Would you know how to spot a child who was drowning?

I was a much better parent before I had children. Back then, I would never entertain my children by sticking the TV on. I refused to let them get their own way just because they threw an epic tantrum. The only snacks that would pass their lips were carefully selected organic delights. I was the model parent… until my little girl came into the world. These days – and I am going to hold my hands up here – I give in to the tantrums, I let Peppa Pig babysit so that I can have five minutes peace, I bribe my little darling with a bag of Milky Buttons if we can just get round the supermarket without making a scene…

The movies totally misled me before having kids. They made it look easy, so I was sure that parenting was going to be an absolute walk in the park. Now I am a parent – a proud owner of a headstrong two year old – I sometimes feel that the only park I walk through is Jurassic Park!

How the movies show it…

It’s not the first time movies have ‘lied’ to us, and I am sure it won’t be the last. Most of the time, we know the ways things are portrayed in the movies rarely reflect the reality of our day-to-day lives. Other times, though, it’s perhaps not so obvious. Take drowning, for example; in the movies, we’d usually see lots of splashing, flailing arms, and lots of shouting – there’s no way you’d miss it. Growing up, I always assumed this is just what drowning looked like. I would know if I was ever to see somebody in trouble on the water. I would hear it. So would everybody else. Help would be on the way.

… and how it happens in reality

The reality of drowning, though, is often very different. The signs can be subtle, and thus easily missed. In sharp contrast to the movie norm, a person who is drowning:

  • Will often be silent, and therefore unable to call for help
  • May be unable to wave or signal as their natural instinct to press down on the water’s surface kicks in
  • Could be unable to control their arm movements, making it difficult to swim to safety or hold on to a lifeline
  • Will, more often than not, be vertical in the water and not showing any signs of kicking

I was a bit taken aback when I first heard this, as it’s never how I had pictured drowning before. When I became a parent, I was sure that I wanted to introduce my little girl to the water at a young age. Of course, I would always keep a very close eye on her but I always thought that, if she was to get into danger, I’d know about it.

One Nemo parent’s story

Nemo Swimming recently teamed up with Tumbles and Grumbles to share some hints and tips to help you keep your children safe in the water this summer. Following this, one parent got in touch with Tumbles and Grumbles and shared her story:

“One afternoon I was standing… in the shallow end of the pool. After chatting away to my father in law… I noticed something in the pool just behind him. On second glance, I realised that it was someone’s hat floating on the surface and then spotted two hands just flap very briefly out of the water… There was no real noise, just a bit of a gurgling sound… I rushed over to find a six or seven year old child actually drowning, with no parents in sight. The life guard would never have seen the child as there was a bush between the two of them.

I carried the child out of the pool and the life guard rushed over and thanked me. The child’s mother came rushing over, oblivious that her child was in the water by himself and could have possibly drowned on their family holiday. It just takes seconds!”

A scary story, but thankfully one with a happy ending. It just goes to show, though, how quickly children can get into trouble in the water, and how easily tragedies can happen. No splashing. No shouting. A silent tragedy that was narrowly avoided.

What can you do to keep your children in the water?

  1. Constant and active adult supervision – never leave your children unattended in the water, not even for a minute.
  2. Restrict access – place a barrier around the water to stop young children accessing it when your back is turned. If that’s not possible, place a barrier around your little one instead.
  3. Build water confidence – familiarise your baby, toddler or young child with the water, discuss water safety with them, and set rules for in and around the water.
  4. Rescue and resuscitation – make sure you are trained in basic rescue techniques, so that you know what to do in case the worst was to happen. Check out this fantastic video about the importance of learning CPR from Tumbles and Grumbles

Written by Emma, Nemo Swimming, with input from Caroline, Tumbles and Grumbles

 

Baby swimming lessons: what do you need to know?

The first few weeks of parenting were a total blur for me – I had no idea what I was doing, I was functioning on very little sleep, and I was (being perfectly honest) a hormonal mess! So, when somebody first mentioned taking my teeny tiny little baby swimming, I felt like my head going to explode with all the questions – when could I take her swimming? What would she need to wear? Where should I take her? What would she be learning at such a young age? Was I ready to sport a swimming costume at just a few weeks postpartum?!

In this blog, we address some of the common questions that parents have before taking their baby swimming for the first time. If you have a question that hasn’t been covered here, drop us an email at [email protected] and we’d be happy to help!

