It’s finally here: your child’s first swim lesson! Hundreds of people walk through the doors of our Gilbert swim school every week, but perhaps none are more excited and nervous than parents with a beginner swimmer.
If you’re helping your child get ready for their lesson, you probably have lots of thoughts and questions. How will my child do? Will they like it? How can I help them have a good experience? Here’s how to prepare for the first step in your child’s journey to becoming a strong, confident swimmer.
Before the Lesson
Many children have their first swim lesson between 6 months and 2 years old. Even before they walk, they can start getting comfortable in the water and learning water safety.
Leading up to the first lesson, talk about swimming in an excited, positive light. If your child is old enough to understand, tell them that they will be in a class other children and, if taking a Parent-Tot class, that Mommy and/or Daddy will be with them. Adults are required to be in the water for baby and toddler classes. For older children, parents and guardians will wait in the viewing area.
Also tell your child that it’s very important for them to listen to the instructor and sit on the side of the pool until it’s their turn. This helps keep the class safe and organized so the instructor can move quickly and allow everyone to get more turns during class.
During the Lesson
As you’re getting ready at home, dress your child in their bathing suit, towel, and goggles (optional). You’re also welcome to bring them in street clothes and change before and/or after the lesson is over. Many parents in our evening classes even shower their kids and get them in pajamas at EVO so they’re ready for bed when the get home.
The first swimming lesson will last 30 minutes. Plan on arriving about 10 minutes early so the Site Manager can show you around the facility, make your child feel comfortable, and give them a free t-shirt to get them excited about what’s ahead. We also encourage you to meet the instructor before or after the lesson to get acquainted.
During the lesson, we focus on developing trust first. Skills will come later once the child knows they can trust us. We’ll introduce them to the water and ask them to get their hair wet at a minimum. Crying is normal, so don’t be stressed if your child gets upset or scared. Once we have their trust and wipe their tears away, we can move on to teaching them how to be safe, efficient swimmers.
Safety is always top priority at EVO, so the first few lessons will focus on holding their breath, finding the steps or edge of the pool, and getting in and out safely. Once they learn the basics, we’ll move on to other techniques. You’ll be surprised how quickly your child progresses to be an independent swimmer!
Words of Wisdom
We polled our staff to see what their top pieces of advice would be for parents and their beginner swimmers. Here are their top 3 tips.
Encourage your child to be brave and willing to try things they’ve never done before.
Trust that the coach will take good care of your child, even if your child cries.
If you child struggles with wanting to leave your side, drop them off to their instructor and then retreat to an area in the facility where you can see them but they can’t see you. This will help them learn to trust their coach which fosters faster progression in the water.
Still have questions about how to prepare for the first lesson? Get in touch with our Gilbert swim school staff at 480-539-2660. Happy swimming!