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 Month. Here’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.
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!