Why repetition is important for young children learning to swim.
We all know that it can be pretty hard to force ourselves to do the same thing over and over again. Repeating the same activity you did last week, and the week before, and so on and so on – that’s why we crave vacations! So, why is repetition the best way to teach a child to swim?
“At SwimWest we train our instructors to use a repetition-friendly learning style,” says SwimWest owner, Karen Clay. “The right level of interest in the activity usually has our young swimmers wanting to engage in it repeatedly anyway. Repetition is how they develop muscle memory to improve physical skills.”
What is repetition to a young swimmer?
It’s not just doing the same activity twice or more – it’s experiencing it in a new way each time as they improve. Life can be quite confusing to anyone who is exposed to new things all the time like a child is. It makes sense that children get comfort from the familiar. That includes familiar skills too. Repeating a new skill allows them to become more secure in that new activity. The phrase practice makes perfect is more than just a cliche.
Creating a Path to Mastery
Trying a new skill lots of times gives them a new level of understanding every time they do it. Even as adults, we enjoy some repetition that feels familiar. We just affectionately call it a habit, instead. Of course, we like the comfort and self-affirmation that comes with feeling like we know how to do something well. That is the same type of thing a child craves.
Play. Learn. Repeat.
According to most early childhood educators, it boils down to the simple instruction of – play. learn. repeat. The benefits of repeating new physical activities are that it is useful for advancement and awareness. For a child, feeling like they have improved boosts self-confidence and encourages them to try the next level skill. Then, of course, they’ll rinse, repeat and do it all over again.