Monday, May 16, 2016

Preschool Swimming Lessons - What Matters Most

It's that time of year again where parents of preschoolers everywhere are writing "schedule swim lessons" into their daily planners and hoping to instill some water confidence and safety before summer hits with its endless heat wave beckoning us to run (walk, please!) to the pool to cool off.
I've got big pool plans this summer. I mean, we can handle one safety break to the next, eat some snacks, and head back for naps, right? Easy.

That being said, I know the importance of safety. I also want much more for our kids: a confidence being in the water, a love of being in the water. Swimming lessons is the most logical place to start for making all those wishes a reality. 

John recently started at SafeSplash Swim School with Ms. Thania. In the midst of hustling here and there with end-of-school activities, it's really nice to drive 10 minutes to their location inside LA Fitness. There are locations all across the country, so be sure to check the website for a convenient location for you. Besides being convenient, these lessons are wallet-friendly, an important factor when considering there are two other boys needing lessons and activities of their own. 

I wasn't nervous about John's enthusiasm (or lack thereof); all three boys have been water lovers. I was nervous, however, about how he would do in a setting that's not mommy-and-me. He's been my sidekick, and our only times apart have been with babysitters or family. I'm not going to lie. There were tears, but they lasted mere minutes and never returned. I credit this to his coach and appreciate how her guiding during these early years will cultivate water confidence. 

Ms. Thania helped him with a sense of firmness, nurturing, and encouragement. After that first class, John told everyone, "My teacher helped me." Since then he's been invested in swim class. Although going under still isn't his favorite, he does not have an overarching sense of dread about it and seems to know that Ms. Thania will challenge him gently and always catch him. Literally.  These are the years of "let them be little." I think swim class should do just that.
And because they are little, there are always fun games and toys that he enjoys. From getting to squirt his teacher with water after completing tasks to using the kick board to swim around and rescue floating toys to playing Simon Says, these tricks of the trade from SafeSplash are making lessons approachable and fun. That's what being in the pool is all about--fun!

While they are having a great time, however, water safety skills are being taught and reinforced throughout the lesson. I have watched John learn how to safely enter and exit the pool (including calling out to a specific grown-up when wanting to jump in), grip the wall and use his hands to "walk" around, and continue to work on breathing techniques. We are in our second month of lessons, and there's been variety of activity, yet consistency in practicing these skills, as well as beginning stroke/kick techniques. John's favorite is the kick board which he'll proudly tell you he does "all by himself" and looks forward to each class. Ms. Thania is fostering swimming as something that he's proud of and enjoys!
I also appreciate the mom learning factor. Ms. Thania has been free after class to answer any questions -- perhaps how far to push him when we practice on our own, or what's the best method for helping him get comfortable on his back. And in class I'm right there to see and hear teaching techniques to duplicate at home practice. 

Summer is around the corner, and we are ready! John is not swimming solo, and that's ok! He's learning, and SafeSplash has been a great first step in swimming confidence, trust, water safety awareness, and fun! 

Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. SafeSplash Swim School is providing a month's swim lessons in exchange for blog posts. Be sure to check them out for swimming needs! 

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