We are often asked, “how long will it take for my child to learn to swim?” The answer to this is difficult for two reasons. Firstly, there is no magic number of lessons as each child is different and progresses at their own rate. Then there is the challenge of attempting to define what makes a strong swimmer.
Water Safety New Zealand has set the goal that all New Zealand children should be able to swim 200m confidently by the age of 12 years. Today, less than 25% of our 12 year olds are able to swim 200m.
At Hilton Brown Swimming we believe that only those that can swim 400m can call themselves a competent swimmer. People must also understand that factors such as surf, rips, undertows and wearing clothing are external factors which mean that the ability to swim 400m does not mean you cannot get into difficulty. Therefore a sound understanding of water safety is also paramount.
Swimming is an extremely complex motor skill. Progress will not always be steady, it will come in peaks and children will sometimes seem like they plateau in their learning. The key to maximising your child’s progress is to maintain continuity of lessons. Our teachers continually monitor your child’s progress and are available to give you feedback at any time. They can also give tips on what you can do to assist their progress at home.
Many swimming skills can be practised on dry land including arm and leg actions. Children learn a great deal through free play and experimentation, and for smaller children water confidence can be practised in the bath at home.
Increasing the frequency of lessons from once to twice a week or doing skills clinics during the school holidays will also accelerate your child’s progress. For more tips and advice on your child speak to the staff at your local Hilton Brown Swimming pool.