Welcome to swim lessons!!! Beginners classes are geared to babies, toddlers and preschooler's and young children. I have also taught young adults. The lessons are for the purpose of helping your child become comfortable in the water and, at the same time, gain respect for the water. I want your child to enjoy the water by knowing what he is able to do and not able to do. If your child is old enough and physically developed enough, he may learn to propel himself through the water with his face in the water and look up for a breath when necessary. He may learn to turn over and float on his back when he is tired. He may learn to jump off the deep end and swim the length of the pool. Obviously, a baby is not going to be able to do all these things, but he may learn to hold his breath and swim from you to the side and hold on.
Crying for the first lessons or two, or even more, is normal. Unless you have been quite diligent and prepared your child for water in the face, this is going to be a new experience for him. Even if you have worked up to pouring lots of water over his head at bath time, the feeling of floating in the pool is a strange, insecure one. There is nothing else that feels like it.
You can prepare your child for swim lessons and reduce his anxiety by introducing him to water games in the bathtub. Encourage him to experiment with putting his face in the water, blinking his eyes open underwater and learning to blow bubbles with his nose underwater. A baby can be floated on his back with you supporting his head and ears in the water. While your baby is sitting up in the tub, you can drip water on top of his head and encourage him to blink the water out of his eyes. DO NOT WIPE HIS EYES/FACE. Wiping gives him the idea that he should avoid water on his face. Tell him to blink the water out of his eyes. Mastering these skills will make swim lessons much more enjoyable and cut down considerably on crying during lessons.
Although we would like to avoid crying during lessons, don't be alarmed when you hear him cry in the pool, even though, as I've been told several million times, your child doesn't cry under any circumstances. The crying does stop eventually. Often more than not, the students that cries the most at the beginning are usually the ones who are the proudest of their accomplishments when they do learn to swim (and the hardest to get out of the pool at the end of the swim lesson).
FEAR IS REPLACED WITH SELF CONFIDENCE!!!
I provide all floatation equipment for use in the classes. The swim fins can be purchased at Amazon. Finis Kids Fishtail 2 Fins.
It is impossible to tell how many lessons a child will need. With private lessons, a child proceeds at his own rate. Usually you will see progress from one lesson to the next. Occasionally you will see regression, and I will try to determine the reason for that. As long as the child is making progress, I will encourage you to continue. If, after three or four lessons, we see no progress, I will suggest some alternatives. Usually, two classes a week with a day between is best.
Taking your child to swim between lessons is usually very helpful. He has a chance to try out what he has learned and knows what he needs help with when he returns for his next class. Two classes a week are recommended, so please try to come both days and practice at least one additional day per week, if possible.
Please don't be overly concerned with the Red Cross's recommendations that preschooler's are too young to learn to swim. They are too young to learn in the Red Cross group classes, taught by teens, where everyone learns the same skill at the same time. I taught these classes years ago and would never attempt to teach toddlers in this manner. Part of the Red Cross's concern is that you will become lax about watching your child, if you think he knows how to swim. No matter how well your young child swims, never take your eyes off of him when he is in or near the water. This goes for my classes as well. I encourage you to watch the lessons. Try to learn how you can help him when you take him to practice.
I welcome all your questions and concerns. Remember, we are both after the same result, a child who is happy and safe in the water. No skill instills self confidence more than learning to swim. I have seen positive results from my classes and look forward to many more!!!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PARENTS
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