When can I take my baby swimming?

You’ll hear a lot of people say that you should wait until your baby is six or seven weeks old before taking them swimming; when I first heard this, I assumed that it was because of those first immunisations, which are given around this time. It’s not the case. Babies can actually go swimming immediately after birth (though I can honestly say that this was the last thing on my mind after welcoming my little girl into the world!). While doggy paddling across the pool is still a little way off, your baby will be born with a remarkable ability to control their breathing in the water. They also have a reflex reaction that makes them move their arms and legs in a swimming motion known as the Bradycardic response – pretty cool, huh?

So, where does this six or seven week ‘rule’ come from? Well, it’s to protect us mums. After giving birth, we are more prone to infection, which is why the NHS recommends waiting at least six weeks before going in the pool. Of course, that doesn’t stop other family members taking your little bundle of joy for a swim before this.

Be aware that babies can chill more easily than us adults, so make sure that you pick a nice, warm pool, particularly when they are very young. At Nemo Swimming, we always recommend that babies under 12 weeks or 12 pounds attend lessons at one of our hydrotherapy pools, which are the bit warmer for little bodies.

Why should I take my baby swimming?

There are many benefits to baby swimming, even if it is a slightly daunting experience for parents taking them for the first time. Your baby will have spent the last nine months or so in your womb, where it was protected by amniotic fluid. This means that being in the water isn’t a completely unfamiliar experience for them. The sound, feel and warmth of the water can re-ignite your baby’s senses, which is a truly magical thing to watch as a parent. Swimming also offers a great opportunity for skin-to-skin contact with your baby, which can really help with parent-baby bonding.

Being in the water gives your baby complete freedom of movement, and places no additional strain on their little body. At the same time, though, swimming helps to build and strengthen your baby’s muscles. It also helps to improve balance and coordination, with research showing that babies who learn to swim have better balance outside of the pool.

One of the main benefits of swimming with your baby, of course, is that it starts to build water confidence early – and this will help them enjoy the water safely as they grow up. And, in case you needed any more convincing, swimming can help improve your baby’s sleeping pattern – something that I am sure most parents will welcome with open arms!

What happens at a baby swimming class?

It depends where you go, of course, but at a Nemo Swimming class you will be in the water with a small group of parents and babies (all of whom will be of a very similar age). The instructor will be in the water with you, which I always found reassuring when my little Nemo and I were new to baby swimming.

While you’re in the water, you can expect lots of songs, which provide comfort and reassurance to young children. We always use game and repetitive play patterns to help your baby learn – even at a very young age – how to blow bubbles, hold on, kick their legs, and float. To help you understand what your baby is learning, we share details as to what they are working towards via our online booking system – so you can track your little one’s progress, and be assured that Nemo Swimming instructors are doing the same.

Find out more about Nemo Babies lessons

What will I need to take with me?

Most pools and swimming lesson providers operate a ‘double nappy’ policy. This means that you will need to dress your baby in a disposable or re-usable swim nappy and, on top of this, a neoprene nappy to keep any accidents sealed in! As well as a costume and towel for yourself, you will need to pack a soft, and preferably hooded towel for your baby. Swimming makes babies hungry, so it’s a good idea to take a bottle or a snack for after your swim, too. Of course, if you’re anything like me you’ll probably end up packing loads more things, just in case – a hat in case it’s cold, sun cream in case it’s warm, three spare outfits, a year’s supply of nappies, the kitchen sink…

Did we miss something?

If you have a question that we haven’t answered here, get in touch at [email protected], and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Happy swimming!

Written by Emma, Nemo Swimming

Why the summer is a great opportunity to build your child’s confidence in the water

Who’s looking forward to the summer?! I tell you one thing… I am! I absolutely love it – lots more sun (I hope!), being able to sit outside in the evening, trips to the beach, maybe a little jaunt abroad. Yippee!

While the Nemo Swimming team will be hanging up their SwimFins and taking a little break over the summer, there are still plenty of things that you can be doing to help boost your little Nemo’s confidence in the water – and keep them entertained at the same time!

In this blog, we highlight the many ways that the summer months can help your baby, toddler, or young child when it comes to all things swimming. Let’s dive in, shall we?!

