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How to Help Your Child be Successful in Swim Lessons
My child is taking swim lesson but will they learn to swim?
Everything in life take practice. Every summer when we head to swim lesson at the local park district their are parent with unrealistic expectations. They bring their child to lesson once a week or a week straight at the beginning of the summer. They expect their child to learn to swim after these short encounters with swim lesson. I half an hour here or there isn't going to make a swimmer. These same parents I never see during open swim hours or ever again at the pool. The next summer they show up again and wonder why their child isn't a better swimmer or blame the program for not teaching their child the skill the needs to become a swimmer.
First Step: Sign the child Up for Lessons
The first step is to sign the child up for age appropriate and developmentally appropriate class. Always go down a class if you are unsure. It is much easier to move them up a level or for the instructor to work on more difficult skills within a class than to have a struggling child in the pool with a class of competent swimmers. This is a self esteem builder to, I would rather have my child be at the top of the level than the very bottom.
The Age for Swim Lessons
How old was your child when they took swim lessons
Take Them to the pool BEFORE Lesson start
You want your child to be comfortable with the water. If possible take them to the pool that their lessons will be at. They can scope out the water, test it out and play in it before their first class. Make this a relaxed visit, no pressure, no skills checks, just fun in the pool time. I have seen too many kids get to the pool and scream because they wanted nothing to do with the water. Also keep in mind that early morning swim lessons may be colder than they are used to. Taking kids early in the season may prepare them for this chill factor.
During Swim Lessons
Make sure the child uses the potty right before the lessons. This is a requirement not optional and 9 times out of 10 they use the potty.I make sure they are in the right class before letting my child know I am leaving the area. Our swim lesson we are not allowed to be on the deck of the pool area.
I frequently make myself invisible during lessons. I don't leave but my child can't see me most of the time. They know I am there but when I am out of sight they forget to look for me and concentrate on the instructor. I find this especially helped my youngest whom likes to continually wave and check to make sure I am watching. Out of sight, out of mind.
Most Important - Practice After Swim Lessons
Last year my kids learned to swim. They took 4 weeks of park district lessons. I give all the credit to their instructors whom are also lifeguards at our local pool in the afternoon. I praised them many times over the course of the summer as my 3 years old dove off the diving board and swam to the side by himself for a majority of the summer. One of the guards made the comment to me that the only reason they were such good swimmers was the practice they got everyday. As a teacher I had off the entire summer and we spent almost every afternoon, most evenings, and even on the weekend at our local pool. My kids practiced their skills more than anyone else who took lessons. I didn't have to get in and make them swim, I didn't have to kill or drill them. I just had to give them the opportunity to swim, to practice at their pace and their comfort level. My oldest is very cautious but he also wanted to hang out with his slightly older and taller friends in deeper water and that meant he had to swim. He had motivation and opportunity.