Has your child been pestering you for swimming lessons, or have you always wanted them to learn how to swim? Being able to swim is a life skill that is useful to have. We speak to Chai Seng Yung, a swimming coach from SAFRA’s FINS Swim School with 11 years of experience, to find out how to prepare your child for lessons, as well as things to keep in mind.
1. How do I introduce my child to the concept of swimming lessons?
Children are all different. Some are very eager to go in the water, while some are fearful about even being near a swimming pool. Either way, children like to be with people they trust. So if your child has a fear of water, we encourage them to be with people they trust during this process.
Here at FINS, we take responsibility in building your child’s water confidence. You do not have to worry about making your child fully brave until they join us, as we would gladly help to lay the foundation to their water confidence.
2. How do I let my kids feel comfortable in the pool?
Exposing the child to several water activities help in making them comfortable in the pool. Activities can include bringing them to a water park (with slides and water showers), or doing some water play (e.g. using water guns, or slow running and/or crawling with their hands in shallow water) with them. During this stage, maintain a fun environment for the child.
It is encouraged for parents or guardians to go swimming with their child as mentioned earlier. This could help in speeding up the process of building their water confidence.
3. Should I teach them basic breathing techniques?
Proper breathing helps the child to build their water confidence. How one could guide them in the breathing technique is by instructing them to hold their breath with their mouth closed (you may start by practising on land), slowly submerge into the water and when they decide to bring their head up and out of the water, tell them to blow bubbles either with their mouth or nose. The proper technique would be through the nose, but some children may have the fear of doing this in the beginning, so you may allow them to practise with their mouths first.
4. What gear do I need to prepare for them?
All they require is a proper set of swimsuit/trunks/tights, a kickboard, a pair of goggles and a swimming cap (optional). A swimming cap will help keep their hair out of the way of their vision. Sunscreen is the most important.
5. Should I bring my child to observe a swimming lesson?
We encourage them to observe a fun swimming lesson as this would entice them into wanting to be part of the group. So, don’t bring the child to an army drilled swimming lesson where they might get frightened.
6. Should I let my child eat before the class? Are there other things to be mindful of on the day of the class?
We would encourage the child to have a light meal at least 1 hour before the lesson. It’s best to avoid too much soluble food or liquids as this may cause the child to regurgitate during their swim. Do make sure they have ample time to rest before and after the swim.
FINS Swim School is located at SAFRA Toa Payoh, SAFRA Mount Faber, SAFRA Yishun and SAFRA Jurong. FINS Swim School is suitable for kids 5-12 years old and is exclusive to SAFRA Members. For more information, visit www.safra.sg/FINS
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