• Paul Donnelly

How long will it take my child to learn to swim?

Don't apply the pressure

This is the question I get asked the most when people enquire about lessons. I always take a breath and smile before coming back with an equally open ended question like ‘How long is a piece of string?’.

As a parent, I fully understand the cost of extra-curricular activities and the pressure it adds to families finances but Learning to Swim is a life skill which can help save your child’s life.

Consistently taking regular lessons once or twice a week will help to build your child’s confidence in the water and they will quickly begin to learn basic skills like floating, blowing bubbles, putting their face in the water.

At home, when your child takes a bath or a shower let the water run over their face even when they cry. Fill the bath with toys and encourage them to play, splash and enjoy the water. If you have a pool at home or in your compound go swimming regularly as a family. Let your child play in the water safely with toys and encourage them to jump in and swim with aids or with yourself always giving them support.

Don’t cause your child stress in their lessons if they don’t progress though the levels each term. It’s not a race and once they have perfected the correct technique you will see very fast progression in their swimming strokes. Consistency is key.

Also swimming short distances with good technique is much more important than swimming long distances with poor technique. Perfecting perfect technique will help your child swim further and faster!

Another suggestion is not to take a break over the ‘Winter’. As a Brit, I struggle to understand that it is too cold to swim in Dubai. Our pools are temperature controlled so the water is balmy. It just requires the swimmer to dry off quickly after leaving the water. When children return to the pool they need to re-learn skills previously mastered.

Many companies like ourselves run intensive lessons during the holidays. These are a great way of giving your child confidence in the pool and are normally very cost effective. They often result in fast skill progression because the children get to practice every day

Swimming can bring so much joy and fun to family holidays and it is a skill which can help to build healthy habits for life. You are giving your child a gift that will last a lifetime.

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