Dear parents: You need to put your phone down and watch your child’s swimming lesson.

 

phoney

Teachers bring it up in meetings, coordinators brainstorm ideas on changing the culture at the pool, and, yes, kids get upset.

This week one of our teachers came out of his shift and told us that he almost cried during a lesson, because a little boy in his class swam the length of the pool, looked up at his Dad for praise, and said:

‘Why won’t Daddy watch me? He’s always playing on his phone.’

His Dad was so engrossed in his phone that he didn’t hear his son call out to him. This particular boy had put in so much effort. He had listened well to the teacher, he had tried his hardest, and he just wanted his Dad to be proud of him.

Sadly, we see it all day every day.

I teach classes and see parents/grandparents/caregivers/whoever completely missing out on the effort that their children are putting in to this lesson, the comedy they bring to the classes with their imaginative ideas, the competitive streak that suddenly appears when a child realises they can do something and do it well.

You could walk into any learn-to-swim environment, and I bet you will see a row of parents sitting on their phones.

As an instructor I can tell you that overall, lessons are great fun, and we get so much out of them. We get to see children change, develop, grow. We get to hear about their days, we get to help them through what can sometimes be a frightening experience, and we see progression.

That progression can be huge; it can be a child finally trusting themselves (and us) enough to let go. It can be a child mastering bilateral breathing. It can be a child perfecting a streamline kick. It can be a child putting their eyes in the water, it can even be minuscule (in appearance), e.g. tucking a chin in further towards their chest; but that could have taken weeks, if not months to happen.

How are you going to see those accomplishments if you are on your phone or ipad, or reading a paper?

How are you going to know that your child IS benefiting from the lessons if you are not watching? Do you see how much they have to take in and do all at once?

Honestly, I get sad as a teacher. I am a little disappointed when ‘Michael’, after months of encouragement and gentle guidance, finally trusts me enough to push off from the edge and paddle out to me, only to see that his caregiver hasn’t noticed. They are not even looking our way.

That’s me, feeling sad, as an adult.

Imagine how ‘Michael’ feels.

I do get it, I know that sometimes it is unavoidable. I know that work can reach us any and everywhere, and while your child is in a safe environment, being watched by another adult, it is convenient to get those final emails done. It’s finally ok to book that appointment online, without your small person trying to talk to you or show you something.

It’s just that, they usually are trying to show you something.

I work for an ever-expanding company, and at the co-ordinators meeting this week, an item on the agenda was: HOW do we get parents to put their phones down?

We discussed banning them (not very realistic)

We discussed posters (will you see them?)

We discussed talking to parents and gently encouraging them to watch

We discussed creating an app where you can watch your children swim (in real-time)

We even discussed offering free wifi and changing the password to “please get off your phone and watch me swim”.

Then the following day, our amazing teacher told us about the boy in his class, whose Dad didn’t realise his son was calling out for him.

‘why won’t Daddy watch me? He’s always playing on his phone.’

Please just try it. You will be amazed how much you get out of it, and I’ll bet you your child will work their absolute hardest.

©notsogreatcatsby2018

Big thanks to K N for the pic.

Advertisements

5 Benefits of Swimming Through Winter

20170328_143257

5) It boosts your immune system

As we all know; coughs and colds are common throughout winter, but research shows that regular exercise (such as swimming) strengthens our immune systems. This helps us become better equipped to fight any nasty bugs we may be exposed to.

Swimming itself is well-known to aid in maintaining good cardiovascular fitness – just what you and your family needs during winter!

4) Maintaining / developing skills

If your children attend 1x 30 minute swimming lesson per week, their maximum lesson time is only 26 hours per year. This total then decreases with every sick day or holiday. Children (and their bodies) need repetition in order to learn and develop, and by taking a break over winter, the risk of skill regression largely increases.

Staying consistent is the best way to ensure you get maximum value for the time and money you invest in swimming lessons.

3) Quieter classes = more attention!

Unfortunately, it is inevitable that some families will pause their swimming lessons over winter, but that comes with benefits for those who choose to remain!

You are far more likely to get your child into the lesson of your choice during winter. This in turn means that when summer rolls around, you will already be booked into your preferred day and time.

There is also a good chance that your child’s class size will be smaller during this time, and your child will receive more one on one time with their teacher.

2) Your child will be stronger for summer

As mentioned above, children learn through repetition. By maintaining your regular swimming lessons throughout winter, your child will be stronger in time for summer. This is so, so important for all of those days at the beach, playdates at the pool, and for your family’s safety while on holiday.

This brings us to…

1) Safety!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: swimming lessons provide a vital lifesaving skill. Children can drown at any time of year. Regular swimming lessons are a vitally important step towards keeping your children safe around water. During swimming lessons; along with technique; children learn about safe entries, safe exits, reaching the side if they are to accidentally fall in, and who to go to for help in case of an emergency.

Keeping this information fresh in their minds will hopefully keep them aware around water all year round.

 

Top tips from the team:

•Pack a hot water bottle in your bag!
This will make your towels nice and warm for when your child finishes their lesson

•Bring a beanie!
Body heat escapes quickly through your head, so put on those beanies after class!

•Dry off and wrap up
Spend the extra three minutes on poolside to dry off and wrap your child up before leaving or going out into the cold.

And my personal favourite:

•Hot chocolate 😊
If, like us, you are lucky enough to have a cafe at your pool, why not treat yourselves to a hot chocolate or tea for the journey home.

©notsogreatcatsby2018