Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

Make Swimming Lessons Fun for Everyone

tips for swimming lessonsIt’s almost summer and that means lots of time in and around the water. If your kids don’t know how to swim, that can make for one nervous mom! 

My kids don’t have to be the next Michael Phelps but they do need to know what to do if they fall in the water. So, we take swimming lessons and they can sometimes be a pain!

I’ve been the mom trying to take off her suit while simultaneously making sure my half-naked toddler doesn’t run away in the locker room.

Our six-year-old loves the water. We call him Little Shark. Our three-year-old son has a stubborn streak a mile long. We affectionately call him Land Shark.

May is National Water Safety MonthHere’s what we’ve learned as a family with polar-opposite kids when it comes to their love (or tolerance) for water.

Tips for Parent-Child Swimming Lesson 

Little Shark took parent-child lessons when he was nine months old. He did great! Little Shark loved the water, played the games, and it was fun. He went a few times.

Land Shark? Awful from the word go. Whoever drew the short straw experienced crying and a death grip. He only went twice.

What did we learn?

  • Take three towels – one for you, one for the kid, and one to lay the kid on when you have to change them in a locker room.
  • Make sure your clothes are easy. Layers (and bras) become complicated when you’re wet and you have to dress a wet kid.
  • If there are showers, take soap. Rinse the kid off there and put on their pajamas. Our lessons were after work so it saved us time when we got home.

Tips for Older Kid Swimming Lessons 

Our oldest has now been through a few rounds of group lessons. He’s middle of the pack when it comes to skills and group lessons continue to work for him. I’d consider private lessons if they didn’t.

At this age, we’ve learned:

  • Trust the instructor. They will and should push your kid out of his comfort zone.
  • Again, shower at the pool.
  • If your kid hams it up or turns on tears for you, don’t let them see you watching. Our son does better if he can’t see me.
  • Go swimming with someone else. We ran into an older kid we knew at the pool one night. Within 10 minutes, our son was going down the slide and going off the diving board solo! He never would have done that without the other kid leading the way.
Son and mom

Our little Land Shark, safely on the dock and away from the water – where he prefers to be!

Tips if your kid hates the water

Don’t dunk them! Well-meaning family members decided to dunk him – you know, get him used to it. For a month after he screamed every time I washed his hair. Not the right approach for this kid.

Try a ‘Puddle Jumper.’ It keeps his face further from the water and it gives him confidence. I was able to take it off and have him go down the slides with me catching him.

Try someone else. This kid turns it on for me, big time. My brother’s fiancé convinced him to leave his perch safely next to me on the dock and get in the water. It worked to have someone else swim with him.

We’ll continue to take him to pools and lakes. I have no idea what to expect from lessons this year and am dreading it. But, I know it’s for his own good. Wish me luck!

What are some of your tips for swimming lessons?

, ,

2 Responses to Make Swimming Lessons Fun for Everyone

  1. Shay S May 7, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

    Both my kiddos love the water and look forward to swim lessons every year. However, my oldest just started to willingly put her face in the water last year. I LOVE your tip about showering there- our lessons this year are going to be a little later and this tip will save us so much time! THANK YOU for sharing!

  2. Brittney Rutherford May 9, 2018 at 7:35 pm #

    Yes! Showers at the pool were key for after work lessons. It made our home life so much easier at night.

Leave a Reply