The benefits of swimming lessons and water safety skills your child needs to learn

Expert Advice 07 Nov 22 By

Kingswim

"Learning to swim is a gift that we can give our children for life."

As the weather warms up and families prepare to hit the pool, lake or ocean, parents are being reminded to be vigilant when it comes to water safety.

According to the Royal Lifesaving Report 2022, there has been a 15% increase of drownings across the past 12 months. This summer, water safety skills are crucial.

While active supervision from a competent adult is key whenever little ones are swimming in a body of water, teaching our children how to swim and be safe in and around water is also paramount.

Leading swim school, Kingswim has taught more than 20 million swim lessons to Aussie kids over the past 30 years and their age-appropriate swim program makes learning how to swim simpler for the whole family.

Kingswim’s Area Manager, Anne Brown shares her swim safe advice for families and the key skills your chld will learn in swimming lessons.

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Active supervision from a competent adult is key whenever little ones are swimming in – or are around – a body of water.

Swim safe advice for families

How can parents safely introduce their child to the water for the first time?

While it’s an individual choice, Anne recommends starting as early as possible. Babies are naturally at home in the water having spent nine months in the womb surrounded by amniotic fluid, making for an easier transition into the pool.

Kingswim runs water familiarisation classes called ‘Baby Play’ for infants from three months of age. We think this is the ideal age to start, having allowed parents time to bond and adjust to life with their newborn, and for baby’s immune system to start developing.

How can parents encourage their child to take lessons if they are scared to get into the water?  

If you recognise fear it’s important to acknowledge it, but be mindful to project a calm and confident approach with your child. Arrive 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the lesson to avoid rushing. This will also enable you to help your child understand what to expect.

Support by using fear reducing phrases like ‘You’ll be ok’; ‘This will be fun’ and ‘Let’s have a try’ and once they’re in the water, continue to offer encouragement with positive signs like smiling, clapping or giving a thumbs up. Celebrate even the smallest achievements. We understand fear is a natural stage of development and we have a dedicated team of educators on hand to offer support.

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Praise your child in the water and celebrate even the smallest achievements.

What impact has the COVID lockdowns had in terms of water safety skills for children?

Pandemic restrictions resulted in the closure of swim schools for prolonged periods of time. With little opportunity to participate in swimming lessons for much of the past two years we are seeing, in many instances, a loss of vital swimming and water safety skills in children. There is genuine concern that the overall lack of exposure to water during lockdown could heighten the risk of drowning this summer. It’s also created a shortage of swimming instructors, which is impacting on the our ability to provide crucial water safety skills. Many parents are eager to get their kids back in the pool but are struggling to get a booking.

What key skills do children aged 0-4 learn in swimming lessons?

Learning to swim is a gift that we can give our children for life. Whilst we want kids to enjoy the water and have fun, it’s important to also teach them to have a healthy respect for being in and around the water.

Knowing how to exit or climb out of the water enables the swimmer to remove themselves for a potentially dangerous situation. Learning to tread water and float on back are important lifesaving skills to minimise panic if a swimmer finds themselves in an unsafe predicament in the water. Both skills enable the swimmer to place themselves  in a position to breathe, conserve energy, yell and signal for help, or reassess and make a swim to safer positon i.e. pool edge, floatation device, etc.

How can parents be vigilant about water safety this summer?

Supervision is the most powerful tool we have to keep kids safe. Supervision is an active process and requires focused attention, intentional observation and keeping children within arm’s reach to ensure you can respond quickly. Always ensure someone is maintaining accountability for your child’s safety, as any distractions could be deadly.

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Learning to swim is a gift that we can give our children for life.

Sign up now for Survival Week

Kingswim’s Surival Week is held twice a year. The next Survival Week commences on December 5, 2022. Water safety skills taught during this time period are age appropriate and tailored to each level within the program from Parent/Child classes right through to the Graduate program.

Safety skills include:

  • Understanding your own limitations
  • Safe entry & exit
  • Signalling for help
  • Rescue – How to be rescued
  • Rescue – Can I do it safely? – how to perform a reach and throw rescue
  • Survival strokes – Survival Backstroke, Survival Breaststroke and Sidestroke.

All students’ classes are adapted during Survival Week to develop their skills.

Brought to you by Kingswim

Kingswim makes learning to swim simpler for the whole family. We develop swimming programs based on children’s ability in the water. We offer swimming lesson for babies from as early as 12 weeks old right through to squad level swimmers, across their 21 centres in Victoria, NSW, ACT and Queensland.  Check out our swim classes & programs https://www.kingswim.com.au/learn-to-swim/

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