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming

On an average week, I take my little Nemo for a half hour swimming lesson. Every now and then, I’ll take her to a public pool for a bit of a play, too. Usually, though, she spends no more than an hour in the water – excluding baths, of course. When we go abroad, though, it’s a completely different story!

We recently returned from Tenerife – absolutely amazing time was had by all. My almost-two-year-old was delighted when she saw we had a pool in the back garden – it was, quite possibly, the most exciting thing ever! Every morning, she would wake up, point out the window, and shout “pool!”. Had we not fished her out every now and then for food and naps, she probably would have spent the entire week in that pool. Much as it didn’t do my tan much good, or give me a chance to enjoy a good book, it did wonders for her water confidence. Of course, this was in part down to the extra time in the water, but also because she had the opportunity to explore in the shallow water, to play new games, and to watch other swimmers – old and young – have fun in the pool.

The benefits of shallow water

Whether you’re heading abroad, down to the beach, visiting a nearby splash pad, or simply getting the paddling pool out in the back garden, shallow water provides phenomenal learning experiences for young children. Let your little Nemo explore by walking in the water. You’ll know yourself how different it feels to run or walk in the water; most babies or toddlers won’t have had much opportunity to really explore this new feeling, so it’s a great opportunity to let them learn about their own buoyancy and figure out what they can and can’t do. Encourage them to jump, hop on one leg, walk sideways like a crab, or – if the water is shallow enough – sit down. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your little Nemo is always closely supervised, but I’m sure you all knew that already!

Water load of fun!

The summer is the perfect time to let your little Nemo indulge in some unstructured-play sessions in the water. They will love watching you have fun in the water, and their water confidence will come on leaps and bounds as a result.

Here are a few ideas you can try:

  • Grab some toys, and let them be the teacher for a change – encourage them to show you where they want to go, what they want to see, and what they want to do.
  • Try getting your little Nemo to swim on their back – with your support, as needed – and kick a ball with their legs.
  • Grab a woggle and play some horsey horsey, go underneath the rainbow, or lie back on those lazy sun loungers – have some fun with it!
  • Let your little swimmer go down a slide into shallow water – the sensation of landing in the water will be new and exciting to them.
  • Encourage them to jump in, from the side or from a wobble board, and see how big a splash they can make. Sploosh!

That’s it from us for now, but we will be back soon with more hints and tips to help keep your babies, toddlers, and young children safe in the water this summer. If you missed it, check out our recent blog post about floatation aids – what are the best aids out there, and how can they help your little swimmers.

Happy swimming, y’all!

Written by Emma, Nemo Swimming

Ah, ah, ah, ah staying afloat, staying afloat…

Whether you are heading to the local pool, or hopping on a plane and flying far away this summer, the chances are that you – or perhaps a friend or family member – have raised a question or two about floatation aids. My mother-in-law very kindly bought my little Nemo some inflatable armbands for her first holiday. Armbands were the floatation aid of choice back when she had young children of her own. Today, though, there are plenty more options available. So, how do you select the best one for your child? In this blog, I chat to Theresa, co-founder and director of Nemo Swimming, to find out more.

Hi, Theresa! Let’s talk floatation aids; what do parents need to know?

Every year, at around this time, I get a new wave of questions from parents: What floatation aid should I buy for my holidays? Which armbands are the best? What alternatives should I be looking at? Let me start by saying that, when used properly, floatation aids are a fantastic tool for helping little ones gain confidence in the water. We, along with many other swimming providers, use them for this very reason in our lessons. Those of you who come to our classes regularly will know that we favour woggles (or pool noodles, as they are sometimes known), and the super-cool SwimFins. There are, though, lots of other options out there – and each of these options has its merits and its drawbacks. Whatever aid you use – no matter how good it is – it goes without saying that you must ensure that you supervise your baby, toddler, or young child in the water at all times. It is important to remember that little ones can drown in even one inch of water – so make sure you’re always by their side.

What are the best floatation aids out there?

That’s easy – the best floatation aid is you, the parent! Whether your little Nemo is just a few months old, or about to start school, they could not ask for a better buoyancy aid than their mummy or daddy. Use some of the holds that your learning in your Nemo Swimming lessons, and invest in some fun toys for the pool – rubber ducks, little fish, watering cans. Let them explore, tell you where they want to go, and what they want to see. When they see you having fun, your little one’s water confidence will come on leaps and bounds – it really will. If it’s usually mummy who attends swimming lessons, spend some time showing daddy what you learn in the pool. It’ll give him a brilliant opportunity for some daddy-little Nemo bonding, and it’ll also allow you to have five minutes to yourself!

