Ask the swim guru

Commonly asked questions…..

Here at Swimabout we try to ensure every child is treated as an individual, and this has lead us to develop our unique syllabus and teaching style to ensure that each child is given the opportunity to learn to swim with a tailored approach. However, there are also some questions which we get asked a lot about, so we hope the below is helpful to you in answering some of them!

My kid hates getting his face wet, how can we help fix this?
You will quickly see over the coming weeks your child being splashed around, asked to jump in and generally having water poured over their face, as they become more and more resilient to this and enjoy the sessions. This new sensation/skill will therefore be transferred to home. You can also encourage this at home with ‘bath play – (homework!)’. Various toys and swim accessories will help cement the skills that they are acquiring with use at home or in a swimming pool. Just remember to have fun!

Top tips from other parents:
• Bubble blowing competitions in the bath….
• We tried snorkelling on holiday – totally solved the problem!
• Good goggles helped us – I think it was the water going in eyes which was stopping H from getting their face properly in the water for more than a splash. We like the ones which are wraparound rather than two individual eye covers.
My child dislikes putting their face in the water to blow bubbles, as they swallow water!
Blowing bubbles is an essential skill in learning to swim. It is one of the first ‘tricky’ skills we require our little fishies to master as it has significant benefits in aiding buoyancy and movement in the water. Again homework will support this!
You can also try at home; DRY! : )
1. Blowing balloons up.
2. Blowing candles out.
3. Using a party whistle blower
Why is my child not moving up to the next stage?
In most cases, when organising the timetable, a class moves up together, as a whole. So in effect they stay in the same area with the same teacher but start to learn harder techniques. In some instances, a new child will be moved into that class making the class look a beginner class again but in reality it will only take a few weeks for the new child to ‘get up to speed’. In other situations then a simple message to us regarding your concerns will help us assess the child for a new level/class.

In the majority of cases however it is because the pupil has still not mastered the key components to ‘move up’ to the next level, such as the horizontal/streamlined position. This involves a head down position and totally flat body, blowing bubbles and kicking all at the same time! Once your child is starting to do this then it is highly likely they are ready to move up to the next stage of their learning.
My child used to love the water, now he hates it, what happened?
There could be many things at play here – for example, they are going through the ‘water wobbles’ (see below) which can also be brought on by natural developmental growth spurts, or they are struggling with some aspect of the environment if they are new to Swimabout, or it’s a change in routine. Most importantly, don’t worry, it will pass!
In some cases in trying to sculpt a swimmer, or for a child to have to control certain aspects of their stroke/body the exercises we are asking them to do to gain that muscle memory may seem a little tedious and more repetitive than they are used to. In other cases a younger child learning in a group environment may seem to struggle to find their place in a group, or be nervous about how well they are faring amongst their peers.
The most important thing you can do to help support your child through this is to be consistent. Consistent in taking them to lessons so the routine is the same, consistent in how you encourage them, cheer them on from the side lines.
Water Wobbles
It’s a normal part of a child’s development to have a realisation about what is dangerous, and sometimes this can be triggered by an incident, or sometimes something someone has said sticks and they become fearful. It’s important to remember that actually this is a positive thing, and they quickly learn ways to manage that fear through maintaining a consistent approach along with measured reassurance. For some kids, they become nervous of being in the water having previously been fine, for others its sliding down a slope or jumping out of bed! They may become clingy to you, or not want to go swimming at all. Our advice is just to work through it, like most things with childhood development, it will pass!
Top Tips from other parents
• I reverted to using a reward chart, after a couple of weeks it did the trick and they went back to loving swimming!
• Oh god, this took ages, and I honestly thought about quitting, but I realised that this was such an important skill and yes, there was danger for them, but more importantly the danger was more if they couldn’t swim. In the end, we missed a lesson or two and did really dull things those days so they were bored, then reminded them that they could be having fun in the pool instead. The next week we went to the pool, made a big fuss about how great they had been (even though they spent a large amount of the time on the side clinging on for dear life!) and by the second week of going again, they gradually got more confident. Happy, smiling and looking forward to it the third time! Glad I kept it up!
Why is my child getting upset before lessons?
All children will get a little anxious and nervous trying something new, this can be magnified when it comes to swimming. This may be their first activity without mum or dad by their side. We have found it can take a number of sessions for your child to calm down and see the pool as an exciting, fun activity. Please let our staff do their thing and start the process of ‘breaking in’. As your child could be anxious about this separation, we know it takes a strong set of parenting skills to allow the staff look after your child when they are clearly upset or crying out for you. However, like going to school or any new education setting, you must allow this separation to happen, if not then it could increase their anxiety about water in general and delay the start of their new adventure.

Top tips from other parents:
• ‘Reward charts worked a treat for us – not only did he get a reward for going but it helped encourage J to get dressed himself also!’
• I just muddled through it for the first few weeks, and didn’t sit where he could see me, avoided all eye contact. Literally by the end of the lessons he was smiling and asking when he could go again! A couple of weeks later I can’t get to the pool fast enough!
• I sent P in with her dad after the first lesson, and it made a world of difference. A month later , I can now go with her and she’s super confident and runs on in (although I suspect Daddy might have also bribed with an ice cream afterwards!).
• I made sure I held her hand as we went into the pool area then let the teacher take her hand and she eventually persuaded her to get in calmly. I think this physical handover really helped as my kid is really nervous around strangers, but by passing the physical bond over not only did I kind of pass the responsibility but also passed the comfort over.
My child listens to his swimming teacher but won't do the same for me when we go swimming, why?
This is a funny one! We have found in the many years that we have been running classes this statement seems to affect most parents at some time or another! We know that parents can sometimes be worn down by the day to day whinging and moaning and a change of face can get different results (maybe you have noticed it in school also?). There may also be an element of we wont let them get away with it (in a fun cheeky way of course!). Just remember to have fun in the water with them, the techniques will come through the lessons and if you can re-enforce the learning by swimming with them too, that’s great!
I think I've missed the boat with swimming lessons, my kid is 10 and still hates the water
Don’t worry, it’s never too late! We have classes and ability levels for all ages and we won’t put them with much younger children. We also have private session if this is something you would like to give a go to get their learning accelerated or crash courses are also a good option.
We are currently with another provider (happily!) however my children are nearing the end of the awards scheme they offer and are losing interest in lengths. Any suggestions?
Rookies is the ideal way to keep them engaged with water activities as well as keeping fit and improving their technique. In addition to learning life saving skills, they will also be introduced to other aquatic pursuits such as canoeing, water polo and other games which might stimulate their imagination and interest. Speak to us if you would like more details or to do a trial.