Parents often don’t think about swimming lessons for their children until summer arrives, but the cooler months are an ideal time to join a learn-to-swim program.
Several swimming lessons programs now offer year-round classes, giving parents the ability to choose when swim lessons work best for their family. My sons both enjoyed summer classes at a local swim club. The program was well-run, convenient, and perfect for our Michigan summers (unless the pool heater was down!).
But when my daughter was 3 and I had transitioned to staying home with her, we tried morning classes at the local YMCA during the winter and spring. That freed up our summer mornings for other activities and gave her confidence in the water for the start of the summer.
Those are just a couple of the benefits of year-round swimming lessons, but there are many more reasons to consider enrolling your child outside of summertime.
Benefits of year-round swimming lessons
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Posted on Apr 25 2019 by
One of the main benefits of enrolling in swimming lessons in the fall, winter, or spring is that classes tend to be smaller and in lower demand. So you’re more likely to get the day/time you want.
Summer programs often fill up fast due to high demand, so get ahead of the crowds the rest of the year. Also, in the summer, outdoor pools mostly offer classes in the mornings, before the pool opens to its members or the public.
Year-round programs, which in most states are located in indoor pools, typically offer a variety of class times throughout the day. This makes scheduling around school and other activities much easier.
More exposure in the pool = steady improvement
One reason swim schools have changed to a year-round format is that students tend to see steady improvement over several months.
In a summer program, students typically attend for 4-5 days per week over a two- or three-week period. There’s value in attending classes daily over a few weeks. But the problem is, when that session ends, the instruction stops and the child doesn’t practice skills gained or attain new skills until the next summer.
In a year-round program, a child has continued instruction over a longer time period, allowing them to continue to fine-tune acquired skills and move to new levels, where they’ll be challenged and learn new skills.
Pool time in summer is more meaningful
One of the best ways to build your child’s swimming skills and confidence in the water is to increase exposure in the pool. For most families, that can only happen easily during the summer, when neighborhood or city pools are open.
As a result, children can begin the summer timid and afraid of the pool. Even if they swam the previous summer, they often need to become reacquainted with the water. That can take weeks. Or they may not remember that great flutter kick they learned last summer or how to breathe in freestyle.
As a private swim instructor and neighborhood swim coach, I see this all the time. Kids who showed excellent improvement the previous summer start the next summer as if they’ve never been taught how to swim. After all, would we expect our second-graders to remember math if they took off 9 months from instruction?
Enrolling in swimming lessons for even a few months during the school year can help them retain what they’ve learned from the previous summer and build their confidence in the water.
Then, when summertime rolls around, they’ll be ready to hit the water for playtime, where all of those skills will be on display. That means more fun for your child all summer long.
Make more time in summer for family fun
Committing to swimming lessons during the school year means that your family can take the summer off to enjoy vacations, neighborhood pool time, or even lazy summer days.
This is particularly attractive to today’s busy families. It also means one less activity to schedule months in advance around summer camps.
Exercise during the colder months
Children need to move and exercise year-round, but colder weather can limit opportunities during the winter months. Enter swim lessons.
A year-round program that meets 2-3 times per week gives your child one outlet for her energy and time for exercise. The idea of taking your child from the cold outdoors to swim inside may seem crazy. But most kids enjoy being in the water, even if there’s snow on the ground outside.
Being in the water and learning to swim is fun. Your child is certain to enjoy the activities and feel a sense of pride as he masters new skills.
While your young child is having fun, he’s also learning important social skills — taking turns, listening to the teacher, following directions, to name a few.
An added benefit is that once your child feels comfortable swimming, she’ll be able to participate in fun, water-centered activities with family and friends, such as visiting waterparks, going boating, or playing at a friend’s pool.
Calming for the brain
A benefit of swimming that is often overlooked is how calming swimming can be for the busy brain. This is particularly helpful for children who have sensory processing issues.
When a child is in the water, the water is constantly pushing against the body. This constant pushing requires the body to respond in what occupational therapists refer to as heavy work, which helps to calm the brain.
I’ve seen first-hand how swimming can help. My oldest son had several sensory processing issues in elementary school that often made the classroom a challenge. I saw a remarkable difference in his behavior after he started swimming (which I’ll have to share about more in a future blog post). Even today, as a teenager, he benefits from extended time in the pool.
Sign up for swimming lessons today
No matter what time of year you choose to sign up for swimming lessons, don’t delay giving your child the opportunity to learn this life-saving skill.
Swimming lessons aren’t about determining if your child is the next Michael Phelps. Swim lessons are about teaching your child how to be safe in and around water, whether that be a pool, lake, or ocean.
Children also learn how to be comfortable in the water, which opens up many more opportunities to have fun with friends and family. One day, if they decide competitive swimming is worth a shot, they’ll also reap the benefits that competitive swimming offers.
Author – Laura Healy
Laura Healy is a former collegiate swimmer, current swim team parent, and swim coach who’s passionate about sharing her love of competitive swimming with anyone who’ll listen. You can read more from Laura at goggles&flipturns