Making sure that their kids learn to swim is non-negotiable for many Vancouver moms. Mastering this life skill is a matter of safety. But how best to teach your kids? Choosing swimming lessons isn’t always easy. What works for one child may be a total belly flop for another. Today we’re sharing our suggestions for finding the perfect class for your own little swimmer.
Choosing Swimming Lessons
Location, Location, Location
When you’re choosing any kind of activity for your child, whether we’re talking swimming lessons or day camp or a drop-in gym time, the closer it is to your home the easier it is for you. But when you’re choosing a swimming location there are other things to consider. Things like water temperature, change room size and availability, lighting, how busy it is, and so on. The most enthusiastic little tadpole may shy away from swimming lessons if the water’s cold, there are too many other kids in the pool bumping into them, or they have to change in the car because all the change rooms are full. Scouting out a prospective pool before-hand, and taking your child into the water yourself, can remove any unexpected surprises on the first day of class, and help your child feel more comfortable when it’s time to buckle down and learn.
Just as you can choose between a Montessori preschool or a Reggio preschool or a play-based preschool, there are different types of swimming lessons to choose from. Red Cross Swim is the most common program that you’ll find at your local public pool. The classes are generally the most affordable, and typically run for 30 minutes in sets of 10 or so lessons. Sears I Can Swim is offered at some pools locally, as well. The YMCA offers its own programs, and there are also private organizations offering lessons, like Atlantis. If you find that your child doesn’t respond well to one method, it may not be the right method for them. Perhaps they need longer than 30 minutes in the water to get warmed up, or maybe they’re not responding well to a particular teacher. Doing a little bit of research, and being flexible if one type of class doesn’t work, can help you find the best fit for your child.
Your Child’s Age
There isn’t a strong consensus on what age to start your child in swimming lessons. Some two-year-olds may take to the water like little fish, while some five-year-olds may be reluctant to put their faces in the water. The important thing is that you don’t force your child to do things he or she is not yet ready for. Swimming lessons should be fun, not scary. If you find your child doesn’t respond well to a certain set of swimming lessons, it may be as simple as giving him or her some time to mature. Here again, it helps to choose a class and instructor that is a good fit for your child. That means choosing someone who knows how to respond to a reluctant swimmer, and who doesn’t force the issue when a child really isn’t ready.
Safety is important anytime, but when your child is in the water it’s even more critical. Good swimming lessons don’t just teach children to blow bubbles and master the front crawl. They also cover water safety in an age-appropriate manner, so that your child can be as safe as possible poolside. Young children should always be in arms reach of a responsible adult in and around the water, which means that your child’s swimming teacher should escort your little one back to you post-class. If you have any safety questions or concerns when it comes to swimming lessons, by all means, ask them. You need to be confident that your little ones are well looked after while they’re playing “fishy in the middle”.
How do you choose swimming lessons for your kids? Do you have any good or bad experiences to share? Leave us a reply and tell us!
This article was sponsored by Atlantis Programs. From bubbles to butterfly, Atlantis Swimming Lessons prepare children to be safe and competent in the water so they can enjoy a lifetime of aquatic activities. Designed for your child to learn and practice swimming skills, our one hour classes allow more time to concentrate on techniques while building kids’ strength and stamina. Come and discover the possibilities of learning to swim! Summer registration is now open. To register call the office at 604-874-6464.
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.