get children in the correct body position (parallel to the water plane) and encourage leg kicking from the very beginning. The flexibility of the form and integrated handle offers multiple ways for the product to be held, supporting them through learning the foundations of all swimming strokes, on the front and back.
It’s vital they understand how posture, stamina and co-ordination align – just placing them in armbands, or a floating water ring, isn’t going to prepare them for this.
Function over flash
So many toys are built around bright colours, weird shapes and strange textures. Choosing such features for a play accessory is all well and good, but those same priorities shouldn’t be a clincher for your swim aid purchase. Some manufacturers opt for a quirky, superfluous design, rather than focusing on creating a robust swimming aid.
As a result, many parents waste money on kit that doesn’t function to a high standard. Instead of focusing on safety and learning, certain manufacturers prioritise the novelty factor – rubber rings, shark fins and other items that are designed more for play than progression.
Again, Mani swerves in another direction, by exhibiting the right properties for a child’s development. This is without compromising on cool colour tones, or a mould that’s pleasing to the eye; the difference is that Mani accommodates every stage of the learning cycle. As an example, you can easily grip the sides of the board, guiding your child in the water.
With so much pressure landing on a child’s formative years, you should avoid swimming aids that don’t cut the mustard. Choose a model that picks you up in all the best ways, to make the journey a smooth and enjoyable one for you and your child.
If you want to give your children a good leg up in life, teach them to swim as young as possible. But fear of the water is a common phobia at any age - especially in toddlers and young children. It can be difficult to encourage them to swim when they’re afraid of the pool or sea, but overcoming this early will benefit them greatly later on.
So how exactly can you help your child overcome their fear of water? Read on for a few helpful tips…
Start small, think big
Overcoming a phobia doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process that requires persistence. Begin with small steps and exposure to the pool. This might consist of just standing in the shallows or playing in ankle-deep water to get your child used to the feel of the water on their body.
Avoid putting pressure on your child or rushing into anything. Spend plenty of time in the safe shallows before encouraging them to move into slightly deeper water. And at every step, be sure to give your child plenty of constant positive encouragement and praise.
Make a splash
Many children have concerns about getting their faces wet. A great place to help overcome this is in the bathroom in the evenings. Encourage splashing and the feeling of the water on skin in a controlled environment before moving onto the pool.
When easing your child into the water, splash about in the shallows to help them get used to the smell and feel of the chlorine. You might want to buy goggles to begin with, and remove them once he or she is feeling more comfortable.
Swimming with friends
Public pools can be uncomfortable places. Try swimming with friends and family to give your child reassurance that there is nothing to worry about. Some familiar faces bobbing about in the water can really help to enforce a positive response to swimming, whether it’s the grandparents, cousins, neighbours, or school friends.
Bring floating devices
When everyone’s happy to move into deeper water, it’s always comforting to have a bit of a lifeline. Bring a floating device, like Mani, that your child can hold on to for safety and peace of mind as they learn to swim.
Make it fun!
Swimming is important, but it’s also fun. Your child shouldn’t ever think that what they are doing is work. Make a game of it, blow bubbles, and try playing with toys in the water - water pistols, rubber ducks - just enjoy it. Take them into the bath as well so gradually they begin to associate water with fun.
Overcoming phobias is all about doing a little and doing it often. Be patient, be persistent, and be positive, and your child will be jumping in at the deep end in no time.
Ready to make friends with the water? For more guidance on introducing your little one to swimming, get in touch with Mini Mantas.
“They take to it like a duck to water!” You may have heard this phrase uttered when watching someone have a blast with their favourite hobby, or proving themselves in a fresh challenge. The urge to swim forms this simile because, for many kids and adults, it is a joy to be in the water, crossing another stage of our capabilities in life.
It’s rarely too early to introduce your child to swimming – the sooner they begin, the likelier they are to dive straight in. Here, we take a look at the benefits of doing so:
1. Great physical health
Swimming is one of the few exercises that works every part of our body. Chest, arms, shoulders, legs, abdominals… it’s an unbeatable way to foster strength and fitness, while preventing childhood obesity. Everyone knows that glazed, pleasurably tired sensation you get stepping out of the pool; it’s a beautiful gift to impart on children from a young age.
