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reluctant first time swimmers Markham Swim School

What to Expect for First Time Swimmers

We’ve all seen (or rather heard) it. The screaming, crying and uneasiness of first time swimmers who just don’t seem to be enjoying their lesson. Maybe it’s your child or maybe it’s someone else’s but the bottom line? It’s perfectly normal. We see this every day.

reluctant first time swimmersWhen someone is first learning to swim, the prospect of water can be incredibly scary. Whether you’re an adult or a child, many first time swimmers face unique challenges that we recognize can’t simply go away. It takes trust, perseverance and time. For children, being away from parents and interacting with something that’s only been introduced at bathtime is strange and new. For adults, fear or discomfort around water can be deep-rooted and stem from a negative experience. From 3 months to 93 years, it’s never too early or too late to start swimming lessons and we take pride in making that experience as easy and smooth as possible.

First lessons are often challenging for parents and guardians.

During lesson times, we ask that parents remain in the viewing area. Often times, seeing a familiar face can actually make children more upset. While we acknowledge that it can be difficult for parents to watch their child cry and remain distant to the situation, your child is in good hands. Being in water can be scary and we typically see an adjustment period of about 4-5 classes before they understand that water can be fun. Hang in there! Things will get easier. We promise!

Often, we hear from parents that they are embarrassed or feel guilty that their child can be heard from the viewing area. Please don’t worry! Our staff complete 40+ hours of specialization training on top of their current instructor qualifications. We see resistance every day and many of the parents in the viewing area have been in your shoes.

Feel free to grab a coffee, run to the grocery store or just sit back, relax and enjoy your child-free time.

reluctant first time swimmersSomething else that parents may be faced with is their children not wanting to attend swimming lessons at all. While swimming may not be the choice sport for everyone, it’s an important lifelong skill that is key to ensuring the safety of your child. If your child is expressing that they simply don’t want to go to their lesson, it’s a good idea to try and decipher why.

Are they too tired? Do they find that as they are getting older, there are other things that they want to do instead? If this is the case, it might be of value to try an alternative lesson time. If your child is old enough, speak with them about when they would like to take their lesson. Maybe a Friday night isn’t ideal if they’re missing out on plans with friends every week. If there’s a time that you can both agree on, that may help with feeling excited about coming to class! If they don’t feel that their instructor is a good match for them, let us know! Perhaps they’re feeling discouraged by a lack of progression through levels. We can help with that too! Whatever the reason, we are here to help.

We want to ensure that all our fish (including our first time swimmers) have the best experience possible and that means our older students too.

If you are an adult and feel hesitant about starting lessons, you are not alone. In fact, our adult classes are quite popular and fill quickly! Our adult program is about goal setting and building confidence in and around water. Believe it or not, adults actually fall into the highest percentile for drowning. It’s never too late to learn how to swim! It’s not a matter of whether you’ll need to know how to swim but when. Our adult classes are offered at quieter times in the pool so that you don’t need to worry about space, distractions, and the eyes of everyone in the viewing area. Our instructors are well-versed in the best techniques for helping to combat fear and uneasiness around water and will gently encourage you to reach your goals. reluctant first time swimmers

Ultimately, we want to ensure that everyone’s experience, including our first time swimmers, at Russell Aquatics is the best it can possibly be. If you are concerned about your child showing resistance towards lessons or you, yourself are nervous when it comes to pool time, we are always happy to help. Speak with one of our team members and we can give you some helpful tips and tricks to make lessons easier for the whole family!

Markham Swim School

Meet the Team: Cassidy

Meet Cassidy – our General Manager at Russell Aquatics! Cassidy oversees facility operations, scheduling, backyard lessons, manages administration staff and trains all of our instructors to ensure that the quality of service offered at Russell Aquatics is second to none. Cassidy is a certified National Lifeguard and First Aid instructor, examiners and instructor trainer. She has attended several international conferences where she has been able to learn from experts in the field to bring world-class instruction to Russell Aquatics. Her love for aquatics and passion for teaching make her a great asset to the Russell team and go-to for any questions or concerns.

As long as she can remember, Cassidy has loved the water. From bath time as a baby to participating in triathlons as a teen, it’s no surprise that she decided to pursue a career in the aquatic field. “Growing up, my family always seemed to be in the pool,” says Cassidy. “I developed a love for water early on and that early exposure really helped in ensuring that I was never afraid to jump right in”. With swimming lessons beginning before she can even remember, Cassidy is an advocate for getting kids in the water as early as possible. “It helps to prevent the development of fear and is a huge sense of relief to know that in the event of an accidental fall-in, your child knows what to do”.

