Swimming is a very essential skill to have, no matter what age you are. When I was thinking about potential activities for my infant and now toddler, swimming was on top of the list. So, I started searching for children swimming lessons.
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There are a few factors to think about, but the best way to learn and experience with your tot is to simply dive right in.
When to start
Children swimming lessons start very young, probably younger than you think. In my research, the average facility starts mommy and me classes around six months. You might wonder what a six month old does at a swimming lesson, I know I did.
My daughter was about seven months when I started looking for classes in my area. Because she was really young, I just wanted to dip our toes in the water, so to speak. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to invest in private lessons and commit to a contract.
Infant swimming lessons
We started my daughter in swimming lessons at eight months at the local city aquatic center. We chose the aquatic center over a private swim school for a few reasons:
- No registration fees. Most of the private swim schools require an annual registration fee on top of monthly classes.
- Lower level of commitment. Most swimming centers and schools will require some level of commitment. Our local aquatic center conducted their lessons in 5-class blocks, so we did have to commit to and pay in advance for one block.
- Lower cost. The cost for one block at the aquatic center was $30.00, which equates to $6.00 per lesson. Average cost per class at a private swimming school is approximately $20.00.
At the start of my daughter’s swimming journey, the cheaper, aquatic center lessons turned out to be perfect for us. Initially, the first lessons are comfort in the water and building trust with a parent. These can be taught at a very young age.
Since our 35 minute classes were on Saturdays, my husband and I were both available to go. Only one parent can go in the water, so we took turns every class.
I’m so glad that we chose the cheaper option because building comfort in the water with an infant is basically walking around with them and playing with toys. They also get to see other kids their age in the water.
Ultimately, our first block of classes was a great experience. My daughter seemed to love it and was not afraid of the water. So, we decided to sign up for another set of 5 classes.
Why we took a hiatus from children swimming lessons
So, we ended up attending only one class from the second block because my daughter kept getting sick at daycare. She was in that sweet spot of becoming more mobile and interacting with more infants. It was also winter time when the spread of germs and sickness peaks, so she was getting sick every three weeks or so.
She got her very first ear infection during this time. My mommy brain was wondering if this was attributable to getting water in her ears at swim. Once that first ear infection healed, she got another one a couple of weeks later, which was much worse. Again, I was afraid that it was from the lessons, so we stopped completely.
By the time I was warming up to getting her started in lessons again, the pandemic had hit and the aquatic center closed down for the entire spring and summer of 2020.
Swimming lessons, part two
Near the end of summer 2020, I decided to enroll her in swimming again. It’s definitely a must for toddler summer activities. The aquatic center was still closed, so we decided on a private swimming school.
I’m already enjoying this new school over the city aquatic center because the focus of toddler classes is water survival training. The aquatic center’s focus was improving comfort and confidence in the water, but they didn’t teach drowning prevention skills, which is so important.
These are the skills that my daughter has been focusing on at the new school.
- Crab walks along the side of the pool (while in the water, she grasps the wall and moves from side to side using her hands)
- Rolling over onto her back while in the water
- Gaining the strength and confidence to pull herself out of the pool
- Practicing the ‘scoop’ or doggy paddle motion and lots of kicking
- Assisted front gliding while holding her breath under water
After four months at the new school, my daughter’s confidence in the water has increased 100%. Although she’s not technically swimming on her own, she is building up the foundation for it.
Even though they are only thirty minutes long, the classes are very structured. It’s important for toddlers to have the same routine, and it works well.
I have asked the instructors when they typically see toddlers swim on their own and they usually say around two and a half to three years old.
Billing details for new school
Although we are paying quite a bit more for the new school, it’s a worthy investment. Swimming is an important skill at any age. There is also a drastic difference in program quality over the aquatic center, so the extra cost is worth it.
- $50 enrollment fee, this is pretty standard with private schools.
- $20 per lesson, monthly automatic billing is required. So, depending on the number of lessons we have per month, I am billed $80 or $100 plus tax.
- The teacher to student ratio is 3 toddlers (with one parent) to one instructor for a thirty minute class.
Must-have products for children swimming lessons
- Disposable swim diapers. Our school requires a disposable swim diaper, a reusable swim diaper, and a swimsuit. It seems like a bit much, but it prevents accidents in the pool.
- Reusable swim diapers. The Green Sprouts reusable swim diapers are top-notch and very affordable. We’ve only had to buy one so far, but it has held up to multiple washes over months. I plan to buy another one soon when she sizes up.
- Swim goggles.
- Swim towel.