2. Improved co-ordination
Apart from the health benefits your child will accrue, there’s no denying that swimming forces us to co-ordinate arm, leg and head movements. It allows children to test out their physical capabilities. These skills are vital when they start to pick up other sports, which means you’ll be giving them a primer for other hobbies.
3. Safety awareness
Water may be a wonderful thing, but it can also be dangerous for non-swimmers. Learning to swim early will give you peace of mind that your child knows what to do if they fall into a pool, or get caught in a tide. The more your son or daughter gets used to the slap of the water on their skin, the calmer they’ll be should they trip or become submerged accidentally.
4. Banish fears
Some children are all too aware of the dangers water presents, putting them off swimming altogether. These fears tend to manifest themselves in older children who haven’t been exposed to water at a young age; an early introduction, on the other hand, will give your child confidence and prevent fear from setting in.
5. Social skills
Swimming lessons can also prove invaluable in helping your child develop their social skills. Team exercises and competitive games bring kids of all ages together, and can often lead to making friends outside the pool.
6. A pursuit for life
Beyond the practical benefits of learning to swim early, you’re giving your child a pursuit that they are likely to enjoy for life. A long swim can calm our thoughts when they’re racing; at the same time, it can be incredibly stimulating. Children who absorb these truisms early will carry them for decades.
We believe that every child should be given the gift of swimming; it’s our mission to provide you and your family with the support to see swim tuition through to the end. When they become a veritable seal in the water, you won’t regret taking the initiative! Just getting started? See how our Mani swimming aid can help your pup master the waves…
Swimming is a skill for life. Grasping it in childhood not only opens up the possibilities of countless water sports; it also gives you peace of mind that your child will be a safe and confident swimmer beyond the age of supervision.
But when should your child learn to swim? Should you take the plunge with a water baby, or wait until the time feels right? It’s something of a grey area amongst parents, and one that Mini Mantas is here to shed some light on:
Learning to love the water
Baby swim sessions are incredibly popular, and for good reason. Familiarising your child with the water as an infant can prevent the common fear of pools and oceans in later life.
Parents and their babies can attend these classes from as early as six weeks. They aren’t, however, swimming lessons in the traditional sense; while your baby may learn the basics of balance, don’t expect them to learn how to swim at this stage.
Getting to grips with the basics
As your tot gains strength and confidence, you can begin to consider swimming tuition. Most welcome children from 18-24 months, supervised by parents and the swim instructor.
These lessons will focus on teaching your child to swim alone, supported by a buoyancy aid. This is where Mani comes into its own, providing stability and safety as your little one grasps the basic techniques of swimming.
Building on success
Once your child is able to swim the length of a pool unaided, you are able to leave the rest in the hands of a swim instructor. Children tend to take traditional swimming lessons from ages 3+; many primary schools include these in their curriculum.
While swimming lessons aren’t essential, they will help your child to master some key skills, including breaststroke, backstroke and front crawl, as well as diving into the pool and swimming underwater.
Swimming badges can recognise their achievements, building your child’s confidence and reaffirming their progress. Don’t worry about the pace at which your child is learning; everyone is different depending on when they start and their natural abilities.
Advanced swimming lessons
As your child moves into secondary school, you’ll probably have a firm grasp of how much they enjoy swimming, and how much they excel at it. Based on this, you may decide to explore advanced swimming lessons, diving school or a lifeguard academy.
Armed with the support and encouragement of their parents, your child can foster a lifelong passion for the water. Just make sure that you are sensitive to their progress, and only push them as far as they feel comfortable.
It all starts with those cautious first splashes in the pool. Slow and steady most certainly wins the race when incentivising your child’s development, and we are proud to support your child’s swimming journey at every stroke. Seeking further advice? We’d love to hear from you.