Have you ever wondered if there were swim lesson teaching techniques available that would help you keep your infant-toddler students happy and would prevent them from crying during a swimming lesson or learn to swim class? These are five of my favorite swim lesson teaching success strategies I use when teaching Parent & Me Swimming Classes:
- Use proximity wisely. In fact, I use a baby doll to demonstrate various holds and body positions to the parents. Stranger anxiety is real, and this is one proven way to prevent those early fears and tears.
- Allow for some unstructured play. More often than not, teachers jump right into their class with loud singing, lots of structure, and group exercises. While this is an integral part of all of my Parent & Me classes, I've found it to be extremely effective to give the children a few minutes with mom and dad to get acquainted to the environment, the water, and the other children.
- Use redirection techniques. Tears will dry in mid-air (so to speak) as they become in awe of bubbles, colorful toys, and pouring water. Try dunking a bucket and watch their reaction. Pour water from a bucket. Have mom hand them their favorite toy. The results are almost magical.
- Security is mom or dad. If you are ready to have the infant/toddler practice breathe control or perform a short swim with their face in the water (presuming they are ready), consider this: The baby's comfort and security is with mom or dad. So rather than have the child swim from the parent to you, do the opposite. You swim the child to the parent. That way the security is in front of them, not behind them. The trick is if the baby is reluctant to go to you, you can't ask them to come to you or spend any time doing it. You calmly take them from mom or dad, and give them the start signal immediately. The more time they are away from the parent, the higher the anxiety goes. So once you take them, BEGIN the swim back to mom or dad.
- Your confidence and calm demeanor. Infants and toddlers alike sense whatever signals you're sending. If the signals your sending are calm, comfortable, and at ease in the situation, the children can feel it; it helps them stay calm, comfortable, and at ease.
The five success strategies are certain to help you and your teachers when teaching Parent & Me classes. Is it easier said than done? Of course, but with these tips and a little bit of practice, you'll soon be teaching like a pro!