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TEAMWORK: How Parents & Instructors Can Work Together
Jan 13, 2020

Topic: Swim Lessons 

So, when I was asked to write a blog for our website, I thought to myself, what is something I could speak on that would deliver the most value to our clientele?

As you can imagine, there are a lot of topics I could cover coming from the perspective of a swim instructor. All of which would be beneficial, but as I talked with my co-workers about different issues that they struggle with, one consistent variable continued to be at the root of every conversation…TEAMWORK!

be brave with your children learning to swim

Not just the usual kind of teamwork that we have worked so hard to establish with one another as employees and teammates, but more specifically - teamwork between parent and instructor.

Teamwork between parent and instructor is key to building a strong foundation for our students. This relationship is the end-all, be-all best way to help facilitate a more conducive learning environment for these kiddos. So, let's just dive right in…

As instructors, our first job is to build trust with our students and create comfort in the water. And parents, you can help us with this too! Here are some simple suggestions we have:

Be Brave!

Try not to coddle them too much in the early stages. If possible, have your child walk next to you into this new experience. Instead of carrying them to the pool door, hold their hand and remind them that you're leading them to a safe place, and to people who you trust. We know it can be just as hard for you as it is for them, but this small step will help set the stage for success for your child – both in and out of the pool.

Stay Positive!

Some lessons may be tough for your child, especially in the beginning. A teamwork approach is crucial in working through this phase. Continued positive reinforcement and encouragement from our instructors, and from you, will make such a huge impact on their success. If your child is unhappy after a lesson, try to focus on their accomplishments, no matter how small they may be. Explain that it's okay to be nervous, but reinforce that they’re in good hands. If they know YOU trust us, then they will too.

Get Excited!

learning to swim is funTalk up your instructor and make "Mr. Johnny" sound as if he is your best friend. Relate him to a family friend or another instructor your child may already have a relationship with. We know this experience is something completely new to them - the separation from mom or dad… the water itself… being around other children… new faces… new places… it can all be overwhelming for some. Your child will follow your lead and if they sense your excitement about swim lessons, then they are more likely to be excited too.

Communicate!

Experiencing water in their ears, laying on their back to float, and learning how to turn over for a breath are all skills that can be met with some resistance. In a lot of cases, that comes from a place of fear. Typically, it's simply a fear of the unknown, but sometimes it's a fear developed from a previous experience.  The more we know ahead of time about your child, the better! Don't hesitate to communicate with your child's instructor. We want to know about your child's swim history and understand what works best for them so that we can create consistency in their learning.

Happy swimmers = happy parents = happy instructors.

Communicate Some More!

As instructors, it is our job to make sure that our students are progressing and enjoying their lessons. It makes it a lot easier when we also have an idea of what your expectations are for your child.  The end goal for all of us is ensuring children learn to become safeR swimmers. However, there are many other questions that instructors have when working with a new student…

What goals do you have for your child? Summer swim team? Or basic comfort in the water for some fun in the sun?

Were you a competitive swimmer yourself? Or do you perhaps have water related fears of your own?

What type of pace or schedule are you on? Committed to year-round lessons? Or just a few months at a time?

Do you prefer a softer teaching approach that focuses on enjoyment before progress? Or are you looking for an instructor who will push your child to achieve results?

Communicating these questions and answers requires a teamwork approach and will help determine your child's success in the pool.

Consistency is Key!

consistency is the key to learning to swim

Lastly, we want to be sure we're all on the same page so the instruction and reinforcement your child receives is consistent. For example, if your child's instructor has been working really hard to get your child to kick with straight legs, please don't send your child into class telling them, "I really want to see those big arms today." Instead, encourage your child by saying something like, "Remember to keep those legs straight when you kick! You did great with it during your last lesson!"

Skill focus is important, as is the order in which each skill is taught. We call these our swimming building blocks. We introduce skills in this order: breath control, then body positioning, then legs (kicks), then arms. It is essential that your child learns the skills in this order to achieve the best results. Feel free to ask us what specific skills you can work on at home – we've got some simple ideas for you.

Thanks for being on our team!

Now let’s get to swimming!

Written by Jeremiah Collins, Pool Manager, Houston Swim Club Sharpstown


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