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!