So it’s been a while now since I last wrote about our family swimming journey and working with Swim England over the coming year, but I’m pleased to say we’ve had some great progress when it comes to both Freddie and Sasha’s swimming!
Freddie has now moved onto Level 4 of the Swim England ‘Learn to Swim Awards’ which has really boosted his confidence, and Sasha has progressed to Level 2. The latter has been an especially BIG DEAL for a 5 year old who under a year ago refused to jump into the pool on her own or even have a go at swimming without a float, so we are very proud of her. Freddie has also gained his 10M distance badge in the summer, although I suspect he could officially gain his 25M badge now, having swum this distance for his Beavers Stage 1 Swim Badge the other (I must follow this up with his swim teacher, bad mum!).
Having the different badges to aim for has really upped both children’s motivation, and they try extra hard now to complete different requirements of each badge (you can see what you have to do exactly for each one here). I remember always being over the moon getting a new badge when I learnt to swim as a child, and it’s clear that some things never change when it comes to ‘dangling the carrot’ so to speak.
I guess like many busy families juggling swimming lessons with other commitments, you often need good incentive to keep going each and every week, especially if your child isn’t a ‘natural’ swimmer, and badges and the enjoyment and excitement of gaining them can really help. I think what also makes us stay more motivated is having the children’s lessons at a time that really suits our family too. So, in our case, Saturday mornings work best for us right now- the children aren’t tired after a busy day at school, and my husband, Adam, comes too, meaning we can help each other get the kids showered and changed whilst the other wrangles with our 3 month old baby. We’re also lucky that both Freddie and Sasha have really enthusiastic teachers who are great with young children, and we know that they both look forward to seeing them every week. This in itself makes a huge difference, and I really think it’s worth taking the time to find a teacher who your child ‘clicks’ with.
We’re off on holiday this half term to somewhere with a pool, and I know the children can’t wait to show their cousins their new-found swimming skills compared to when we all went on holiday this time last year!
I’d love to hear from you about your children’s swimming, and if they have lessons, what keeps them motivated and want to progress? Do you have regular badges that are earned? I’ve seen on the Swim England website that there are sometimes interim badges offered for completing a particular skill, even if a child isn’t ready to move up a level, and I think these sound brilliant but I’m not sure our pool offers them- I must investigate this weekend! I know these would’ve really helped encourage Sasha these past 18 months or so.
I’m looking to do a vlog shortly about our swimming journey so far, so watch this space!
*In collaboration with Swim England who are working with over the coming year, all thoughts and opinions as a swimming mum my own!