When is my child ready for swimming lessons without me in the water?


So far you have enjoyed the unique magical journey with your little one in the pool, but you are starting to look forward to the next step, but the big question is how do you know when you are both ready to make that move?

Does your child enjoy being in the water and are they able to move around independently in a swimming aid (SwimFin, armbands, flotation jacket etc). Are they happy to submerge underwater and jump in? Do you feel they are losing focus in the class and not really wanting to repeat the same activities they’ve done before? This isn’t something to worry about as most children reach a point where they are no longer progressing in the water with their parent; they often start to become restless only wanting to play. This is a good indicator that your child is ready to take on the next step - a preschool class on their own.

It is a universal fact that children learn best through play and having fun in the pool is a vital part of the learn to swim process. This philosophy has been reinforced throughout the adult and child programme and should be carried over in to preschool swimming. At Big Blue our preschool classes are designed to incorporate a child’s natural desire to play using games, songs and other fun activities to develop the core aquatic skills – the building blocks of swimming.


How can we make the transition to preschool as easy as possible?

The first time in the pool without mum or dad can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for your little swimmers, we do all we can to minimise this feeling. Our instructors greet their class on poolside and walk with them to their area of the pool.

If your child is nervous it can help to settle them by giving their hand to the instructor to hold. This gesture may seem quite unimportant but it shows transference of trust from parent to teacher and can help reassure your child. By doing this you show your child that you trust their new teacher to look after them and they are not just a stranger.

Our preschool instructors are always caring, friendly, and enthusiastic and have infinite patience! We also have small class sizes and the instructor is in the water to offer additional support to your child. For any child who may be more anxious than others we like to add an assistant to the class to help give them that little bit more reassurance and support until they settle in. All preschool lessons incorporate teaching with SwimFin aids as well as the opportunity for the child to swim unaided.


What are the benefits of preschool swimming?

You are probably already aware of the cognitive benefits to your child from learning to swim at an early age, but these developmental benefits do not stop, in fact the first 7 years of your child’s life are crucial. For example you have been part of a class where your child has started to learn the vital life skill of peer interaction, this skill of social interaction only really starts to develop from 3 years old which is the age our preschool lessons start.

We use games and songs to reinforce the peer social skills within the class, which can help your little one prepare for nursery or school. Children learn to control their own body not only by being in the water to swim, but sitting on poolside waiting on their turn to jump. We use toys in our games to help aid in the development of good hand/eye co-ordination.


Does my child need to be in a preschool class?

Having made the decision to move your child on to swimming lessons how do you know which class is the right one for them. This is a question we hear often. Your child has completed the adult and child programme, they are confident in the basics and can travel a short distance unaided. Does this mean they should skip preschool?

At Big Blue we fully respect the skills your child has learned through their previous swimming programme, and even though they may be confident in some of the core aquatic skills there are certain skills they may not yet have. This is why we would advise that your child goes into a preschool class initially. However we look at every child joining our lessons individually and advise the correct ability group for them based on their ability in the pool.

Remember the fun shouldn’t stop at the end of the swimming lesson, if you can continue to take your child to the pool so you can keep on enjoying the magic moments. If you are not able to go swimming regularly then even bath time can be a fun – although we are not responsible for any damage caused by excessive splashing!