5 EASY THINGS YOUR BEGINNER SWIMMER SHOULD BE DOING TO LEARN HOW TO SWIM FASTER
In today's world, we're all too happy to pay a bit more in exchange for needing to do a bit less. We'd rather pay extra to have someone else take care of things for us. And swimming lessons are no different.
Most kids have their learn-to-swim experience almost entirely handed off to a swim coach, where learning only happens at swimming lessons. All parents have to do is pay the tuition, drive to the classes, and sit back and watch.
But that kind of hands-off, no-responsibility approach actually costs you a whole lot more than you might realize.
If you're familiar with us, you probably already know that most kids end up enrolled in swimming lessons for 1 to 3 years. Leaving families spending anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 over that time.
That's crazy. Jeff and I want to offer you a way out of that nonsense.
If you want to save years in weekly swim lessons and thousands of dollars in monthly tuition (and of course you do!), all you have to do are 5 simple things.
1. Take Daily Baths!
We touched on the power of the bath in last week's podcast, but it's worth repeating. You have your own private kiddie pool down the hall and across from your toilet! And it's one of the best places for your beginner swimmer to build confidence and learn foundational swimming skills, like:
- Water comfort
- Water on the face - eyes, nose, and mouth
- Basic breath holding
- Water in the ears
- Basic back floating
The bath is where learning to swim really starts! And it should be the first place kids practice these essential skills. If they can't do them in the bath, there's no way they'll be doing them in the pool!
Here's all you have to do to wring out the most from bath time and make it a successful learning experience.
1. Temperature 100-101: My daughter loves her DreamBaby Duck Bath Thermometer
2. Get some fun water toys that pour, shower, and splash. Here are some of the toys my daughter loves:
3. Give your child the "Freedom to Play" and have fun! Withhold the "No!" and give your child the freedom to splash, drink a little water, move around, explore the water, and play with their toys! Instead of a restrictive bath seat, opt for a non-slip natural rubber bath mat instead. This way, your child can stand up, walk around and play unrestricted (with your hands-on support).
4. Join in and Play! Your child is a lot more likely to do something when they see you do it first and often! If you want your child to get comfortable with running water down their face, allow them to see you pour the water down your face first! I throw on swim trunks and get in the bath with my daughter every night. It's a fun "us" thing. I get to join in with her splashing, and she gets to see me relaxed and comfortable pouring water down my face.
5. 10-15 Minutes a Day (or at least a few times a week)
We love to make bathtime a consistent part of my daughter's evening bedtime routine. We never skip a night! It's such an easy thing to do and is one of the most overlooked ways to speed up the learn-to-swim process.
PRO TIP: Many parents are quick to tell their child "No!" when they splash and "No!" when they drink a little water. But these two things need to be allowed, especially for young kids who don't have full language and understanding yet.
The last thing you want is for your child to drink a sip of bathwater, hear you say "No!" and then think that putting their face near the water is a bad thing not to be repeated. Sounds silly, but it happens all the time.
2. Go to Family Swims!
Many parents quickly write this one off as "too complicated" or "too much of a hassle." Don't! Just think of it as replacing swimming lessons with a family swim! You were already going to be heading to the pool weekly if you signed up for swimming lessons anyway.
If you have a backyard or community pool, you're set - no excuses. If you don't, do a quick Google search of public pools in your area. Most townships, cities, and counties will have a public pool with family swim times available to you (year-round).
Family swim time is superior to swimming lessons with a coach for many reasons. Here's two:
- More swimming! Swimming lessons are only 30 minutes, but kids don't swim that entire time. Especially kids in group lessons (which more are). Those kids only get to swim about 7.5 to 10 minutes… once a week. When you go swimming as a family, it's easy to spend 45 minutes to an hour swimming because time flies when you're having fun! More swimming always means faster learning - because kids learn by doing. Check out our Kids Learn to Swim Through Practice (Not Swim Coaches) blog to learn more.
- More time to play! Kids learn best through play. And it's impossible to play in the water without swimming… which means your child will figure out how to swim for themselves. We call this process Swim Discovery™, and you can read more about it here: https://blog.swimable.com/the-5-freedoms-of-swim-discovery.
If you really want to accelerate your child's learning, go swimming as a family as often as you can! But don't sweat it if you can't find the time to go swimming as a family every week - every other week will still be superior to swimming lessons!
