While our motto ‘teaching kids to love the water’ sounds sweet and comforting, the fact is, that underneath the benevolent sentiment is a tried and true system that creates safe, confident water loving swimmers with excellent form and a clear understanding of safety skills.
While this approach does take several years to complete, it is joyful, painless and promotes a positive learning style that once learned, will create positive associations with all things water related, which is key to long-term success.
By following this prescription we can guarantee that your child will have an incredibly positive and confidence-boosting swim experience.
Here are the ideal steps:
- Begin when your child is between 6-9 months of age in a parent child class. The bonding between you and your child will create a foundation for positive associations with the water that will last. Additionally, this is the easiest time to introduce a ‘wet face’ to your baby. Although some may react with surprise initially, they quickly adapt and even figure out how to hold their breath during this phase.
- Continue parent child classes until your child is at least 18 months of age. You’ll be amazed at how much learning takes place during this phase! Many children can swim short distances, roll on their back, float, climb out of the pool by themselves, jump in, dive down to low steps, blow bubbles and kick. They also begin to learn safety drills and rules.
- Take advantage of our 19-30 month transitional toddler program – much like a preschool transition class, this class is designed to be a segue from the parent child experience into actual lessons. If your child has been a part of the program since infancy, by now she is swimming quite comfortably with her face in much of the time. Since this act is the largest hurdle to overcome in older children who are just learning, swimming with face in is the quickest way to move your child onto the path of being a real swimmer.
- From 2.5-5 yrs, invest in private lessons 1-3 times a week (1 time for maintenance, 2-3 times for progress) where your child gets total focus from her instructor and can develop real strokes with correct form, practice repeated safety skills and drills and can become a confident swimmer by age 5!
- From 5-8 yrs we still recommend that children continue to take lessons to enhance stroke techniques, to refresh and practice safety drills and to possibly develop a love for swimming that could lead to competitive swim team. At this stage, privates are still a great option but semi-privates or small groups are fine too as long as the children are at similar skill levels.
It really is that straightforward. And it is absolutely possible to have a happy, excited, independent little swimmer by age 2 or 3! Without tears, anxiety or regressing.
**One quick note – while it is possible and probable to have a 3-5 year old child who can swim independently without you having to be in the pool with them, it does not mean they are water safe! Please note that at no time do I mention the term ‘water safe’ for children under the age of 8. That topic, however, has been covered ad-nauseam in other blog posts so I’ll refrain from adding it here.