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Advice for our youngest Sharks

ADVICE FOR OUR NEWEST SHARKS (From veteran Shark Parents)

What advice would you give a parent to help a new swimmer get ready for their first practice?

To tell the child they won’t swim in the lanes/bigger part of the pool until they’re ready

Talk about how much fun it will be! Count down the days, encourage them to be excited!!

Remind your child why they wanted to join. Show understanding if they are nervous. Give an example when you had a similar situation as a kid. Don't hover.

It’s just for fun

Get your child comfortable in the water prior to the first practice.

Bring a robe or towel and warm cozy clothes. The weather is warm but not quite hot, so the children get chilly easily.

Stay at practice the whole time - don't leave your kid. [Editors note: This is actually a requirement of the team. Swimmers under 11 have to have a parent/guardian present for the entire practice.] I also have found that if the kids practice their stroke on a towel on the floor before getting into the water they can focus on the movements without worrying about being in the water and sinking. Just lay a towel out and have them lie on it and slowly do the reach and pull (freestyle stroke) a few times - 30 seconds tops.

Prepare them for cold water and lots of kids

When practice begins, the water is still pretty chilly. My kids like to wrap up in a bathrobe when they get out as opposed to a towel.

Embrace the chaos. Emphasize that kids do not need to know how to properly swim.

Have fun, bring goggles and a towel, and HAVE FUN!

Spend time with him/her in the pool!

When have time practice on your mark, get set, go scenario with them on side of the pool and teach them to jump out or dive in. Just practice the START. That's the scariest part.

What advice would you give a parent to help a new swimmer get ready for their first meet?

It can be loud and a bit chaotic, but it also can be a lot of fun.

Pack, towel, something warm to wear (littles get cold!), snack, water, toy to share with friends

Same as above. Also talk about how each time they have a meet they will get better and better! Record their time at the first meet and see if they can beat it each meet after. Encourage, encourage, encourage!!

Remind your child why they wanted to compete. Remind your child they earned this - because they did. They have to qualify.

Go to bed early!

I would tell the child that the meets are super organized and that the parents/leads/coaches are great and helping the child get to where they need to go.

There are donuts and candy

Bring something to pass the time at swim meets. Personally, I don’t let my kids bring electronics as there are plenty of other kids for them to play with. Board games and card games are perfect.

Bring a black sharpie in case help is needed to mark kids. Put sunscreen on BEFORE heading to the pool for meets so it has a chance to soak in before getting marked up.

Help him/her not to worry at all about the competition part - focus on the concessions and having fun. Did I mention concessions?

Don't put on sunscreen until they are marked with a marker. So put on sunscreen at the event, after check in and mark up. Bring snacks and activities to have between swims while waiting. Bring a towel and something comfy for them to sit on, maybe another towel.

I'd say a bathrobe and a warm towel, maybe a second thin one as well for meets to sit on. Plan for things taken to swim meets to need to be cleaned that afternoon in the laundry. I found fine tip sharpie can work in certain places on goggles.

Bring extra goggles and caps, print off a heat sheet, bring an activity book (no crayons) to play with while waiting around, snacks and money for concessions and label everything!

Anything else parents of very young Sharks should know?

The coaches really do want the kids to feel successful and understand that success looks different for each child.

Coaches do a good job of instructing kids, we do not need to hover too much

How much improvement they will make over the course of the the season is incredible!

Don't hover. If your kid is not a strong swimmer then ask coaches for suggestions and understand you may need to enroll them in professional water safety/swim classes.

It’s just for fun

Try any style of swimming. See how you like it.

For meets, bring a folding chair or two.

Some meets have a parent event so (if so inclined) bring a swimsuit. "

Don't buy the Sharks swimsuit if you do not think you'll compete.

Put sunscreen on your kiddo. Keep an eye on your child and don’t expect that the coaches alone to keep them safe, lined up, and organized.

It can feel overwhelming at first, but it's all for the kids, and there is something magical about summer swim team. It might drive you crazy at times, but the kids treasure it so.

Encourage your children to watch and cheer for the older swimmers (especially their assistant and apprentice coaches) at the meets. It will help them feel like part of the team.

You'll be amazed at their progress, but also at the number of goggles they will go through! Such a fun start of summer tradition!

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