Fishy, fishy, fishy, come swim in my sea” chant a group of five-year-olds adorned with plastic fins.
“Sharky, sharky, sharky, you can’t catch me” tease the group of confident looking ‘fish’ at the other end of the pool. We’re at the Swim Academy in Holiday Village Aliathon in Cyprus. George, an ASA level two qualified swimming coach is kicking off the first lesson of the day with a reinvented game of British Bulldogs. It’s a clear favourite among the budding new swimmers. As is George. When I eventually manage to peel him away from his adoring fans (fins still attached), he offers up his top tips on how to teach children to swim. Listen up…
1. Get water-confident
One of the biggest fears for little ones learning to swim is the idea of their face going under water. Get round this by encouraging them to blow bubbles in the water while staying in arms reach. This can be in the bath at home, in your local pool – wherever they feel more comfortable. Gradually, they’ll get used to the sensation and start splashing about in no time.
2. Make it fun
Invent games that make swimming feel exciting, and disguise the fact it’s a lesson. Encourage kids to venture from one side of the pool to another with a game of ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’. Or, try Treasure Island – a great game for encouraging them to swim underwater. Invest in some sinkable toys and goggles, and watch kids can dive to the bottom of the pool to salvage some treasure.
3. Focus on using different parts of the body
Ever heard of ice-cream scoop arms and speedboat legs? We didn’t think so. It’s really important that kids use each and every part of their body when in the water, so try making up different movements and notions and to get them kicking their legs and moving their arms. And, where possible, be inventive – George and his team think up new games every day to encourage movement.
4. Get lessons at one of our Holiday Villages
Swimming lessons are even better when the sun’s shining – and you’re not in charge. Why not head to one of our Holiday Villages and sign your kid up for swimming lessons? Lessons are available for kids of any ability, and groups have a maximum number of six attendees. It guarantees that your little ones will get lots of attention and tips, and there’s a chance to make new pals to splash about with later. Achievements don’t go by unnoticed either. Watch your kid strut their stuff on stage with regular presentation nights that invite every swimmer up on stage to be awarded with a certificate and a towel.
5. Mix it up
If you’ve got older kids, sign them up for a Rookie Lifeguard class where they’ll learn essential skills to help themselves or anyone else who’s struggling in the water. Meanwhile, Football Academy is perfect for those who love keepy-uppys, and budding west-enders can hone their singing and dancing skills at Stage Academy, too. Ever feel like your kids are little monkeys? They’ll love swinging on the high ropes at our Aerial Adventure courses, or trying out a spot of water cricket in the pool.