BY VICTORIA RICH
Why is repetition so important with babies learning? As parents we can find this boring but if you only googled the words baby / swim / repetition all you would see is pages and pages of swim schools, day care links explaining why repetition works. Read through the various baby / parenting sites counting how many times consistency repetition and routine come up.
Then why is repetition the most resisted element in parent and baby swimming classes or perhaps baby activities in general. It’s all about building their swimming foundations little by little, piece by piece.
Some of you start at home with cue words like Stop, Ready, Go and putting your little ones under the shower which will set you up for a smooth transition in to swimming classes but then by the time you get to the first few terms of swimming lessons you the parent are bored of doing the same thing and singing the same old songs week after week. As a parent if I attended another sport I would probably do the same but with swimming being my forte I can see the little by little, piece by piece progressions your little ones are making and TRUST ME it’s worth the investment of time and money.
Humpty dumpty for example it’s only a few lines and takes a small section of the class but we could list ten progressions that parentally you may not see as advancement and that’s in just one song out of 15 songs per class (approx).
It’s one of swimming teachers’ biggest joys to see little faces take their building block towards the next step. It’s well known that it usually takes about 10,000 hours to master a skill perfectly. But with new research emerging that it just takes persistence and practice to make improvements.
Forbes magazine says “Most of us are deeply disturbed at the prospect of being horrible at something, even temporarily. When you try something new, you’re usually very bad, and you know it. The easiest way to eliminate that feeling of angst is to quit practicing and go do something else, so that’s what most of us do.” (sidebar:- is this why our kids are trying so many different sports as we allow them to feed off their emotional angst. ha ha I too am guilty of this to but that’s a whole other article)
The early hours of trying something new are always challenging, but a little persistence can result in huge increases in skill. The human brain is optimized to pick up new skills extremely quickly. If you persist and practice in an intelligent way, you’ll always experience dramatic improvements in a very short period of time.
Our little ones of course are just the same but when the advice/ structure is to only put them in one class a week it looks like this:
- 30 mins of swimming a week = 20 hours a year in swim class (that’s with full attendance)
- Equating to 0.3% of their time a week on swimming
- Totalling 3% of their time per term.
As you can see we are not giving them much time to pick up and understand new and demanding skills.
As swim teachers we know and understand that this is concentrated learning for them hence we fill it with the repetition reminding little ones of the expectation along with routine encouraging them to get prepared and be ready for each skill set, showing us that they are learning, understanding thus are ready to move on.
Don’t panic I’m not saying you shouldn’t be driven mad by swimming nursery rhymes but just remember swim teachers are not singing for your enjoyment but for that of your little one who only spends 0.3% of their week in the swimming lesson and love hearing Jelly on a Plate a million times over.
Victoria Rich is the Director of SWIM RECRUIT Mobile Swim School, more details HERE.