Armbands always seem like a popular choice; what are your thoughts on them?

Personally, I’m not a fan. They’re still probably one of the most popular and commonly used floatation aids out there thanks to their low cost and durability. They’re certainly not my first choice, though. Although they do, of course, offer many advantages, armbands can really restrict the movement of children’s arms and, in my experience, some kids will become too dependent on them. This may mean that they find it difficult to move to a different swimming aid at a later stage, which can then hinder their progress. It’s also important to remember that, unless both bands have been inflated equally, your child will have to work harder on one side.

What would you recommend instead?

Depending on the age of your child, woggles and/or SwimFins. Woggles, which are sometimes referred to as pool noodles, are great for all ages – even adults! For your little Nemo, they allow a degree of independence, and can be used to play all sorts of games – underneath the rainbow, horsey horsey, and lazy sunloungers are just a few of the ones that we encourage in our classes. They are low cost, too, and can be picked up from many pound shops, not to mention the likes of Amazon.

For slightly older children – two years plus – I absolutely love SwimFins. We’ve used these in our lessons for many years and our little Nemos think they are great! I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to be a scary shark or a friendly dolphin?! Although they are suitable for children from around 18 months, I’d say that children aged two-and-a-half years and up will get the most benefit from them. Use them under the supervision of your Nemo Swimming instructor first but, once your little swimmer is used to the SwimFin, it’s fantastic.

Any other tips for parents this summer?

The summer really is such an amazing opportunity to help boost your little Nemo’s confidence in the water, and to have lots of fun at the same time. You don’t get many summers with young children, so enjoy them while you can. Take some time to make some memories.

Thanks, Theresa, some great ideas and thoughts here. Don’t forget, we’ll be sharing more hints and tips over the next few weeks to help keep your little ones safe in the water this summer.

Happy swimming!

Written by Emma, Nemo Swimming

Leaving on a jet plane…

We are gliding nicely towards the summer holidays now, and many of you will – no doubt – be jetting off to sunnier climes at some point over the next few months. I don’t know about you, but I had so many questions before I went abroad earlier this year. How many nappies should I pack? What should I expect on the plane journey with a not-quite-two-year-old? Would it be totally unacceptable to sit her next to her daddy while I relaxed at the other end of the plane?! Holidaying with a little one was totally new territory for me, and I am sure that some of you will be contemplating similar questions when you head abroad later in the summer. While Nemo Swimming can’t help you decide which shoes not to pack as there isn’t enough room in the suitcase thanks to all the baby/toddler paraphernalia, we can help when it comes to anything water or swimming-related – after all, that’s what we are great at!

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing plenty of hints and tips to help keep your little Nemos safe in the water this summer. In this first blog of the series, we also provide some useful advice to help you ‘survive’ a holiday abroad with a young child.

The plane journey

This was the thing that worried me the most the first time I went on holiday with my little girl. I’m not scared of flying – far from it. I was, though, scared of flying with a toddler! How was I going to keep her entertained? Was she going to be ‘one of those kids’ who screamed for the entire journey? What could I take onboard with me?
While there is no fail-safe way to ensure a stress-free flight with a little one, there are some things that you can do to make your time in the air more bearable. First and foremost, make sure you pack plenty of books, toys and other distractions in your hand luggage. Think about creating a little sensory or fun bag, with a range of ‘treats’ that you can reward your child with at regular intervals throughout the flight – worked fantastically for us! Do remember when you’re packing, though, that space on most aircrafts is somewhat limited, particularly if you don’t have a seat booked for your little Nemo.

Have plenty of fluids ready to offer for take-off and landing – milk, water, juice. Regular sips will not only help keep you little ones hydrated, the swallowing will help to ease any discomfort that they might experience in their ears.

>> Check out this fantastic guide from Tots to Travel for more information about flying with a baby, toddler, or young child

The heat

Babies, toddlers, and young children are not as adaptable to temperate change as adults. This means that the hot weather can be a fraught time for us parents, but there are steps that you can take to make the heat easier for you and your little Nemo.

Remember that children may need to drink more than usual in the heat. Make sure you offer regular drinks throughout the day, and watch out for signs of potential dehydration or heat stroke.