Cassidy worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor throughout high school, where she learned of her love for teaching – both swimming lessons and essential lifesaving skills. After graduation, she went on to pursue a career in nursing but quickly found that her passion lay in aquatics. After working for several swim schools and gaining hundreds of hours in experience, Cassidy found her home at Russell Aquatics. “I feel like I belong at Russell Aquatics,” says Cassidy. “Everyone shares the same passion as me in teaching such an essential life skill and it’s great to feel supported in doing work that is so important to me”.

Outside of work, Cassidy is the older sister to younger sister, Kaitlin and brother, Spencer – both of whom are also members of the Russell team! She happily lives with her boyfriend of six years, Justin and they adore their “son”, Bear – a small mixed-breed dog who captures the heart of anyone that crosses his path. Cassidy loves to spend time with family and friends, is an avid fan of the Montreal Canadiens and loves Disney movies. In fact, one of her nicknames amongst family is Neem (a short form for Nemo), due to her passion for swimming and love for the movie “Finding Nemo”.

Next time you see Cassidy at the swim school, feel free to say “hi” and pick her brain on all things aquatics. She is one of our most knowledgeable staff and will always have an answer!

Backyard Pool Safety Water Safety

Backyard Pool Safety

Make backyard pool safety a priority this summer, as we know, the amount of time that our children spend in pools, lakes, and oceans tends to increase during the warmer months. With so many of us having access to backyard pools, it’s important to remember that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for young children. We need to be taking the correct precautions as young children can drown silently in as little as 25 seconds, even in the shallow end or baby pool. 

Backyard Pool Safety

Most children drown because their parents turn their head for just a second or have no idea that their child is even near the pool. In nine out of ten drownings, parents or caregivers say they’d been supervising the child at the time. But kids – especially toddlers, who are at the highest risk are impulsive and fast. When a child drowns, they don’t yell or scream – they sink fast. Ironically, many drownings occur at parties with plenty of adults around because everybody assumes that someone else is watching the water.

First thing’s first, put some rules in place. Make backyard pool safety a priority.

Let kids know that an adult should always be supervising while they swim and if that’s not the case, stay away from the water. Always stay within arm’s reach. Supervision of children in and around the water must be close, constant and consistent.

When you’re at the pool, beach or lake, silence your phone and stow it out of reach in your bag so you’re not tempted to use it. Distracted supervision can be just as bad as not supervising at all. It is a good idea to designate a “water watcher” to ensure that supervision is constant and delegated. Take turns with another adult. This will help with distractions and ensure that the children are being watched at all times while giving you the opportunity to relax. If you are having a backyard party, hire a lifeguard.

Kids who are not yet experienced swimmers need constant touch supervision when they’re playing in or around a pool or at the beach. Someone should stay in the water with your child at all times, within touching distance, giving them your undivided attention.

If your child requires assistance with swimming, they should wear a life jacket. Puddle jumpers, water wings, noodles and flutter boards are not sufficient protection devices and should only be used for fun – not for safety.

It is always a good idea to ensure that the pool itself is not a risk. All backyard pools should have a fence so that young children’s curiosity doesn’t lead to any accidents. The fence should be self-closing and self-latching – you can even add an alarm to the gate or pool if someone should enter when not allowed. If you happen to have an above ground pool, remove the ladder when an adult is not present. You can never be too careful.

With small children, summer barbeques and lots of fun in the sun comes the tendency for pool toys, towels and other items to get left around the pool. Keep the area clear so that nobody trips and avoid bringing breakable items like glasses and bottles near the water. That’s a tricky clean-up should something break!

It is also important to ensure that there are appropriate supplies nearby in the event of an emergency. Is there something that you can throw to someone who is struggling? Is there a phone nearby? Do you have a first aid kit? Do you have a plan if an accident should happen? If you answered no to any of these questions, consider the reasons why this might be important and get on it! It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

Backyard Pool Safety

The final tip is without a doubt, the single most important thing that you can do in protecting your child from drowning.

Sign your child up for swimming lessons. Start as early as possible with a parent and tot program and continue lessons as they grow older. There is no better way to protect your child than giving them the skills that they need to stay safe and save themselves in the event of an accident.

Whether your children are young, in their teens or you don’t have children at all, it is always important to take precautions and be prepared. Be sure to have backyard pool safety top of mind this summer. Having a backyard pool can be a lot of fun but with that comes a responsibility to keep your children and the community safe. Have a plan, establish rules, keep the area clean and ensure that your pool is fenced off. If you have children, start swimming lessons early. It’s not a matter of if they will encounter water but when – especially if you have a backyard pool. Swimming can be lots of fun but safety comes first!

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