Top tips for your child's First Swimming Lesson
Booking your child’s first swimming lesson is an exciting time for children and parents alike. Learning this lifelong skill is an opportunity to open up a world of watery exploration and fun. But we know it can also bring nervousness and pressure for parents and guardians to ensure all runs smoothly on the first day.
Here, our National Aquatic Training Lead, Lynn Goring-Crook, provides a guide to prepare you for your first swimming lesson at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
Prepare your child for the lesson
It’s always good to have a chat with your child before their first lesson so they have time to process all the information and it also gives them a chance to ask you any questions they might have.
They may be going to an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar faces, with a teacher they don’t know and a routine they have not followed before. If you are able to, pop along and visit the centre before the lesson for a casual swim with your child. This can help to alleviate some of these fears as they will have first-hand knowledge of the changing rooms and pool.
Relaying what a great time they are going to have and how much fun the water can be will really set the right tone for your child’s first experience. Remember, children will never be forced into doing anything at our lessons, and our classes are laced with aquatic games to bring fun and learning to life. This is how children learn best and our teachers will meet individual needs and support them in their own learning journey.
Introducing the idea of swimming lessons could also be incorporated into bedtime stories and these fantastic books are a lovely read in the lead up to the first swimming lessons:
- Peppa Goes Swimming – my favourite and one I read to my own children.
- Froggy Learns to Swim – great for those who may be nervous
- Topsey and Tim Learn to Swim – join them on their first lesson with some great tips.
What to pack and bring along
On the day, use our handy list below to tick off everything you need and why not get your child involved in the packing? Sometimes children prefer to go to the lesson ready with their swimming costume on underneath clothes so they can get changed quickly and easily:
- Swimming costume/shorts
- Towel or robe
- Shampoo/conditioner/shower gel if intending on having a shower after.
- Hairbands if needed
- Swimming hat – each child is allocated a coloured hat, depending on their level. Speak to your teacher if you forget or misplace this.
- Locker money or coin – speak to reception for details.
- Goggles – this is a very personal preference, however, may be useful for your child.
- Swim nappy and waterproof cover – if required.
It’s time for the first lesson!
It is the first day and you are ready for your child’s first-ever swimming lesson!
Try and arrive early and check-in at reception to find out where to go.
After changing, we recommend your child goes to the toilet and has a quick ‘rinse off’ shower ready for their lesson, then go to the meeting point for your swimming teacher to come and greet you.
Everyone at Stoke Mandeville Stadium wants your child to have a stunning start with us, so your teacher will come and meet you to introduce themselves and check in with you before leading your child off to their first fantastic swimming lesson.
You may be feeling a little nervous yourself now, but don’t worry, there will be somewhere for you to watch the lesson and marvel at their first experiences in the water.
If your child is nervous, then the swimming teacher may invite you to come poolside or ask your child if they have a favourite teddy to bring along and watch the next week. The teddy can sit poolside and we often find children respond really well to this, as well as your encouragement.
Sometimes progress in early lessons can seem slow, however, it is very important these first experiences are positive and before too long your child will build their water confidence and you will be able to marvel in their first independent swims.