You MUST have the required online forms submitted prior to your first day (email will be sent at least 30 days prior to your child's start date):
1. Waiver of Liability 2. Starfish IA Student Information Form 3. Lesson Policies and Guidelines 4. Doctor's Note (only if requested)*
In addition, your child needs:
1. At least two (2) towels, which can be folded so that there are two layers on the bottom and one to cover your child. 2. A washable swim diaper (if your child has not been fully potty trained for at least 6 months).* 3. A positive attitude. Your child can do hard things!
*A washable swim diaper is provided to you as part of your registration fee. You are also welcome to use your own if it has very secure elastic on the waist and both legs. You may want to add a disposable "little swimmer" underneath if you are concerned about cleaning up accidents; but the snuggly fitting washable must be on top!
Please note: No child will be allowed in the water without the all of the proper equipment and documentation. What to expect We will have a lot of information to discuss. I will need to make sure I have a clear understanding of your child's medical history and their past water experiences. I want to make sure I am providing the safest and most productive lessons.
The first lesson will likely be very short. I will begin to try to establish a rapport with your child. I want to establish that I am here to help him/her through this process. This is not to say that we will not be working this day. In fact, we will likely go underwater on the first day. I will start to establish breath control, since that is the foundation of all swimming!
Please make sure you do not give your child any food or drink for 2 hours before the lesson. Also, no fruit, veggies, juice, dairy or meat for 6 hours prior. No one works well on a full stomach, and we will be accomplishing a lot in the normal 10 minutes we have together. This is extremely important on that first day, even though it is short. Because this is all new, many children will be upset or will swallow air when learning to hold their breath.
Your child may be upset on the first day. I want to make you aware of this because it is hard for any of us to see our children upset. Please remember these emotions do not mean they are "fearful." Initially in their lives, crying is their only form of communication. Infants and children cry for a variety of reasons. Crying can mean separation anxiety, since many students are at an age where they feel very attached to parents. Other children are in the phase where they want more control of their own world and get angry when anyone tries to help them. Crying can also mean anxiety or frustration of trying something new. We are all a little nervous when we attempt a new skill. Then as our skill begins to increase and it can meet the challenges at hand, we begin to enjoy the experience. My goal is to set every child up for success as often as possible throughout lessons so that they can build confidence as quickly as possible. In most cases, the emotion will reduce within the first couple weeks.
As the parent, you are the best cheerleader your child could ask for. You are encouraged to sit at the side of the pool. I will try to give you cues as to good times to praise your child throughout the lesson. If you feel it would be better for your child, you are welcome to watch from a place where you can see but they cannot easily see you.
With students who are learning the swim-float-swim, I will get parents in upon request to learn how to swim with your child (typically after we have a pretty solid swim). It's important to know how to swim with your child if you will be swimming during the summer, on vacation, etc, so that you can have fun but also not accidentally undo anything we're working on in lessons. For children who start out upset, this is often a turning point where they realize how much fun it can be. Please plan to discuss this possibility on that first Thursday. This can throw off the schedule a bit, so please be patient if we are running behind on that day. We will work together so that we are being consistent with your child in the water. I see us as a team in this process. I will show you how to send them to the step and where to hold your hands for them to swim to you. If you would like to plan to invite your spouse or someone else who will often be swimming with your child, you are welcome to do so.
After the lesson, I will hand your child out of the pool, laying him on his left side. Please lay one of the towels down on the deck. I will place your child on top of it. Use the second towel to cover and dry your child. Drying his head first will help him warm up more quickly. Please allow him to lay there for a few minutes before getting up. The difference of being in the water can affect their equilibrium slightly.
It's also not a bad idea to bring a sweatshirt for after lessons. While the water is warm, the air temperature might not be.
Above all else, please remember that I am here to answer any questions you may have. It may be difficult to talk poolside because of the schedule, but I will be sure to make myself available to you via phone or email. I want you to be comfortable every step of the way. Your children will sense your emotions, and we want them to become confident and enthusiastic. These are also my goals for you as my Starfish Infant Aquatics parents. Thank you again for choosing Starfish Infant Aquatics. I hope you will be as amazed by our program as I am by my students on a daily basis.