Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.
As parents we have a lot of worries. One of the biggest during the summer is that of water safety. It’s no wonder that we all start looking for somewhere to have our little loves take lessons during this transition into summer. For me it had become a really big worry. RNYD and I are fish, we adore the water and we would of course love the same for our children.
(A) was enrolled in mommy and me swim with me his first summer (at 1 year old). We had a blast that year and the following year. When he turned 3 it was time for the alone class he had a bad experience. He fell into the water and didn’t feel safe afterwards no matter what. To compound things his baby sister had a small issue and ended up in the hospital for a few days. We left the same exact time he had fallen into the water. Needless to say, he developed a thing about swim lessons. Refusing to go (literally shaking at the words “Swim Lessons”). Luckily, he still enjoyed swimming with myself and RNYD in the family pools so we knew all couldn’t be lost.
We let it be until this year. We knew that we had to get him some good structured lessons, even considering hiring privately in our family pools. That’s when I met Laurie from the Condors Swimming program. We had coffee and we spoke about (A)’s fears. She agreed that it was wise to leave him for a while and not mention it and then suggested that we begin attending this May (2015). That would give him a good amount of time to “forget” the experience, and some good time to mature.
Ready for class, I thought this was going to be a nightmare.
May came and we were all set to go. I had no idea what to expect when we got there (I was impressed that I got him into a suit and to even to watch). Although hesitant at first, Ashley (the program director) came over and spoke to him, and took the time to introduce him to his instructor personally. She did this for EVERY child, and brings them over EVERY class. His instructor was warm and welcoming and invited him into the water. Then they had something very special that I think solidified for him that he would take a chance. They have a platform that they put in the water with handles for the kids to stand on in between turns. Safety. He had an island he could stand on, he didn’t have to sit on the side of the pool where he could fall in again.
The amazing platform that makes all the difference.
Even better, when the swimmers start getting comfortable, they can practice dunking their heads and kicking while their classmates (each group is a ratio of 3:1 max at the beginner level) take a turn. Swimmers get a TON of individualized attention in their half hour class, and all instructors follow the same curriculum teaching the basics of swimming. In addition to the small student teacher ratio, there are also lifeguards on duty as well as other instructors out of the water.
(A)’s instructor gets the class ready for the water.
(A) gets a turn practicing with the teacher.
Well, (A) loved it from the very first class. When the half hour was up he begged for more. The next day, he asked if it was swimming day, and was sad when it was not. On Thursday when it was time, he was dressed and ready to go when I arrived home. Again, at classes’ conclusion he begged for more.
Happy camper after his first lesson.
By day 3 (A) was one of the students who was dunking their heads and kicking in between turns. His instructor makes him feel comfortable and listens when he says he is nervous. She is strong with him, but understanding. She uses several different techniques with him to help to work on his form.
Working on swimming on his back with a kickboard.
Then without the board.
Eager to take advantage of his love for class, and the time we have I spoke with Ashley and asked what I could do at home to reinforce the skills taught in class. She was able to provide me with several different “fun” ways to practice without making it work. As a coach myself, I understand that an hour of pool time a week will not turn my son into Michael Phelps and would like to help with the process, but I don’t want to overstep my bounds or reinforce the wrong things (although a good swimmer I don’t completely understand all of the nuances involved).
(A) improves with each session, and continues to beg for more after each. He really loves the instructors (he is happy to stay and chat them up afterwards if they are available). I can barely believe that the month has already passed. Of course considering if I should sign (A) up for the next session, I asked that Ashley sit with me and discuss his progress at the last class. She took the time to personally speak to me about his progress. She noted his big wins: he comes to class happy and ready to learn, he wants to stay longer every time, he is learning the mechanics and not needing so many reminders. I was glad and interested to hear that on average (of course some quicker and some a little slower) it takes 3 months of consistent lessons to become a “swimmer.” Ashley was able to explain to me that the meaning of “swimmer” is putting ones head in the water and kicking at the same time. That mastering that fear along with doing something else at the same time is the key, and that once that is achieved, the fine tuning can begin.
We adore going to the Condors swim lessons twice a week. (A) is signed up for the month of June now and I cannot wait to watch him blossom. He is getting great instruction in a super safe environment (not to mention some good exercise). I cannot wait for (E) to be old enough to begin (probably by next spring!).
After speaking with Ashley and as a coach I do have the following recommendations. If your schedule permits, sign up for the 2x a week classes. One half hour a week (sometimes skipping weeks) although financially attractive, does not offer enough time to reinforce skills and aid children in becoming comfortable in the water. Also, remember that everyone learns at their own pace. It is unrealistic to assume that your child will learn how to swim in a month (after all it took them longer than that to learn how to walk). If you are going to register for lessons, assume it will take 2-3 months for it to stick. I cannot wait to update you all on (A)’s progress next month.
If you would like to see video of (A)’s swim progress check out our YouTube Channel!