"Wooo that feels tingly, cold and funny!" "Do I like it?"
A child that starts in a new program might react differently then if he/she was at home. We often hear parents telling us that “my child is very comfortable in the water and in the bath” and they are surprised to see their child acts differently when they first come to us. The relationship that needs to be developed isn’t solely based on water. The child’s reaction, when put into a new water situation, is also related to the bonding with the child and the new face, in our case, the instructor. At Swim for Life we like to introduce everything with care and in a soft manner.
Years ago when I first started teaching I wasn't as careful when I first introduced a child to the water. I was just so excited and motivated to start teaching the survival skills that I forgot that they needed time to adapt to me, get comfortable with the water and their new routine.
Along the way, I tried different approaches and evaluated which one works best, although there's never one approach that fits all! For the most part, I realized that going slower in the first couple of lessons actually helped children adapt and trust me faster which in the long run gives us better and faster results.
At the beginning of the lesson, I like to hold them close to me to make them feel secure and slowly sprinkle water on their hands, back, shoulders, back of their head and eventually on their head. This whole process also allows the child to explore by touching the water which gives them a sense of freedom. It’s also important for parents that are introducing their child to the water for the first time to take the same approach as we want the child to have a positive experience with the water.
The extra cuddles and skin to skin contact will allow developing the child’s confidence and comfort with water faster. Enjoy that special time and don’t rush!
For more tips and tricks go to SwimForce and sign up for our online course.
© Karina Renaud, June 5, 2020 - Nager pour la vie avec Karina Renaud Inc.