When each of our kids was 4 months old, we signed them up for baby swim classes, which means that Baby No. 4 and I have been attending a mommy-and-me swim class for about a month now. My husband and I agree that water safety is important. We want our kids to not only feel comfortable in and around water but also to be safe and know how to not sink like a brick, should they ever find themselves in water. To this end, we spend a small fortune to attend weekly swim classes until such time as the children are able to do the butterfly stroke unassisted. Because once you can do the butterfly stroke by yourself, you’re a more advanced swimmer than I ever was, and I haven’t drowned yet. It’s a very scientific measuring stick, I know.
Anyway, so Baby No. 4 and I head to baby swim class one day a week. The lesson is 30 minutes long and so long as she is fed and rested, she doesn’t mind being in the water. If she is not fed and not well rested, then she screams like her fingernails are being pulled off with pliers. Because that’s the obvious reaction to water when you’re tired and/or hungry. Duh.
She floats on her back, works on blowing bubbles, and practices her “kickers” and her “reach and pulls.” She doesn’t really like the back float—but with rare exception, she doesn’t mind going underwater. There are little songs that go along with each motion. I’ve been doing this class for so long (this is my seventh year), that I basically have the entire class routine memorized and could probably teach it myself.
The swim school we attend is a local place that is owned by a lovely family who, from what I understand, has been teaching swim lessons in our town for the better part of forever. They have kids in their classes now whose parents were once students! I think that’s pretty cool and speaks for their program. The owners are the loveliest people. Their staff is great with the kids. I know my kids absolutely love swim lessons! (Three of four currently take lessons. The fourth says she wants to start taking lessons again and is even willing to give up her dance class to go back to swimming.) There is a small pool that they’re able to play in if one has a lesson when the other doesn’t, so no one is left out of the fun.
There are other swim school options in our town, and I’m sure they’re great, too. But this particular one has been very good to us over the last seven years. It’s a small place and my husband gets upset that there aren’t enough parking spaces (which, to be fair, is a valid complaint), but I don’t think we could ask for a better environment for our children to learn to swim. I don’t love having to get into the pool with them when they’re babies (mostly because I’m lazy and changing into and out of a bathing suit is so much work), but it’s totally worth it. At 5 months old, she isn’t too much of an active participant. I have to kick her legs and move her arms for her in the right motions, but I know it will only be a short time from now that she’ll be blowing bubbles, kicking and reaching and pulling all on her own!