3. Wear a Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket!
Most parents have sadly never even heard of Learn-to-Swim Life Jackets. But they're one of the learn-to-swim industry's best-kept secrets! You can take a deep dive into learning more about them here: https://blog.swimable.com/how-learn-to-swim-life-vests-work.
Here's what you absolutely need to know about Learn-to-Swim Life Jackets - they:
- Accelerate learning! Just like the training wheels on a bike accelerate learning by allowing your child to figure out how to pedal, steer, and brake before they master balance. Learn-to-Swim Life Jackets accelerate learning by allowing children to figure out how to paddle, kick, and breathe before they master floating.
- Keep your child safe while they're still learning how to swim. Kids who aren't strong swimmers yet need help. Most parents put their kids in Puddle Jumpers or hold on to them the entire time they're in the water. Doing either of those things slows down learning because they both prohibit free movement. Learn-to-Swim Life Jackets keep kids safe and allow free movement, which keeps kids learning!
Learn-to-Swim Life Jackets are fantastic learning tools! They're designed with 8-pieces of removable flotation so that as your child makes progress and needs less support, you can remove flotation and actually give them less support. In this way, kids are only supported with the extra help they need for safety.
4. Play SwimAble Kid Learn-to-Swim Games!
Children who do those first three things - take daily baths, wear a Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket, and swim with their family, will learn to swim faster. No question! But we can accelerate their learning even more by playing SwimAble Kid Learn-to-Swim Games.
Playing is fantastic for learning how to swim, but purposeful play is even better! And all of our SwimAble Kid games are designed around purposeful play to help your child master essential swimming skills like:
- Paddle Swimming
- Breath Control
- Treading Water
- Swimming with Toys
- Jumping In
- Going Underwater
- And more!
Other than becoming a SwimAble Kid Member and buying a couple of cheap water toys, there's no increased responsibility for you here! It's as simple as head to the pool, hand them some toys, show them the game on your iPhone or iPad, and let them play!
5. Swim in New Places!
Learning how to swim isn't just about learning how to swim in one familiar location! You want your child comfortable at the lake, ocean, water park, or splash pad too!
This is a great time to remind you about one of the significant downfalls of swimming lessons - kids only end up practicing in one pool! And it's a hyper-controlled, unrealistic swimming environment.
At swimming lessons, the water is unrealistically warm. There aren't any waves, the swimming spaces are short on purpose, and a coach constantly tells them when to kick, pull, and breathe!
In short, swimming lessons are "learning on easy street," and you need your child to be comfortable and able to swim in as many realistic environments as possible! The only way to do that is to make it a point to take them to experience as many different water settings as possible near you!
My family loves to spend time at the lake and our local splash pad. Mixing things up outside the bath and pool allows my daughter to play in different water settings and get comfortable in different swimming environments. Consider giving your child experiences in different conditions, like:
- Water temperature
- Air temperature
- People in the water
- Toys in the water
- Sun glare
- Water depth
- And so much more!
If your child only learns to swim in warm and calm water, they aren't really equipped for other swimming environments. But by mixing things up and introducing your child to different swimming experiences, your child will become more comfortable, confident, and an overall stronger swimmer.
Accelerated Learning with SwimAble Kid
If you’re ready to trade (just a little) more responsibility in exchange for your child learning to swim safer, quicker, and much more affordably, it’s time to join SwimAble Kid.
For only $20 a month, your child will discover how to:
- Enjoy the water
- Get water on their face
- Hold their breath
- Paddle Swim
- Tread Water
- Jump in
- Get in and out of the water safely
- And so much more.
We'll show you how to accelerate your child's learning and keep them safe using a Learn-to-Swim Life Jacket. And we'll tell you exactly when your child is ready to remove flotation and how much to remove so you never have to guess.
All you have to do to get started is:
- Go to SwimAble Kid: https://swimable.com/swimablekid/
- Click on: START YOUR FREE TRIAL to try out SwimAble Kid free for 7-days
- Start watching videos instantly!
SwimAble Kid memberships start at only $20 a month and are proven to help your child learn to swim quicker and safer. Membership also comes with a free 7-day n-risk trial. Join SwimAble Kid and start watching videos instantly!
You've got nothing to lose and can only gain a safer swimmer, quicker.
Until next time. Safer Swimming and Happy Swim Discovery!
JIM Wood, Co-Founder of SwimAble.com
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