My last blog about swimming a few years ago was for the “Mommy and Me swim classes” when my oldest daughter Zara was about 7 months old, While I totally recommend these classes especially for first children (they are a useful tool which teaches the parent how to interact with a child in the pool), this Blog is about getting your 5 year old to actually start swimming.
We have tried several different swim facilities and while I can tell you great things about all of them, what the major differences are and such - I am going to share the differences that have turned my water timid 5 year old into a water lover who can’t wait for her classes or just go swimming in general. Even better than her excitement is how it has influenced her little sister who because of this is way too advanced for her baby class but maybe not emotionally ready to be in the pool without me.
**Experienced teachers – this doesn't always equate to age yet in our experience the better teachers have always been in their late 30’s and not young high school kids or early college. The calm and wisdom they bring to the pool is invaluable and the child progresses much faster with these teachers and more importantly your kids feel safe because the teacher are calm.
**Smaller class sizes – some of the big facilities will cram 8-10 kids in a class and unless they are at swim team level this doesn’t help them learn to swim. Kid’s need a calm environment because for most people the water is scary at first and a bunch of kids acting crazy while you are trying to learn just doesn’t work very well.
**Flexible hours – I say this because I don’t know when your child is at their best, but for my kids they are best in the morning. Trying to learn something new in the afternoon is usually not their best time; so choose well for your child’s behavior and energy level.
Fun Classes – I used to be of the mind that props for learning to swim was a bad thing, however when used appropriately, kids find them fun. They can help build confidence and can speed up their swimming progress. Songs or music also doesn’t hurt when learning something new.
We are currently doing Level 2 “Mommy and Me classes” for Allegra and Zara. Here are some current pictures of them. They also got to pick out goggles which they love to wear.