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Child Development & How to Get the Most Value out of Swim Lessons

One of the questions that parents ask the most frequently when enrolling their child in a swim program is “How long will it take my child to learn how to swim?”. The truth is, there is no universal answer to this question. When it comes to learning how to swim, there are many variables that will determine whether one’s child is going to learn quickly, learn at an average pace or whether they will be the slowest learner in the class. The most important thing to remember is that all children develop at different paces and to not compare one child’s rate of learning with another’s. