This summer my husband and I decided it was time for our kids to take swim lessons. Living in Florida means being surrounded by water, whether its via swimming pool, ocean, lake or ponds. Our oldest is three and youngest is twenty months. Research has shown that kids as young as twelve months old can follow simple commands . Just like I do for all of my Miss Plan It All clients, I did my research. Except this time, my kids and I were the clients. I want to share my story with my readers in hopes that I can be helpful in some way. I have also listed some key items that you should have on hand when you start your swim lesson adventure.
I started by asking other moms if they new any good swim instructors/schools? I was given three different referrals by three different moms. All were very good, but it was up to me to find the one that was most fit for my family. I chose an instructor that was flexible with our schedule, only taught children, was able to do private lessons and was somewhat close by. These were the important things for me. I also like her philosophy which is not using scare tactics and let kids figure it out on their own. Yes, this is something other instructors practice. It is simply their method of teaching. I don’t have anything against it, but I do prefer that our instructor takes the more gentle approach.
On day one of our lessons, the usual happened. My three year old was a little bit shy (because he is my shy guy) but after a few minutes he was fine and our instructor was very patient with him and figured him out pretty quickly. My younger son was a mess. He screamed the minute he saw her. He would not let go of my neck and cried every time she would talk to him or make an attempt to look at him. So, I stayed in the water with him, while she took on the three year old. The lesson was over before I knew it.
Day two of our lessons was a little more relaxed. My older son was not shy at all, he went right to the instructor and actually followed through with all of her commands. My little guy, well, he was still a mess but not so bad. He did manage to go with the instructor for about 2 minutes. Then, he clung on to me again. The following week we took a mini vacation and went to a very kid friendly resort. My boys had a great time at the kiddie pool and my husband and I were amazed at how comfortable they were in the water. It was a great vacation and we are starting to see our lessons are paying off.
We are now on week 3, with four lessons under our belts and a lot more comfortable with each other. Our oldest son can hold his breath and jump in. My little guy, well, he is getting there. He likes being in the water a lot more and he actually goes with our instructor and does not throw a fit.
As always, I try to plan for every situation in order to be organized and prepared. Here are the essentials in our “swim lesson only” bag:
This bag is always prepared for Thursdays Lessons. We do not take it anywhere else. This way I know it is always stocked. I re-stock it after each lesson.
Key Items: sunblock, 2 -extra swim diapers, (a side note on swim diapers: do not put them on if you have to drive to your lessons. They do not hold a lot of fluid, it will be a mess. Put them on right before going in the pool!) an extra set of clothes to change the boys into after the pool, include underwear for the oldest and a pull up diaper for the youngest. He is not in pull ups regularly, however, it is easier to slip them on while I change him standing up. 3 beach towels, 1 for each of us. I read somewhere that sharing pool towels can lead to a type of wart, easily treatable but it creeps me out. 1 set of dry clothes for me, because its no fun driving home in a wet bathing suit and a bag to store the wet bathing suits.
We have made an event out of Thursday nights. It’s swim lessons and pizza for dinner night! This way the kids feel its fun and casual and they get a treat. I don’t have to cook because by the time we get home, I am ready to eat and go to bed! I hope this helps and that you can make your swim lessons a fun event for your family.
One more thing: NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED NEAR ANY TYPE OF WATER, EVEN IF THEY CAN SWIM!!