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There are many reasons why continuing lessons throughout the year are important, if not more important during the winter months.
Safety is the first reason to maintain your child’s lessons – swimming is a vital life skill, especially in Australia, where the outdoor lifestyle involves access to beaches, swimming pools, creeks, dams and lakes. Children learn through repetition so maintaining their swimming lessons will help them continue to build not only their strength as a swimmer but also their water confidence. As it is cooler outside, children will not be practicing their new skills as regularly as they would in the summer months so structured classes may be the only chance they get to improve and prepare for regular water access once temperatures rise. Without this repetition, many children will require the first few swim lessons to regain not only their forgotten skills but also the confidence they had previously.
The access children have to water is not limited to nature, either. From bath tubs to hot tubs, safety at home is also a strong argument for continuing lessons.
If the weather outside is a factor in the decision to discontinue lessons, don’t worry! Many learn to swim facilities, such as the Sheldon Learn to Swim Centre in the Redlands, are specifically designed for year-round swimming. From a well heated pool to providing an enclosed facility, options are available to keep both you and your child in a temperature-controlled environment. All you need is a nice big towel and some warm clothes for your child to put on after their lesson. (And a warm drink for you to enjoy never goes astray, either!)
Many parents worry that their child may catch a cold or flu by swimming during cooler months. It is a misconception, in fact, there is no increased risk. The cause of these illnesses are viruses that can be spread at any public place, and your child’s best defence against these is a strong immune system, which can be boosted through regular exercise such as swimming.
We all know how important a routine can be not only for your child but also for yourself. Swimming lessons provide a social outlet for your young swimmer to see other children and grow a connection through a shared love of swimming. Sharing in the accomplishments of not only your child, but their classmates can also be a fun and inspirational addition to your busy day. They also have the opportunity to connect and build trust with their instructor. As a parent, you may sit by the pool and enjoy knowing your child is learning a vital skill, but it also provides you the peace of mind – that you can witness – that they are water-ready. You may also meet other parents within your child’s age group for a new social group or just a regular face to see each week.
If your child has not yet started swimming lessons, here’s a little swimming lesson secret… classes are generally smaller during cooler months, so it is a perfect time to get a little more time with the instructor.
Whether you decide to sit out swim classes during winter months, begin classes or continue your child’s lessons, you have started a wonderful journey to ensure your child has vital water-safety skills.
By David Savage, Director of the Sheldon Learn to Swim Centre, Sheldon College
Sheldon College is an independent, co-educational, non-denominational College located in Brisbane’s bayside.