Encourage your little one to play in the shade as much as they can, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. When they are out in the sun, make sure they are well covered in a high factor sun cream that is effective against both UVA and UVB. The most common areas for sunburn on children are their shoulders and the back of their neck, so pay extra attention to these body parts. If your little Nemo will be taking regular dips in the pool, invest in a waterproof sunblock, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day. Also check whether your little Nemo’s swimwear offers any protection against the sun – the Splash About Happy Nappy  offers UPF 50+ for extra sun protection, which is good to know!

>> Read more about keeping your little Nemo safe in hot weather

The change in routine

The chances are that your child’s routine will be affected when you go on holiday. The heat may make them sleep more, or it may make if more difficult for them; you might find that you – and they – are up later than usual; meal times may not be as consistent as they are back home. I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a bit of a stickler for routine with my little Nemo. Holidays, though, are about relaxing – even though it might not seem that you get much time for this with a little one running around! Make sure you give yourself some breathing space – you’ve earned this holiday, and you need time to chill, too! As I always say, it’s easier to fix a broken routine than it is a broken parent!

That’s all for now, but check back soon for more hints and tips on keeping your little Nemo safe in the water this summer. We’ll also be giving advice on the best floatation aids to use, and some games and fun challenges to occupy little minds over the summer break. Happy swimming, everyone!

Written by Emma, Nemo Swimming

Five reasons why you’re an amazing mum

Being a mum can be hard work, and sometimes you just need somebody to tell you that you’re doing a good job. So, this is me telling you that not only are you doing a good job, you are doing an amazing job! Here’s why…

Nothing stays the same

Becoming a parent changes you; you aren’t the same as you used to be. Your body isn’t the same, relationships with friends and family have changed, priorities start to alter. I struggled with all these changes when I became a mum back in 2016. I suddenly felt like I had lost my identity, and these things that I once had a good handle on were starting to fall by the wayside. But then I looked at my little girl. She gave me that look that only babies can give – the one that says: “you’re my everything, mummy”. It might sometimes feel that you have given up so much to be a mum – your sleep, your social life, your abs… but what you have gained is so incredible. Embrace the changes, and enjoy the new challenges that parenting throws your way.

They’re doing it differently, not better

It’s easy to look at other mums and feel that they are doing a better job at this parenting gig than you. They’re not; they’re just doing it differently. Each child is different, as is each mum. We all have our own approach to parenting – our own unique way of ‘winging it’. All that really matters is that our children are loved, happy, and healthy. Take a minute and watch them as they smile, grab your finger, blow you a kiss, or learn a new skill. Our children are living proof that we are doing something that is unquestionably amazing.

Messy hair, don’t care!

In years to come, your children won’t remember how clean your house was, whether you managed to style your hair, or even if you managed to get dressed before midday. What they will remember is the time you spent with them, the hugs you gave, the times you laughed together, and the memories you made. They don’t focus on the small things, and neither should you. When they look at you with eyes full of love and admiration, that’s them telling you that you are their world.

Sometimes it’s all about survival

We all have days where we want to hide, or times where everything seems to get on top of us. All of us lose our cool sometimes, but we really shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it. We are human, after all (even if we don’t feel it after a broken night of sleep). It’s important that we allow ourselves to have ‘one of those days’, and that we give ourselves the opportunity to pick ourselves up again. This is what makes us stronger! As parents, we need to know that it’s OK not to be OK sometimes. Take five minutes for yourself, phone a friend and get things off your chest, have a good cry. Your little one needs you to be OK, and sometimes we need to fall apart so that we can come back stronger.

I’ll catch you if you catch me

In my early days of parenting, the relationships that I formed with other parents were, without doubt, the key to my survival. They still are! Having a support network of other mums – and dads – gives me the opportunity to ask the ‘silly questions’, and to seek reassurance that I am parenting correctly. Much as these friends have become my safety net, I have become an important part of their support network too. We are all somebody else’s safety net, so we must be doing something right!

Happy Mother’s Day from the team at Nemo Swimming. If you’ve loved reading our ‘five reasons why you’re an amazing mum’, then why not check out these five mummy blogs that we love – all created by amazing mums, just like you!

