Raising Little Fish: Make Swimming Lessons FUN

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7 Tips for Raising a Little Fish

Water ActivitiesWe want to be confident as parents that our child is safe. Since our girls were toddlers, we’ve always made learning to swim a top priority for our family. I want to feel confident when our girls are playing in a small creek, fishing on a pier with Papa, kayaking, or hiking near a pond. We want to be able to safely explore with our girls and know that, if water is near, they are capable swimmers.

You’d think it is as easy as signing
your little one up for lessons, ha.

We’ve learned over the years nothing about parenting is ever easy. Below are 7 tips we’ve learned over the last five years about raising little fish:

1. Make swimming a novelty. Sign-up for lessons when trips to the beach and local pool start to dwindle. Your little one witll enjoy lessons more during a time of the year when they have less opportunity to swim socially.

2. Sign-up with a friend. Consider signing up for lessons with a friend. It will make the class more exciting for your child and the watching more enjoyable for you.

3. Make leaving for lessons positive. You don’t want to be stomping around the house looking for a suit yelling “we’re going to be late.” Pre-packing swim bags is a great way to reduce stress.

Let’s Lasso the Moon Tip: We keep ours swim bags in the laundry room. When a suit & towel come out of the dryer, they go right into the bag.

4. Be empathetic. Imagine coming home from work to have your spouse tell you that you “have” to go exercise. Even if your child enjoys lessons there may be days they don’t want to go. Be understanding.

Smile and in a loving voice say, “Oh honey, I understand, you’re not in the mood today. No problem. You can tell [insert teacher's name] that you’ll be watching lessons with me instead of swimming.” We’ve done this multiple times with great success. Usually, once your child is in the environment they’ll be exited to participate.

5. Pack loose clothing for locker room. There is nothing worse than trying to get leggings or jeans on after lessons. We love wearing our Melissa & Doug Beeposh gear to the pool. It is warm, adorable and easy to get on & off. It is also wonderful if you a take late afternoon or evening lessons because you’re little one can pop right into bed.

6. Provide snacks afterward. Children burn a lot of energy in the pool. You’re drive home will be much smoother if you have snacks in the car. No need to get fancy, something as simple as a water bottle and pretzels or an apple is perfect.

7. Set-up a pool-play-date. Give your child a chance to practice what they’ve learned. Your little one is learning a lot of new skills.

Let’s Lasso the Moon Tip: Asking your child to pretend to be an instructor and give you a lesson is a great way to reinforce what they are learning. Plus, it’s a hoot.

Most of our girls’ true advancements happened when they had an opportunity to “play” at the pool in between lessons. Have fun going as a family or schedule something with another child. Plan to be in the pool at least an hour. The key is to give your child an adequate amount of time to feel comfortable in the water.

Has your child taken swimming lessons? Do you have any additional suggestions? Let’s chat below.

PS: Are you thinking, “Oh my! Tell me more about those adorable and crazy pants the girls are wearing“?

7 Tips for Raising a Little Fish

Stop by Melissa & Doug and check out their new Beeposh line.
The girls have pants and boots from the Hope and Razzle Beeposh lines:

Beeposh by Melissa & Doug

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2012 Blog Ambassador Let’s Lasso the Moon is proud to be part of the 2012 Blog Ambassador program. We worked hard alongside Melissa & Doug to explore fun ways to keep children inquisitive and to promote classic creative play. Click here to read our full sponsorship disclosure.

 

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  • KAREN

    Good tips. As a swim instructor with over 35 years experience, I would like to add another very important tip: Let you children see you enjoying the water. If you cannot swim as a parent, admit it and sign up for adult lessons (either in a group class or as private lessons). Also, don’t make this a pass/fail type of class. Every child is different, and these differences make the timeline for achieving the goals of the class unique for each child. This is one thing that as a parent you cannot control. When you child is ready he/she will learn the skills. You role is that of encouragement. Celebrate the success, not matter how small. Resist the temptation to compare your little fish’s progress to others in the class (or out). See previous statement.

    If you do not like to go under the water, your child will pick up on this, even if you do not say a word.

    Stay in the observation area, or if allowed, a better plan is to stay out of sight. This will take the press off of you little one to “please you”. Too often what slows progress is the child is more concerned how mom/dad is reacting, than what is going on in class. Ignore them during class. Ask them what they did after class. Works wonderfully.

    Stay calm! If you are nervous about any part of the class, especially you child’s safety, find someone else to take them to and from class. You kiddos will pick up on this. Trust you instructor, they are trained and know what they are doing…yes, even if they are teens. So do the lifeguards.

    It is okay if you child goes underwater, whether planned or unplanned. As a matter of fact, it is next to impossible to learn to swim WITHOUT going under. The soon this is accomplished the better for learning. Let you child see you go underwater, especially if you are in a parent/child class. Stop worrying about you hair/looks.

    I can go on forever…

    Learning to swim creates a confidence in a person that will effect them in all aspects of their worlds. It will keep them safe and expand social possibilities as they grow. Children that learn to swim are less likely to drown, not only because of the swimming skills, but because in the process of learning these skills, they will develop a respect for what water can and cannot do.

    Most of all HAVE FUN!!!!

  • http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/ Megan Sheakoski

    Great tips! When we moved to FL with 3 little ones swimming was a big priority for us too. Our kids did ISR and gained so much confidence in the water. Setting the stage for success is so important–I love that you included make leaving for lessons positive because it makes such as difference!

  • Margaret High

    great tips!

  • the monko

    these are really helpful suggestions. We’ve been umming and aahing about lessons for Goblin. At the moment we are just taking him swimming regularly ourselves and letting him gain water confidence. One of the reasons I am put off paid for lessons is that I don’t want him to stop enjoying going swimming because he sees it only as a learning exercise. Your tips have helped me make up my mind that for the time being (as he’s only three) we’ll stick to fun pool time and lots of it.

    • Zipfish

      As an experience instructor, I would suggest that three is a really good time to start lessons. Choose your program wisely. I have taught both YMCA and Red Cross. I highly recommend YMCA Preschool swim lessons. It is a student focused experiential program that is design to teach while the kids are having fun. Safety, Games, Character Development and a vital part of the program along side of the stroke development. The programs are very age appropriate and take development into consideration.

      • Jen

        We just enrolled our 3 year old at the local YMCA after 2 1/2 years of adult ed classes and are so pleased with the course! Parental attitude plays a huge part and we have always made this a fun, happy, exciting activity for our daughter.