Signing up our kids for swim lessons is a bit of a rite of passage in parenthood. Even in landlocked states like Colorado, water safety is no laughing matter. Every day in the US two children under the age of 14 dies from unintentional drowning. Swim lessons are an easy and affordable way to help keep your children safe while having fun.
So, what do you need to know before you sign up your kids or grandkids for swim lessons? Look no further! This blog will outline exactly what you need to know to have a successful swim lesson experience. If any of our readers have tips you’d like to share, and that we haven’t already covered, please comment below!
First - where to go? The search for quality swim instructors can be daunting and there are many different options on where you can find swim instructors. Some of the best places to find quality swim instructors are at your local swim school or city recreation center. In the Denver area, we have several reputable swim schools that are easy to find with a simple Google search. The main thing when you are searching for a swim school, rec center or any other swim instructors, is to make sure they are a Red-Cross certified instructor. This certification is recognized nationally and requires recertification and ongoing instruction. Red-Cross also has varying levels of certification.
Next - what gear do my kids need? Generally, the only thing your children really need is a swimsuit & towel. Obviously, if these are outdoor lessons, you will also want to ensure their skin is protected with a swim shirt and sunblock. If your child is not yet potty trained, you will need to make sure they have a Nagueret Swim Diaper on, just in case they have an accident. Many pools will not permit children under 2 to swim without a swim diaper, so make sure to have a backup Nagueret Swim Diaper in case of an accident, or if a friend needs to borrow one. For older kids, they may want a swim cap, goggles, and nose plugs. Some swim instructors don’t like kids to use nose plugs because it can hinder them learning how to blow out through their nose, so definitely check with your pool before you buy some.
Also - do I have to get in the water? Most recreation centers offer a “Parent & Tot” swim lesson for babies and young toddlers. They do this for several reasons. If the instructor doesn’t have to hold the baby or toddler, they can have more children in the lesson than just one or two. Generally, babies and young toddlers are more comfortable with a parent in the water with them. This shows them there is nothing to be afraid of, and it’s also great to hear the instructors verbiage so you can use the same when you take them swimming later. Your child can gain confidence with you close by, and by the third or fourth lesson, they might be comfortable enough to swim without holding on to you. Generally, for older children, they attend the lesson and swim without a parent needing to be in the water. If your child has special needs or extreme anxiety, the instructor may recommend that you accompany them in the water for the first few lessons, with the goal that you won’t have to participate in all of them as your child gains confidence and is more comfortable, and has built trust with the instructor.
On those same lines - how long is a lesson and do I have to stay the whole time? Generally, the lessons will increase in time with your child’s age. For instance, a one-on-one lesson for a baby or toddler, or even a parent and tot class, may only last 30-45 minutes long. The older your child gets, and the better their swimming ability, the lessons can last anywhere from 45-90 minutes. It is recommended, and most instructors will tell you, for young children you should attend the lesson, and remain there throughout the entire lesson. This way if your child is too anxious has to use the restroom, scrapes a knee or needs a hug, you are nearby to help out. It will also help boost confidence if your child can see you watching, and cheering them on. Elementary aged children, and older can be left to finish their lessons, while you run errands, workout, go for a walk, or read a book. If there are behavior issues, anxiety, or anything similar, the instructor may ask you to stay. Most parents find it easiest to bring a book, a water bottle and settle in for some “me time” while their child finishes their lesson. Either way, your kid is learning to swim!
Last - how expensive are swim lessons? The rate for swim lessons really differs between location, number of students per group, the experience of the instructor, etc. For instance, my local rec center charges $40 per student, for two lessons a week, for four weeks. (time per lesson varies based on age/experience) However, a local swim school charges $175 for a daily lesson, for two weeks (10 lessons). If you want a once a week lesson at this swim school it is just over $20 per lesson (on a continuing enrollment). Private lessons at this swim school will run you $84 per half-hour. As you can see, the price varies greatly depending on the type of lessons you want for your child, and where you want to take them.
Here at Beau & Belle Littles, we just want you and your beautiful babies to be safe and happy. We believe in the power of knowledge, and encourage all our family and friends to make sure water safety is a priority!
Please comment below on swim lesson hacks you’ve found! We love to hear from you!