You arrive at the pool; you may have been before to have a look and book in, or you may have booked over the phone or internet. So as you enter you may be feeling a bit anxious, nervous or excited and are wondering what to expect.
It’s important to remember that whatever you are feeling your child is also feeling, so as you enter you would normally expect someone to greet you with a smile, ask your name and show you who your instructor will be.
As an instructor myself I notice new children are often shy and will stick close to their parents, so I will usually give them a sneaky smile even if that child is with another instructor. Hopefully this makes both you and you’re your child a little more comfortable.
Your son or daughter will be watching the lessons from the moment they enter the pool. If the instructor is loud and boisterous with the other children in the previous class this may make your child either more anxious or excited.
As an instructor it is important to start building a relationship with your child from the beginning. I generally comment on their togs or clothes, tell them that I think look pretty or cool and make sure I keep smiling!
When it’s your child’s turn to enter the water, the instructor should call out his or her name and you should both go up to the instructor and introduce yourselves.
As a parent myself and an instructor, I am always watching the clock. Some of us do and some of us don’t, but if the lesson is only 20 minutes I want to ensure that my child gets the most out of their 20 minutes in the water!
I have had parents sit on the side of the pool with stopwatches and time how long their child has been swimming. In a half an hour lesson her daughter got 7 minutes of actual swim time. As parents we are paying for a 30minute swim class, you should expect at least 25-30 minutes of actual swim time. Each child should get an equal amount of time with the instructor during the lesson.
Children should be sent across the pool in groups or one at a time in a circuit and the activities will be done as a class. I normally have a class of 4 children. Two children will go across the pool I will help one and look at the other at the same time. On the way back across the pool the other child will be helped.
The instructor should be manipulating the children and should be specifically commending, recommending and then commending. Children love to be encouraged and praised, this is why saying something positive before telling them what they need to work on will ensure a great result.
“Sally your kick was amazing but next time try and reach out as far as you can with your arms. I loved those fast legs well done.”
Sometimes preschoolers do need some down time on the side of the pool to have a little play, and this is ok, but usually an instructor will allow time for this while they are taking another child across the pool.
Instructors should try and engage with you as the parent/caregiver in the class. Children love swimming and showing off for their parents or family. I have had a parent come to swimming lessons every week, sit and read a magazine, and then complain at the end of the term that they didn’t see any backstroke being done. As a parent it is important to watch and engage with your child’s lesson. This is how they progress and get better.
Things that a good instructor will know and do!
- They will know your child’s name
- They will be able to see an anxious child and work with it, by talking to the child and building trust
- They will never force or push your child under the water
- Your child will have maximum swim time
- Your instructor will be timely, encouraging and positive
- Have fun and play games
- They will understand how to correct a fault in the stroke.
- Teach your child as an individual
Instructors are usually very patient, encouraging positive people who generally have a passion and love for their job. Most of the time they go out of their way to ensure you are happy and that your child is progressing and getting the most out of their swimming lessons.
Find a good swimming instructor and try and hold onto them because they will do wonders for your children!
For more information or to book a swimming lesson at Turtle Swim School call 09 8263366 or email firstname.lastname@example.org