Kids & Parenting

Choosing baby swimming lessons

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Be careful choosing baby swimming lessons to ensure a positive experience

You are about to toss your infant or toddler into a pool of water for the first time, and you are nervous, rightfully. You hope that you have chosen the correct baby swimming class for your child. Instead of just hoping, make sure that you have chosen the right class prior to enrolling your child by asking a lot of questions beforehand and observing a class as it is taught. Choosing baby swimming lessons is a daunting project: here are some tips.

You definitely want the instructor and the class to be baby-friendly. If that is not the case, the experience might put your child off swimming and water for the rest of his life, and you do not want that to happen. Babies and small children all need to swim for their safety as well as for pleasure and enjoyment.

The teacher should be a child-centered instructor that is certified in first aid and CPR. Just because someone was an Olympic competitor does not mean that she is necessarily a good instructor. The teacher must be able to relate to babies and children. Watch and see if the instructor has good rapport with her students.

How does the teacher teach? In sequence or does she overwhelm the child by exposing him to everything at once. Does the instructor address fears in a kind and sensitive way or do you think she is creating the fear? You want a mentor for your child, not someone who tries to torment them into swimming.

Watch and see if babies are put under water before they are ready to be submerged. A child must be adjusted to the water and relaxed before he is put under water. Are the children forced to lie on their backs when it is obvious they do not want to? Does the teacher positively reinforce them when they do something well?

Infants and children require very high levels of trust before they are going to be coaxed into doing something that they perceive as scary or foreign. Does the teacher instill trust in the kids?
As a parent, you know when your child is enjoying himself or when he is desperate to escape. Are the children having a good time or are they determined to get the heck out of the pool at any cost and away from the teacher?

Some kids may swallow too much water and throw up. Sometimes a child will throw up out of sheer terror. You will be able to tell if the kids are having a ball or just trying to survive the hour.  
Ask the other mothers if their children are excited about going to swimming class or start crying as soon as class is mentioned?

The tone of the class should be one that is friendly, safe, fun but never hostile. This should be a positive experience for you and your child, strengthening trust between the two of you and not resulting in her hating you for life because you dipped her under water as you were instructed to do long before she was ready.

If the program uses scare tactics, such as it is better that your child cry now than you cry later, meaning that the child could drown if you do not sign her up for the class, walk away. Obviously, we all know that a child needs to learn to swim but intimidation is not the technique that should be used to get children into a swimming program.

After observing a swimming class, if you do not get a good feeling about it, move along and find another class to observe. You want this to be a great experience for your child, not something that terrorizes them for life. You will find the right class for your child, although it may take some investigating before choosing baby swimming lessons.


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