A Sprinkle of Glitter
Missy Lanning, I am a Mother Mother’s day special
Just a Normal Mummy
The Unmumsy Mum
Oh So Mummy

This blog post has been written by Emma at Nemo Swimming

Business Models, Business Mums: How to get the best of both worlds.

Nemo Swimming Director, Theresa and her son

It’s International Women’s Day 2019! As #IWD trends each year, the waves of women who want to ‘be their own boss’ continue to rise.

Taking the plunge

In this blog, Theresa Nicholson, director of Nemo Swimming, chats candidly about her experiences of building a business model and being a model business mum. Sitting down with Theresa, I decided to dive in at the deep end (pun very much intended) and ask her THE question: why did you decide to start Nemo Swimming?

“My son was the inspiration behind my business model”, Theresa begins. “When he was a baby, I worked as a baby-swimming teacher. As a working mum, I wanted something that most mums are trying to find: a flexible ‘work-life’ balance. However, it wasn’t just my own needs that drove me. My son had been learning to swim since he was a baby, but when he was three, I noticed that there was nothing out there in terms of swimming lessons that met the requirements of that age group. Since I was already in the swimming industry, it was from here that I was able to find gap in the market and  began Nemo Swimming.”

“Baby swimming is such a rewarding industry, and part of my job as director of Nemo Swimming is to help develop that crucial bond between baby and parent in the early stages. What I’m particularly fascinated by is nurturing a child’s independence, as when they get to three years old, their caregiver stops coming into the water with them (a big step for both child and parent.) This is when my creativity can really come into play! Most people are quite tentative about teaching this age group – which is part of what drove me to pursue my business model further. I’m a firm believer that if you trust in your own knowledge, the child with trust in you too.”

Let’s talk about role reversal: when mum becomes the ‘breadwinner’

Of course, International Women’s Day is all about celebrating the social, economic and political achievements of women – from a business perspective, this is about promoting equality and breaking down old-fashioned ‘roles’ of men going out to work and women staying at home. But what are the real-life effects of this role reversal on your family life?

“I’m originally from London, so when I was starting out, I didn’t have my family around me. My husband made the decision to drop some hours at work and dedicate that time to the household instead – which I’ve been fortunate to have. However, while I celebrate my freedom of being able to focus on my business, there’s one feeling that has always been hard to overcome, and not a lot of people openly talk about: guilt. You feel guilty at this role reversal: that suddenly, you’ve become the breadwinner; you feel guilty that you’re not spending enough time at home and when you do, you feel guilty you’re not investing enough in your business! It’s so important to commit to a regime and make an investment in yourself to overcome these ‘guilty’ feelings.”

From running a tight ship to plain sailing: tips for business mums

In a brilliant article on entrepreneur.com, Lisa Druxman writes “My family flourishes most when I run it like my business”. I asked Theresa if she identified with this statement: “It sounds a bit authoritarian!”, she laughs, “but I do agree. For me, this means allocating specific ‘family time’: phones off, feet up, and absolutely no talking business! It’s not all plain sailing though, and often, the flexibility of your work sometimes isn’t as flexible as you’d like, so you’ve got to be strict. Running a business and being a mum is a tough job – and I’m still learning how to run myself like a business: I’ve got a really strong work ethic, and I’m definitely guilty of not carving out any ‘me’ time.”

For any woman thinking of starting their own business, Theresa suggests these three tips:

  1. Be in business for yourself, not by yourself – but always look after yourself! Listen to your own needs. Don’t short change yourself by never giving yourself that essential ‘me’ time that you need.

 

  1. Base your business on your passions: this way, you will be able to better listen to what your business needs, allowing it to grow organically.

 

  1. Finally, I asked Theresa to share an inspirational quote to celebrate International Women’s Day:

 

“Behind every great business woman… is a really great team! I couldn’t do anything without my team behind me. Always remember how important it is to reward, praise and thank them.”

 

Happy International Women’s Day from the Nemo swimming team!

Are you reeled in by the idea of starting your own business? Find our Nemo swimming franchise opportunity at https://nemoswimming.co.uk/nemo-swimming-franchise/

 

 

 

Five factors that you should be considering buying a franchise

Buying a franchise is exciting (or at least it should be!) Let’s be honest – for many people, it’s also rather daunting. Working for yourself can be a big change, and the opportunity to ‘be your own boss’ can trigger many of the following questions: how can you be sure that you’re making the right decision? How do you pick the franchise that’s right for you? Where do you even start?!

