advice from becky's mum

Advice from Becky’s Mum

We know that as a parent, you may have some questions about your child's lessons and our Learn to Swim programme, so who better to ask than Becky's mum, Kay Adlington? Here is some of the advice Kay offers our SwimStars mums and dads:

Five tips for parents of children about to start their SwimStars journey:

  • Keep it simple – don't force the issue. They are going to have fun & build confidence. Take them when they are ready.
  • Most children love water – talk about how much fun they can have.
  • Don't focus on the lesson part – they learn through having fun. 
  • Talk about any siblings who have already learnt to swim.
  • Don't worry if you can't swim – parents only watch, they don't have to get in the water.


 How you can support a child as they learn to swim?

  • Before the lesson, help them get their bag ready.
  • Watch them whilst they are in the water – don't shout instructions to them – they need to learn to listen to the teacher. Being corrected by the teacher is part of their learning process. 
  • Enjoy watching them grow in confidence and make new friends.
  • Make a fuss when they achieve an award – especially their first – it’s a huge achievement for them. Agree on a small gift for their first award, i.e. going to the cinema, or baking their favourite cake.


Snacks to give a child after swimming

Becky used to like having a chocolate bar/bag of buttons etc. It needs to be small enough not to spoil their main meal – if eating a proper meal after swimming - but things like fruit, cereal or yoghurt bar, small packs of dried fruit are also very good.


What are the important things that a parent should do to help their child develop their swimming skills?

  • Encourage them to enjoy themselves – don't focus on comparing them to other children in the group – they all learn at different rates and will be different ages/abilities etc.
  • Take them on a family swim session so they can 'show you what they can now do' – it’s not about showing off, more about allowing them to develop confidence in their ability without them realising.
  • Don't pressure them by bragging about how good they are – let them learn to listen to a new teacher at swimming (rather than school) join in with the other children, copy others – that's how they learn most. Keep it simple & focus on the fun side.


What should you talk to the swimming teacher about?

  • Ask them to ensure your child understands what is being asked of them.
  • Tell them about any concerns your child may have – ie, Becky (age 7) used to be very wary of hitting the wall when doing backstroke – so she would start to slow down as she got close to the wall - the teacher didn't make a fuss of this and gradually her confidence grew.
  • Tell them about any health issues – particularly ear/throat issues.
  • Talk to them about their progress – but be guided by the teacher’s advice in progressing to the next class - too many parents push their child forward when the child is not quite ready.