My husband and I have always been strong and confident swimmer, so it was no surprise that we wanted our daughters to love the water. We are so happy for all the things we have done to set our daughter up for success in the water! Here is what we learned about toddler swim lessons!
Before Toddler Swim Lessons
Before we even started toddler swim lessons we first just wanted our daughter to be as comfortable as possible in the water. From the moment she was old enough to be in water, she was! One of my favorite memories is my two month old baby passed out in her little pool float. She was meant to be in the water.
By the time she was able to walk, we were essentially having to drag her out of the pool. While she was not swimming, she was obsessed with splashing around and sitting in any kind of water. Whenever we went to the beach, one of us was always chasing her to the shoreline because she would immediately jump in.
We assumed that her love for water would transition to us having an extremely strong swimmer with ZERO fear. We began looking at swim lessons for the summer she turned two, but we found that most of it was “Mommy and Me” and there were not many options for actual lessons. Where we live, most of the swim instructors started taking students at 3 because they a potty trained and can follow directions much better.
We did have a ton of people recommend the same woman, and she told me to start calling her in February of the next year. Apparently, she booked extremely fast. So, February I called her and we had lessons lined up for July!
Day One of Toddler Swim Lessons
This specific swim instructor had more of a “swim or sink” mentality. I by no means felt like she was harsh, scarring, or reckless. However, she was very firm as far as not giving into crying. Honestly, that is exactly what our daughter needed. While Evie loves water, she also is very hesitant to try anything new. We have always had to push her into trying new things.
These toddler swim lessons were for 4 consecutive days over 40 minutes. The instructor did warn us that they usually swallowed a good amount of water the first couple days, and that it was completely normal. Evie definitely threw up a good amount of water on the first day. There was a little less on on the second day. By day three, we did not have any water throwing up.
Remaining Days of Swim Lessons
I was also amazed at how far she was actually swimming across the pool by the end of day two! She really began understanding that she needed to kick and keep her mouth closed. I think her keeping her mouth closed was probably the hardest thing for her to figure out.
The second half our days the instructor really focused on life saving skills. This was probably the most valuable part to me. She made a HUGE deal about the kids knowing where to grab if they fell into the pool, and how to scootch across the ledge until they got to a ladder or steps. She explained to the kids and to us that usually the biggest risk at their current age is falling in. However, when you fall in, it is usually super close to the wall.
She had them all line up on the edge of the pool, and plopped them in. They had to practice turning around and grabbing the ledge. There was always an adult a foot away ready to intervene, but they did allow for the kids to try and figure it out. I was so impressed with her ability to turn around, grab the ledge, and find her way to safety. I knew she would not be a master swimmer by the end of the summer, but I at least knew she would be able to save herself!
Taking it Back to Our Pool
The weeks following swim lessons are by far the most important. It was slightly awkward pushing our screaming toddler into the neighborhood pool and having half the neighbors watching us. However, it was crucial to keep practicing the skills weekly. I was slightly worried it was not going to work out, but all of a sudden, something magically clicked.
She became a little mermaid within a matter of minutes. She got her groove and we couldn’t keep her out of our sight for the rest of the summer. The scariest part was the fact that she would jump into the pool when we were not making eye contact with her, and we would turn to see her frantically grabbing for one of us to take a breath. We had to have LOTS of discussion about her not swimming out into the pool unless she got a verbal response from one of us saying we saw her.
I also made a huge point to make sure she still wore floaties if it was only me at the pool and my husband was working. While I did not want her to regress, I also felt like it was the safest option for us this summer.
Summing it All Up
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your upcoming swimmer!
- Don’t let your kid become too reliant on arm floats before swim lessons. We used them to help her understand the concept of kicking, but did not want her to get too overconfident with the float.
- Try to get their faces and heads in the water as much as possible before lessons. I think this really helped us out! I think she would have spazzed out more during swim lessons if she was not used to her face and head being in water.
- While you are at lessons, hide. This will make it so much easier on the instructor and allows your child to focus. Evie would only cry when I was near, and immediately stopped crying when I walked away. I could still watch her the whole time, but was hidden where she could not see me.
- Ask your swim instructor for tips on how to help your child once you are back at your own pool. Our instructor gave us great tips that we took back. Just make sure to actually use them!
We can’t wait for our next year of lessons and to see our daughter get stronger and stronger!