Summer Holiday Swim Camp 2017!

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Please fill in the form below to register your interest or contact Peter at nanukswim@mac.com or on 0767142072.

Links:

RLSS Rookie Lifeguard:

Swim England (formerly ASA) Learn to Swim Programme:

London Royal Docks Open Water:

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Press release: Baby swimming experts warn parents about the hidden risks of floating neck rings for babies

Press release: Baby swimming experts warn parents about the hidden risks of floating neck rings for babies

Birthlight Water Parenting – Kali

Thank you to Birthlight Tutor Kirsteen Ruffell for another fabulous article. Its is wonderful to see and read how confident Kali is in the water!

Here is a link to her article: Birthlight Water Parenting – Kali

You’ve got to love lycra if you are a swimmer!

Being dressed for the task in hand is a good start for any activity but especially when it comes to swimming lessons.

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I’ll cut straight to the chase – I have quite a pet hate for baggy swimming shorts!  

They are fine for going on holiday and relaxing on the beach or even for a casual swim, however, they don’t have a place for a swimming lesson.

When you are a beginner learning to swim, as a young child or an adult, the single biggest thing that a swimming teacher its trying to show you is how the water behaves and works and how is feels next to your body.  If you are used to swimming then this is something you take for granted but it is something we’ve all had to learn and experience at the beginning of our swimming life whether we can remember that or not.

Water is, of course, all enveloping.  When we are in the water it surrounds us and supports us.  We can feel the water next to our skin.  When swimming it’s a lovely feeling to have the water flowing around your body – feeling the ‘thickness’ of it under your hands as you pull your arm back, how it rolls off your legs as you kick, the lifting effect of it underneath you and the cascade of water on your back.  When we swim in baggy clothing you lose a lot of that ‘feel’.  I truly believe learning to swim in baggy clothing slows down not only your speed through the water but very fundamentally the learning process itself!

Seeing a young boy trying to float on his back when his shorts are bellowing water and dragging his legs down is frustrating.

You’ve got to love lycra!  Jammers (cycling type shorts) or trunks for boys / men.  Once piece costumes for girls / women.

Let’s remember a swim hat (silicon is recommend).  A hat is for hygiene and to keep hair out of the way.  I so often see children swimming without hats and trying to learn how to breathe only to have a mouthful of hair each time they try to take a breath.

Last thing is a well fitting pair of goggles.

Dressed for success.

Water Wobbles?

Please read this wonderful article about “water wobbles” by Francoise Freedman, the founder of Birthlight.

“Water Wobbles” unpacked

Swimming classes are not just another activity!

It’s learning a lifesaving skill.

Its shocking to know that new research done by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) shows that 1 in 3 children now leave primary school are unable to swim – up from the previously reported figure of 1 in 5.

The research has revealed that around 200,000 children will leave primary school this summer unable to swim, amounting to an astonishing 2 million non-swimmers over the next ten years.

Children are not achieving the National Curriculum target of swimming 25 metres unaided by age 11 and  40% of those children who can’t swim haven’t even been offered the opportunity of learning to swim.

This shows we cannot rely on the education system in teaching this essential life skill. More than 400 people drown each year in the UK, and that drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death in children.

It states in the guidelines for schools that: ”Each child should be safe in and around water, and a key element of this is being able to swim a minimum of 25 metres unaided.” This is not being met and it’s worrying that for a nation living on an island so many cannot swim.

We are seeing a new generation of parents that cannot swim and therefore cannot teach their children or at least pass on the basic skills. Many adults are nervous in and around the water and children grow up with a fear of water.

We see children coming to our classes who have no concept of being in the water and we also coach adults who have never learned to swim. Swimming lessons are not there to find the next olympic champion, first of all its for learning a life saving skill and if that leads to a medal than that’s a bonus!

So many parents suddenly start thinking about swimming lessons when the summer holidays are approaching, but its not something you quickly learn like learning to ride your bike in a day. It takes time and the foundation of being able to swim starts with confidence in the water and a general enjoyment in and around the water.

If you have any questions about swimming with your child or you are thinking of having lessons yourself, please get in touch.

 

Why Do Baby Swimming Classes?

