swim lesson success guide

The Ultimate Guide to Swimming Lessons

Ms. Michelle & Ms. Jessie have been teaching swimming lessons together for over twenty years. We are lifelong friends and grew up in an area with a fantastic neighborhood pool. We have many happy memories swimming together at the pool with our friends and family. Eventually, our love of swimming morphed into jobs. We both obtained certificates to be lifeguards and worked at the same neighborhood pool in high school. Then, we got certified as water safety instructors. This allowed us to teach swimming lessons during our summer breaks from school. In 2013, we established Kids Splash Class. We’re proud to say that we’ve taught over 500 students in our 20+ years of teaching!

Knowing how to swim is a life-saving skill. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children – and it can happen in under a minute. No one is completely exempt from the risk of drowning. Thankfully, knowing how to swim can significantly reduce the chance of drowning. Confident swimmers can enjoy things like snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, and much more! Use this guide to help prepare your child to get the most out of swimming lessons!

Our goal is to make swimming lessons fun while our students learn how to be safe in the water. Here are some helpful tips you can use to help prepare your child to take swimming lessons!

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Qualities to Look for When Choosing a Swim Lesson Provider

Here are some things to consider before booking a swim lesson for your child (or yourself!) with any business or individual.

  • Is the swim instructor certified to teach swimming lessons?
    • Ms. Michelle and Ms. Jessie are Water Safety Instructor certified through the Red Cross.
  • What are the student to teacher ratios for group classes?
    • We believe that a low student to teacher ratio is safest, particularly for beginner level classes. At Kids Splash Class, beginner classes have no more than four students under a Water Safety Instructor and one dedicated assistant. Our older classes have no more than six students under a Water Safety Instructor and one dedicated assistant.
  • Is the swimming pool clean?
  • Is the area surrounding the pool is safe and orderly? (i.e. pool chemicals are out of reach, pool equipment is in good condition, etc.)
  • Does the website or instructor provide clear directions on what to expect during swimming lessons? (i.e. supplies needed for lessons, facility-specific instructions, etc.)
  • Is the business or individual quick to respond to your questions?
  • Does your instructor provide regular feedback on your child’s progress?
    • We will provide you with an update on your child’s progress after every class.

How to Prepare Your Child for Swimming Lessons

Some kids are naturally excited about the water, while other children might be more cautious or even afraid of the water. Regardless of your child’s temperament, we find that the following tips will help your child know what to expect before his/her first swimming lesson.

At Home

Read books to your child that talk about swimming lessons, and read them early and often throughout the year. We also recommend reading books about trying new things. This helps prepare your child emotionally and mentally for swimming lessons. Use positive encouragement when your child tries something new.

Make sure your child knows the number one rule: “never go in or near the water without an adult“. You can repeat this rule every time you read a story about swimming.

Practice blowing bubbles in the bathtub. Take a cup and pour it over your child’s head, allowing the water to run over the face. This might be uncomfortable at first, but over time your child will gain confidence with getting water in the face and eyes. Just be sure to avoid soap in the eyes – that’s never fun! You can also practice kicking in the bathtub if you’re brave enough to clean up the mess afterwards. As your child gets more comfortable with this, encourage him/her to look for things under the water (goggles optional!).

Options for Infants and Toddlers

Enroll your child in an Infant Safety Rescue class. [Note: Kids Splash Class does not offer Infant Safety Rescue classes at this time.] This skill not only provides very young children with a life-saving skill, but also allows them to feel comfortable in the water at an early age. The instructor will typically teach your child in 10 minute classes over 4 to 5 consecutive days over the course of about 6 weeks. Once done, your child – who may not even be walking yet! – will be able to roll over from the front to the back while in the water, allowing the child to breathe until rescued. Infant Safety Rescue classes may not be available in your area. They also might not be feasible with your daily schedule. If you cannot get your child into an ISR class, we recommend taking a Mommy & Me class before your child is 3 years old.

In a Mommy & Me class, you will attend class with your child so that you can learn about different ways to safely introduce your child to the water. You will learn several positions to hold your child in that encourage bubble blowing, feet kicking, and back floating. Your child will also practice the “monkey walk”, a crawl along the wall that helps them get out of the pool, getting out of the pool on their own, and safely entering and exiting the water. You can use the skills you learn to practice with your child as you are in the water and before they learn to swim on their own.

