Everyone at Aquatots is very excited to welcome our swimmers back to the pools and hope that you and your little ones are also looking forward to your swimming classes resuming.
What to expect We shall start be ensuring all Aquatots skills are reintroduced gently, step by step, at a pace that suits each child - whatever their level. All of our teachers are trained to teach mixed ability classes so please be reassured that swimmers of all confidence levels will get the very most out of their lessons.
Something to suit everyone All skills will be demonstrated in full according to the level your child swims in, ensuring that those swimmers who regain their confidence quickly are stimulated and challenged. Those swimmers that wish to take it slower will be positively encouraged to ‘give it a go’ but to swim at their own pace. This could result in some swimmers performing the skill a stage lower whilst they reacclimatise to the lessons.
All Aquatots teachers will be mindful of the various levels of confidence and will teach accordingly. We want to build their confidence to enable everyone to get back onto the progression path they were on before lockdown.
Our younger swimmers in Levels 1 to 3 Babies that were very new to Aquatots last year will be reintroduced to the Ready Go signal gently, using singing and Aquatubs, ensuring they are happy before submersions resume. They may need to take things a little slower than they did last year so we will remind them of the skills they were learning before lockdown and ensure they are comfortable and confident before they progress.
No matter how confident your child may appear, a little preparation now can go a long way to assisting with the smooth return to the water.
Here are our top tips:
Get singing and splashing At bath time introduce some songs from your lesson, followed by the “Ready Go” signal; then gently pour a little water over their shoulders, neck, back of their head and, if happy, allowing it to trickle over their face.
You can become more confident with pouring the water over their head as they get used to it.
This is a great way to prepare them for the breath holding required in submersions.
Let them lie back and relax Practice backfloats in the bath. Supporting your baby or toddler on their backs, ideally with their ears under, can help build confidence in the water.
Take this one slowly though and lower them down gently and at their chosen pace.
“Which way round does this happy nappy go?” If you are introducing a new swim partner when you return, get them involved in bath time, as soon as possible.
By involving this person in the process of dressing and undressing (perhaps on a mat, on the floor, like at your pool!) and allowing them an opportunity to use Aquatots key words in the bath can help reassure babies and toddlers when they return.
Not just for Babies Swimmers of all ages may need some extra encouragement after the break which is where our Aquatots at Home for Older Beginners video may help you reintroduce some skills plus our Breath Control reminder video too.
Create your own Lesson Use bath time as a mini Aquatots lesson. Gather together your child’s favourite bath toys to be your swimmers and perform some Ready Splash and Ready Go skills from the side of the bath. Depending on their level you could also get the toys to push up from the bottom of the bath, perform a piggyback with another toy or even swim ‘5m’!
This simple game helps to remind the little ones of the key words, what they mean and how fun it can be to swim.
Keep Talking If your little one is in the higher baby or toddler levels, talk about swimming lessons whilst at home. Remind them of their achievements before lockdown. What were they really good at and what skills did they love performing? Remind them of their paddle hands, their kicking, their pushing up, turning or holding on to the side of the pool. These are fantastic reminders not only of the fun they had but also some of the techniques they were using. If your little one is old enough, sit down and watch some of the Aquatots videos. Why not make it fun by copying some of our at home challenge participants from last year.
“You are such a clever swimmer!” If your child was on the cusp of achieving a 5m swim or swam independently just before lockdown talk about it over the next couple of weeks. Remind them of how proud you were of their swimming, how well they paddled with closed fingers, lifted their head and kicked across the pool.
Take a look at our videos of Amelie and William to remind them what an independent 5m swim looks like.
Take a peek in preparation If you are due to swim at a new pool location or have a change of teacher, take a look at the website to familiarise yourself with what the pool and your new teacher look like.
Smile and enjoy!! On the day - be prepared! Ensure your journey to the pool is as calm as possible. Be swim ready, with a smile on your face and enjoy that first lesson back.
We anticipate that our spring term will involve mixed ability classes as your children return to the water with different levels of confidence but through skill reminders, a little patience, positive encouragement and a lot of fun we hope to be back on track by the summer.