In this blog, Nemo Swimming outlines five factors that you should be considering when evaluating any franchise opportunity.

1. ‘Fit’

The market for baby, toddler, and children’s classes is continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate. With this growth, there is a huge choice of activities for parents to pick from. From a franchise point of view, this brings so many exciting opportunities. When looking at these opportunities, it is important to consider whether you could see yourself delivering the type of services that the franchisor has to offer. Find out how that franchisor operates: does this way of working fit with your personality, your preferences, and your requirements?

It’s also important to consider how well you get on with the franchisor. Although you will be working for yourself once you purchase your chosen franchise, you won’t – at least you shouldn’t – be working by yourself. You’re bound to have lots of questions for any potential franchisor, but they should also want to get to know you. The questions that they ask about you will give you a good indication as to whether you will be a valued extension of their brand, or if you will be viewed simply as ‘another franchisee’.

2. Cost

When you start looking at franchise opportunities, you’ll find that the cost of packages varies significantly. For each opportunity you look at, it is helpful to consider what you are – and what you are not – getting. Most franchises involve an upfront cost and then a recurring monthly fee. Some will ask you to start paying the monthly fee straight away, and others will be once you start delivering. Think about how much money you will need to be making to operate profitably after paying this fee. Once you have a figure in mind, work back from there and determine how many hours of delivery this might equate to. Ask yourself, does this fit with your expectations? Also look at how this monthly fee, as well as any upfront cost, is used to drive forward the brand that you are buying in to – a lower monthly fee may mean that less investment is being made in marketing, for example. It’s important that you consider how this will affect you once you start operating.

3. Support

If you’re buying a franchise, you can expect to be able to tap into the expertise that your chosen franchisor has amassed over the years. With this in mind, it’s worthwhile considering why the business has decided to franchise. It is useful to consider questions such as how long had they been operating before they made this decision? How had their business grown? What did their business look like at the time? This will give you an insight into the franchisor’s ‘business intelligence’, and can be useful when trying to determine what kind of support you can expect once the franchise agreement has been signed. You should also ask what sort of marketing support you could expect to receive; most franchisors will offer support here, but what that support looks like varies significantly. Does the franchisor have a preferred booking system? If so, is this an ‘off the shelf’ system, or has it been designed specifically with their business in mind? Your franchisor should be a fountain of knowledge when it comes to running a business, but you may also have access to a wider support network, such as other franchisees, an in-house marketing team, a training crew, and more. It is crucial to your success as a franchisee to find out what this support network looks like.

4. Return

‘Return’ is an important consideration for anybody who is starting up their own business: how much money can you, realistically, expect to make, and how quickly? The answer to this question will depend on many factors, including your own drive and determination. Your franchisor should, however, be able to give you some indication as to what you can expect to earn during the first year and beyond. When they give you these indications, look at how they have been calculated, and then consider whether you feel this is feasible for you. As discussed earlier, think about what support the franchisor will deliver to help you hit these figures.

5. Future

Let’s fast forward, just for a minute. You’ve been running your franchise for a couple of years now. Things are going great. You love the freedom that this opportunity has brought you – but what’s next? Are there options to extend? How can you continue to grow your business, as well as your own skills? Your future as a franchisee is always something to bear in mind when evaluating franchise opportunities. It’s equally important, though, to consider what happens if things don’t go to plan. If you’ve carefully evaluated some of the things we have discussed above, you – hopefully, at least – shouldn’t encounter any huge surprises. However, you might find that, for whatever reason, you’re not enjoying life as a franchisee. It is here that you might consider you other options. Most franchise packages will run, initially, for a period of x years, but there will usually be an option to sell after a specific period of time. It’s probably worthwhile looking at this, just in case.

The route to becoming a franchisee has a lot to take in on the way, but we hope you’ve found this blog useful. Why not check out our list questions to ask when buying a franchise. You can also find out more about Nemo Swimming’s franchise package here.

Will my baby meet their milestones by learning to swim?

Milestones are something I never used to think of, they used to be something that other people looked at.  However, upon having a baby and following my pregnancy app throughout that part of the journey it then continues beyond their birth date.  Milestones is another term for measuring.  How is my baby doing against their height, weight and number of weeks since they arrived?  Milestones are important as it can be an indicator if something is wrong to then follow this up.  On the flip side milestones are a way of reassuring us parents that things are going ok.  Reassurance is something us new parents need!