Give Your Child Clear Guidance on What to Expect Before, During, and After Swimming Lessons

This may seem like a no-brainer, but taking the time to explain what will happen when it comes to a swimming lesson will go a long way with your child.

Before Lessons

Let your child know that s/he will need to put on sunscreen and change into a swimsuit before you leave the house to go to your swimming lesson. Also explain that you’ll be taking a few items for the swimming lesson. The items you bring may include goggles, a swim cap, and towel. Pro tip: if you are taking a lesson in an indoor pool, you might also consider bringing a lock if you intend to store your gear in a locker!

During Lessons

Your child should know that there will be other kids in the class (unless it’s a private lesson), and that s/he will learn new things from the instructor. Try explaining to your child that the class will be fun and s/he will learn lots of fun things with the other friends in class. You may also mention that it is important to try new things during the swim lesson when the teachers ask you to. Encourage your child to be brave.

After Lessons

Be sure to let your child know that you will be waiting for him/her after the lesson and that you can’t wait to hear how s/he did during class. Most kids are very excited to let their parents know about their progress that day. Try to be mindful and pay close attention when your child is telling you about their progress and encourage him/her to continue to work hard in class.

Tips to Ensure Your Child’s Success in Swimming Lessons

Our goal is for kids to be safe while having fun as they learn to swim. Your child will be more successful if s/he is comfortable with the water before taking a swimming lesson on his/her own. However, even if your child has never been in the water before the first swimming lesson, s/he can still learn how to swim! Prepare your child with positive encouragement, read stories about swimming, and praise him/her for trying new things after each lesson. Also, your child will be encouraged watching others do things in the water. We are always amazed at how much a child can learn in such a short amount of time!

Where possible, participate in the water with your child. You can use various tools with your child to ensure s/he is comfortable (and safe!) in the water. This may include floaties, noodles, swim bars, kick boards, and other fun and effective tools that help kids build strength and confidence in the water. While playing with your child in the water, always encourage him/her to blow bubbles while putting his/her face in the water.

The biggest thing you can do as a parent, however, is encouraging your child to try new things in a safe way in the water. Allow your child to explore what s/he can do with you there to supervise the process. When your child does something new, like going under the water for the first time, smile and praise your child as soon as s/he comes up out of the water. Remember that your reaction to their new activity can have such a positive influence on their experience!

Common Questions about Swimming Lessons

  • What if my child is terrified of the water?
    • If your child is terrified while in the water, take things slow. Start off by doing small things (like blowing bubbles with a wand) outside. Let your child play in the sprinkler. Do things that allow your child to be exposed to how it feels for water to splash or spray onto his/her body. Give your child space to feel comfortable with something before trying something more ambitious.
    • Enroll your child in a Mommy & Me or Level 1 swimming lesson sooner than later.
  • Will my child swim on his/her own after one week of lessons?
    • Most kids under 3 years old are not able to swim on their own. Many can learn how to float, however, as evidenced by kids who successfully complete Infant Safety Rescue classes.
    • Some kids who complete Level 1 classes can swim on their own for short distances, while others will still need assistance to swim using the skills they learned in class.
    • It is COMPLETELY normal for children to need to repeat a level to completely master the skills taught in that class.
  • Do you recommend any books in particular about swimming lessons?
    • Yes! Please see our post about swimming lesson books for several recommendations for books about swimming and trying new things.
    • We are also working on our own book about swimming lessons with an anticipated release of early 2021!! Please subscribe to our blog for updates on this project.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Swimming Lessons

Enrolling your child in swimming lessons is a great investment. You are not only giving your child a life-saving skill, but you are opening up so many opportunities for your child as s/he becomes a confident and proficient swimmer. You can positively reinforce the skills s/he learns in lessons by encouragement and practice. In time, your child will stun you with how much s/he can grow and do!

Please follow us for more tips and recommendations on all things swimming! Thank you for reading our blog!

1 thought on “The Ultimate Guide to Swimming Lessons”

  1. Its nice that you mentioned to encourage your child to try new things in a safe way in the water. I want to send my son to a swimming learning centre and I am looking for a good centre in my area. Thanks for the tips on swimming and I will surely show your blog to my son!

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