How can I support my child when transitioning into independent classes?
Understand your child
It is important to understand how your child might behave during transition and why. Reflect on their personality, how they respond to change, how dependent they are on you (or other caregivers) in the water.
Consider other transitions that may be occurring at this time. These may include: new baby in the family; toilet training; a big bed; starting childcare or kindergarten; a recent holiday or major family event; etc. Lots of ‘big’ transitions happening to your child at once may contribute to unsuccessful transition in swimming.
Parents of shy children may need to discuss it often with their child. You may like to bring your child along to watch an appropriate independent class. (talk with Simon or Andrea to arrange this) Generally, you being comfortable and relaxed when talking about transition will help your child feel comfortable too.
Planning for transition - If you plan for success you are likely to succeed!
In the pool:
- Allow the teacher to take your child for short periods of time
- Talk positively about the teacher to your child
- Use the ‘scaffolding’ concept – as your child is progressing, give them less and less physical support in the pool; allow them autonomy and independence within the limits of safety.
- Talk about independent classes casually to your child. “You’re getting pretty clever in the water with mummy, soon you’ll be able to go in by yourself (with the teacher)” Keep it relaxed and positive.
Once you have an independent class booked:
- Inform your child that they are moving into a class without you. Be positive and encouraging.
On the day:
- Plan to arrive early so you and your child are relaxed and not rushing.
- Bring your child’s goggles (if they have them) otherwise we have goggles they can wear.
- Bear in mind that this may be one of their first experiences of a class structure without you. Participating in a group is a big change from being the centre of attention and negative behaviours or anxieties may emerge. It is important that your child is allowed to develop a relationship with their teacher on their own terms, in order to learn effectively.
- So, we ask that parents remain positive and encouraging but slightly removed. Sit where you think is best, however the seats nearest the office are furthest away from the teaching area and gives your child some emotional space from you. You may like to engross yourself in a book (or pretend to) and look up and smile only when you hear the teacher praising your child.
Please talk to Simon or Andrea if you have any further questions.