I tried the lessons with my kids when they were young. My daughter was in when she was 5 months old and the class was a chore. I had to dress her and myself without her licking the floors at the pool – get her in the water and try to get her over her fear of the cold water and it always ended in her thinking it was a perfect time to breastfeed. It was not enjoyable so I took a break. I tried again when she was 2.5 years old and my son was 6 months. Daddy and I went in a parented class and I was almost drowned by my daughter clinging for dear life to my neck the entire class. Again not enjoyable! But I persist. If there’s 2 things that I think Canadian kids should learn to be comfortable with (whether they enjoy it is another matter!) it is swimming and skating.
So we tried again. I now have her in an un-parented preschool swim class Saturday mornings. I love it. Not sure yet that she does but I actually am enjoying the classes now! I take her in and once she’s in her life jacket toddling along behind the teacher I take my place up in the stands. She’s timid but she listens to the teacher which is good. The class seems to be geared to getting them comfortable standing by the pool side and being able to get in and out of the water. This is important, especially for a girl who had a fear of the water. She’s so proud of herself. The teacher holds her while she does a back float and although she’s in a life jacket and holding the teacher very tightly – this is huge for her! I am happy with the City of Calgary’s Learn to Swim – Preschool 1 class and recommend it especially for those nervous in the water. We take ours at Killarney Pool. It is a nice sized pool with a lane pool (deep enough for the kids to not be able to touch the bottom but up to your chest for adults) and a kiddie pool (up to the kids’ waists). Saturday mornings at 9:30 are a nice quiet time as well with 2 other preschool classes going on as well as a deep water workout (adult class) so the change rooms are not chaotic and the pool isn’t too loud.
And now that she passed Preschool 1 we are signed up to take Preschool 2. Who knows, maybe one day soon she’ll be able to swim with me at the family cottage.
Danielle is mom to a 4 year old daughter and (almost) 2 year old son and always looking for fun things to do with the kids. She blogs at Four Days Home.