Swimming with your young baby in formal swimming classes has become an increasingly popular activity for parents in recent years.
The reason for beginning early is not to get a head start on training to get an Olympic gold medal! However, from a purely learning to swim point-of-view children who start in the water earlier become increasingly familiar with the water environment. It becomes their second home when not on the land. lilia-king-037
Even for babies who may have a shaky start in their swim class they will soon learn to understand water, experience how it behaves and how to move in it.  They will become water confident long before starting school. This will give your child a great start when they begin to take more traditional swimming lessons as they get older.
As a teacher I’ve seen children begin swimming lessons at all ages and those who have swum from a young age are ready to get stuck into classes and begin learning proper strokes and skills right away where-as those who may not have had that start will be spending the first few weeks and months of swimming classes just getting into the water and getting their head wet.
Coming to baby swimming classes is not just to learn how to swim however. Often basic safety elements are taught that apply to both parents and children. How should a child safely enter the water? Can they find safety if they fall in accidentally? Can they roll on their back and float? How is it best to deal with a young child in the changing room or around the pool?
With babies in their first year of life a lot of the aquatic exercises are built around enhancing the physical development of the baby. By using the water as an aid babies can move in ways they can’t do on land. This can help to strengthen muscles and stimulate different parts of the brain involved with balance and limb co-ordination.
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Underlying all this, I feel, is the most important thing; having fun and bonding with your baby. Even parents who a very strong swimmers are often at a loss as how to swim with their child or to even know what to do with them! A qualified baby swimming teacher can give you a great start to introducing exercises to your child.
Why have a three-year old who is terrified of water and won’t let go of their arm bands when you can have a child who can swim underwater, pick up toys, jump and dive into the pool and swim on their own?

Swimming Goggles

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I recommend children to wear swimming goggles from around two years of age if they can. Certainly when they are putting their face in the water more. 

Using goggles is not just so children can see under the water but to also protect their eyes from the chemicals in water.  Even in well managed pools there will be significant chlorine that will harm the eyes over time. 

For children who may be reluctant to put their face in the water using goggles is one of the best ways to encourage them. 

Often young children don’t like to put goggles on. I recommend letting them play with goggles at home.  Using them in the bath is fun.  Looking under water to retrieve sunken toys or using waterproof crayons to draw on the bottom of the bath.  (Fun for the kids but less fun to clear up!)  Role-play is great so your child can pretend to be a swimming teacher and dolls or teddies can wear goggles and go to their ‘swimming lessons’!  Try to make wearing goggles fun.  At the pool encourage your child but don’t push it too hard.

A few tips to help fitting goggles.

1.  Straps shouldn’t be too loose or tight – neither will help to make a seal on the face.

2.  For the youngest swimmers I recommend more traditional two-piece goggles (i.e. two eye pieces).  They fit a smaller face better.  For children around 4-6 years swimming masks are good.

3.  To fit goggles place the eye cups / mask on the face first and then pull the strap over the head.

4.  If taking goggles off during pool time try to get your child to lift the goggles onto their forehead and not pull them down to their neck.  You have to repeat the fitting procedure each time if you do the latter!

Vegan Oat Cookies

img_1728If you are anything like us, always rushing around from one activity to the next, you will know how difficult it is to feed your kids healthy snacks on the go sometimes! With healthy I don’t mean a low fat yoghurt or a low calorie diet bar. With healthy I mean what active little “athletes” need without feeding them junk that is full of additives and lacking real ingredients and nutrients that our kids need.

The key is to be prepared and plan ahead! If you have regular activities every week, don’t just think about everything you have to pack for your swimming lesson for example, but plan your snacks too. Especially after swimming kids get very hungry, but sometimes there isn’t enough time to eat a meal before you take them swimming either and you can end up in the quick unhealthy snack trap!

My two love cake and biscuits and if I give them the choice between a readily available muesli bar and cake, they would choose cake! Most of us would! Finding something that kids like, isn’t too bad for for them and serves them with the energy they need and that won’t cost you a fortune isn’t that easy to find.

Make it yourself! Vegan Oat Cookies are just one example of what you can do! They are the perfect compromise between cake and muesli bar! Its really easy and you can be creative too by changing the recipe to your taste. I used dark chocolate chips today, but its up to you. Preparation time is less than 1o mins and they take about 10-15 mins to bake!

Ingredients

100g porridge oats

100g plain or wholemeal flour (your choice)

75g brown or white sugar (your choice)

1tsp baking powder

75g dairy free margarine (e.g. soya)

1tbs golden syrup

1tbs dairy free milk (e.g. soya)

1tsp vanilla extract

Optional: chocolate chips, raisins, nuts etc.

 

Method

Preheat your oven to 180C (Fan 160C)

You can put all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix it well with your hand or you can do what I did and put it all into a food processor with a dough blade. It will only take a few seconds and all the ingredients are well mixed. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spoon equal amounts onto the tray and shape into rounds. I flattened them out slightly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until lovely and golden brown. Let them cool a few minutes and then enjoy!