Eye to Eye and Skin to Skin

Why Teaching our Kids with Love Matters

We have all read and experienced the benefits of skin to skin contact with our children.
In a busy world where we run from one place to the next and pack babies in and out of prams, car seats and bouncers, juggling life, work and family, and are constantly ‘on’ sometimes it can be a challenge to take time to enjoy simple skin to skin and eye to eye contact. Parent and baby / toddler swimming lessons are an ideal opportunity for prolonged skin to skin contact and to strengthen the bonds of love, trust and communication between you and your child.
No phones, no Facebook, no TV, no siblings, no distractions or demands, just you and your baby enjoying time in the pool together each week, with you encouraging and supporting them to feel safe and secure, and grow in confidence each week. As they explore the pool and take part in lessons, they’ll learn water confidence and with your help and support start to build the foundations of early swimming.
Becoming adept at reading and responding to children’s cues is a must. Constantly reassuring them, praising them and making eye contact to check their comfort levels, and usually being rewarded with smiles and laughter is very powerful. When you see discomfort or apprehension you can soothe and reassure, building deep connections and trust through non-verbal communication.
During swim lessons every child is different and all progress at their own pace with wobbles and dips along the way happening to even the most confident of little ones. Our job as teachers is to help parents to work through this. Using positive reinforcement, love, reassurance and patience, we can teach parents how to teach their baby to be water confident, and instil a life long love of water in them.
So many learn to swim programmes are fast paced, with little time to consolidate the learning of key skills, or to just enjoy spending time in the pool together, safe in the knowledge that all pool time is valuable and that for babies and toddlers, learning water confidence through play is really important. This great rush to tick of skills and progress to the next level can lead to parent’s becoming anxious or frustrated if their child doesn’t immediately master a new skill, takes longer than their peers, or has a wobble and loses confidence, and ultimately leads to neither parent or child enjoying lessons.
The right way to approach learning, in my opinion is in a child led way, responding to the needs of your child and encouraging them to grow in confidence through having fun with you in the pool at a pace that is right for them at that time. If they are super confident and fly ahead for a month or two, fantastic. But equally if they have a wobble or develop a fear then we work through it with them… with lots of cuddles and love from you to them.
That’s not to say that our lessons aren’t dynamic. We believe they are some of the best available, with excellent results against the STA’s well respected International Learn to Swim Programme who’s curriculum we follow. But to really get the best out of your lesson and achieve the best outcome for your child, you must read and respond to their cues and go at their pace. In fact, I’d apply this thinking to all aspects of raising children.
This ethos is critical to all we do at Merbabies. To find out more about attending Merbabies swim classes, training as a Merbabies teacher or even partnering with us to franchise and grow your own Merbabies business please get in contact with me.
Love and splashes from,
Anna x 

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