Swimming I have found to be a great way of helping my baby develop and meet milestone targets.  I have found through experience however that the day the baby hits six weeks they do not automatically “achieve” a milestone but you learn to evaluate over a period of time things are happening at the right time and pace and swimming has supplemented this.

 

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Other parents have suggested the easiest way to look at milestones is to think of them as building blocks, which all fit together to make up your little one.

As the weeks, have gone by I have witnessed my baby be in the water, happily watching the world go by, lying so still to then become a little wriggler.  Their sitting reflexes are kicking in and they now want to explore a bit more.  Added to that the weeks of swimming have helped the wriggler build their strength!

The Instructors guide us to use toys to move around and to attract your child’s eye, for them to reach out for a toy and pop it back in the basket.  What the child doesn’t realise is that all the while their coordination is improving, they are learning to reach out accurately for things and to aim and hit a target by popping the toys back in the box.  It’s also been highlighted by many parents that the toys are a great comforter for children, young children gather a sense of what things are by putting them in their mouths.  Swimming toys are no exception!

Our instructors support us through these lessons, it’s reassuring to know that they too understand and empathise with our little ones and their developmental stages.  Attending the lessons regularly has allowed the instructors to become familiar with the child and get to know them, they celebrate with us on new achievements yet all the while gently moving us onto the next one.  Being a parent you quickly realise that the learning journey is on-going and encouragement is always welcome.

Babies and young children thrive upon routine, therefore weekly swimming lessons are perfect, they become familiar with what is happening, how to behave and react.  Comfort to a young child can never be underestimated and will help steady them during periods they may suffer from separation anxiety.  At times, it is noticeable which child is going through this and week after week its encouraging to see us all tackling it with vigour and smiles on our faces.  If it’s not happening to us now, then we smile and nod reassuringly to those that it is.  We can do this!  “It’s a milestone, its natural, and we are managing it” has become a mantra.

Developing a sense and understanding of the world for a child is a big thing and they are continually developing, all the while building their strength at their lesson so they can explore that little bit further, so they can see more of their environment.  This is something to celebrate.  We are helping with this development. 

Why should my child learn to swim?

Lots of different activities all reap a variety of benefits for children, some easily to compare and contrast and some not so.  Our love for swimming is born out of doing it ourselves when we were younger and experiencing many positives, we narrowed this down to just a few.

Swimming is an invaluable exercise for the heart and lungs, regular exercise promotes a healthy lifestyle for children.  Swimming allows the freedom of movement that perhaps other activities can limit.  It is a weight bearing exercising and is excellent at developing strength.

Children will naturally be hungrier afterwards as all the exercise will mean they need to replace their used-up energy.  This is a perfect opportunity to maybe try a different food if they are hungry!

Swimming is a superb bonding activity to participate in with each other.  It is such an intimate activity and there are no distractions.  No mobile devices are allowed near the water!

Swimming weekly may not always allude to the bigger picture but you are helping to build upon a life skill.  Swimming can be used at various intervals throughout someone’s life.

Being able to swim can add a different dimension to enjoying family holidays.  As parents, we can have peace of mind to enjoy water based activities and pool time safe in the knowledge your children are having fun but safely.

Regular swimming can help dispel fear of water.  Young children can become acclimatised to water and see it as enjoyable.  They will have a respect for water which will set them in good stead.

Regular swimming lessons can allow lots of interaction with others, both children and caregivers alike.  It is good for your little one to develop team work skills and for them to learn how to wait their turn.  It is reassuring to be part of a group of like-minded individuals.  It is nice to share experiences and ask questions safely in the knowledge these other caregivers may have a nugget of an idea to help you through with whatever question you have.

Swimming and mastering this skill can then allow your little one to become interest in other water based activities.  You can then be comfortable in the knowledge that they are comfortable within a water setting.

Swimming can help your little one grow in confidence around water and in general.  A good swim school will provide regular praise and encouragement.  This can boost your little one’s self esteem and promote their development.

Swimming is an excellent exercise and can promote sleep.  Not only does the child use physical strength it is also using their brain throughout their lesson, again allowing time afterwards to promote rest.

There are many reasons why swimming should be part of a child’s life and routine.  It is undoubtedly a skill for life.