In Hong Kong’s hot and steamy summer there’s no better activity than a trip to the pool. But to make sure this is a positive experience for the whole family, it’s important to nurture your child’s confidence in the water. To ensure everything goes swimmingly, we catch up with Beverley Wright, aquatic manager at Harry Wright International swim school, which has been teaching little ones to swim for over 40 years.
The key to learning how to swim at any age is CONFIDENCE! If your child is relaxed and happy then learning to swim will be enjoyable and easy. Regular trips to the pool for fun are important so that children can practice and develop skills naturally and without undue pressure. Living on an island means water is never far away, making the ability to swim an important life skill for children. Here are some tips on how to help your children learn to swim.
How To: Help Your Child Learn to Swim
1. Start early
Babies usually enjoy being in water as soon as they are born. In fact, to them it must feel like the womb they have just left behind! It is very important for a newborn baby to have a calm and happy bath time. Carefully choose a good time for the bath, when baby is not hungry or too tired, and you will be able to gently introduce baby to having water over his/her face and head.
2. Find a baby class
Parent and baby lessons mean that baby can be introduced to swimming while feeling safe and secure with a trusted adult, and parents can share the joy of learning with their baby. These classes under the guidance of an experienced teacher can be very rewarding and mean that children can learn to swim at a very early age.
3. Make it fun
Children learn by playing; many games and activities can help your child learn to ‘feel’ the water and be comfortable with the different sensations it brings. Some children can be nervous of going underwater, but colourful sinking toys can help distract from any fear, and a good fitting pair of goggles can help make going under just another game!
4. Find a good swim school
It will really help your child to learn all the strokes and techniques if they are in regular lessons. A good teacher will let your child develop at their own pace, and teach him or her in a positive but disciplined way. Parents know that their child is learning all the technical stuff from the lessons so the pressure is off – the family trip to the pool can be all about having fun!
5. Keep safe
Being able to swim does not mean your child is 100% safe – ever! Nothing will put your child off more than a negative experience – children need to be under constant supervision whether at a pool or the beach, even if they are using aids of any kind. Safe practices taught early, in a kind but firm way, can make all the difference. Explain what the rules are in a pool and why we should respect them. Be especially careful of diving and jumping in shallow water!
Learn more! Keen to find out more about swimming classes in Hong Kong. Visit the Harry Wright International website for more information on lessons and squad training for children.