G’day, my name is Bree! ….Bubbly, fun, caring and kind; these are the words I would describe myself as but when it comes to teaching – I am better known as a mentor.
It was in 2010 when I commenced my Swim Instructor qualification. A small town called Morisset located North of Sydney, Australia. Learning to swim is the most important thing in Australia, we pride ourselves on learning how to swim from a young age.
It was here that I rapidly gained rapport and built trusting relationships with staff, students and parents, about making ‘learn to swim’ a top priority for children. This blog will discuss matters of Australia and how swimming is almost compulsory to know, stressing the importance of children at an early age to learn the principles of learn to swim and finally, the benefits and joys of swimming.
A born and bred Aussie, swimming is one of my favourite recreational past times. I grew up in and around water all my life. We had a pool in the backyard, holidayed on some of Australia’s most iconic golden beaches, even caught the odd wave! I camped and fished with friends on a few shady river banks, wouldn’t probably do it now but even kept cool on my Uncles farm swimming in a dirty muddy old dam on the odd occasion to escape an Aussie sizzling hot summers day, I just love it! England was quite the surprise!
# The Importance of Learning to Swim
Safety, Safety, Safety! During my travels here in the UK I have noticed a very different attitude to swimming compared to Australia. Drownings still occur here and with the peak summer months of July and August just around the corner I think it’s with urgency to make people aware of how important it is to learn to swim. What I find startling is recently I read in a report written by The National Water Safety Forum, about 381 drownings and water-related deaths occurred across the UK in 2013. Would you believe, simple activities such as walking alongside water and falling in, swimming and jumping into open water recorded as the main cause. The most important thing being you can’t be everywhere all the time to protect your kids so give them the skills around water they need for survival. Avoiding the issue doesn’t help your kids. Unfortunately, to some families it’s not seen necessary, however, realistically it’s time to change this perspective and it needs to be highly addressed. Respectively, WATER AWARENESS AND SAFETY IS THE KEY!
Practice, Practice, Practice.
The essential practice of learning to swim is repetition. Firstly, they learn the skill, they practice and repeat the skill and finally, be able to demonstrate the skill with confidence. Like most sports, learning to swim doesn’t happen overnight, depending on experience in the water and how often they are swimming it can take well over 2 seasons, it’s important to be patient with this one.
It is known when a child has had experience with drowning the “mind over matter” kicks in and the child will refuse to get into the water. Initially, lessons 1-5 might be as simple as bonding with the instructor and just getting the child to sit in the water, feeling comfortable but most importantly feeling safe. Thus, it is so important for parents to not interrupt lessons when their child is feeling distressed, crying for “mum/dad” or want to stop the lessons, more so be supportive and encourage the child the benefits of knowing how to swim. The instructor demonstrates simple communicating, clear instructions and ultimately, collaborating with parents and fellow swim instructors where the child is at with their swimming. There is only a certain amount that the Instructors can do in the water. It is up to the parents to continue the practice outside of lessons, to adhere strong learning. The positive outcomes from this will only be portrayed if the child is attending every swimming lesson, making sure they are consistent.
How Swimming Benefits Your Childs Development Brain and muscle co-ordination
It almost seems inconceivable to not have water as part of a persons life. From birth we have a natural and enjoyable connection. According to Hampton Swim School, from birth we can survive in the water;
“babies arrive from a liquid environment of their mother’s womb, and feel quite comfortable in water, until the age of approximately 12 months” as this reference suggest it’s a task that the child has already experienced. It is therefore imperative to make sure children are in the water before they start to develop a sense of fear and lack of confidence.
Amongst all the technical skills and importance of it all, swimming is a great enjoyment and provides many health benefits not just for children but for adults and the elderly too. Such as; keeping your heart and lungs healthy, improves strength and flexibility, increases stamina and even improves balance and posture.