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Information on lifeguarding, swim lessons, aquatic contracting, health, pool safety, and so much more!

Your Child’s First Swim Lesson: What You Need to Know

Parents always have a lot of questions for us before their child’s first swim lesson, and we are her to answer them all!

Is it better to be there during my child’s swim lessons?

No! During the first swim lesson, you can be there (if you want) so that you can see the swim instructor, be there for your child, and understand the swim lesson process. After the first lesson we highly recommend being somewhere where your child cannot see you. Kids get very distracted by their parents if they are around, especially at first. Bonding with the swim instructor is very important. This happens faster when the children are with them alone.

OMG, I am so sorry my kid cried so much during the swim lesson! Is this normal?

Yes, it is totally normal for kids to cry during swim lessons. It is a new place, with a new person that they do not really know, making them swim, which they do not want to do. We like to say the sweet spot for most kids to get over this is about 4-5 lessons (this does not mean that they aren’t learning anything in these lessons though!

A big part of how many swim lessons it will take depends on if your child is around and comfortable with new people. If they are only with a select amount of family members all of the time, it will take them longer to warm up to the swim instructor. Either way, crying is totally normal. We know that as a parent it is just as difficult for you to hear this! Which is another reason we suggest you leave the pool area during swim lessons. Once the kids know that they cannot get out of it, and build some trust with their swim instructor, it will be easier on everyone!

How should I act before, during, and after the swim lessons?

Happy!! We know you are nervous--do not let them see it. Show them the pool is a happy place to be, and the swim instructor is a fun and trusting person. If they choke a bit on water, it is ok! Just smile, tell them, “good job” and move on. Children read every single emotion off of their parents, and in new situations, look at them to see how they should react or feel. If kids feel that their parents are nervous about swim lessons, you bet they will be 100x more nervous. Always praise them and tell them how proud you are of them after the swim lesson. You are a big part of helping them be comfortable with the swim lessons and the swim instructor, so really pay attention to not only what you say, but your body language and emotions.

What do I need to bring for my child’s first swim lesson?

Just the swimmer in a bathing suit! If they are not potty trained yet, they will need a swim diaper. Optional Tip: it is so helpful for the swim instructors if you bring a waterproof toy that they love. It will take their mind off of being with a new person in the water.

Do they need goggles for their swim lessons?

We suggest no goggles, especially when starting out. Kids should not use goggles during swim lessons until they are pool safe without them. This is because a lot of children begin to depend on their goggles during swim time, meaning if they fall in or need to swim without them, they cannot. We want to build swimmers that can get safe with or without goggles.

Should I slow down the swim instructor?

If you feel like your child might be in danger during a swim lesson, then absolutely you should stop the lesson. Your child’s safety in the pool is the number one priority, always! With that being said, if your child is not in danger, let the swim instructor do what they do best, teach! In order to teach kids how to swim, they are going to have to do lots of things that they do not want to do in order to learn skills necessary to become pool safe. A lot of times, the swim instructor will have to dip them underwater when they do not like it, have them swim when they do not want to, etc. Kids have to do things they are not always comfortable with during their swim lessons, but that is how they get comfortable with that skill. And guess what? After they become comfortable with that skill, they will have another to conquer. A lot of parents will tell their child in the beginning of the swim lesson, “okay the swim instructor will not do (x,y,z) today.” This is one of the worst things you can do in your child’s swimming development. It not only undermines the swim instructor, making it so that the kid does not think they have the authority to tell them what to do, it also teaches them that they can get out of difficult tasks. Kids will not progress during their swim lessons if they are stunted like this.

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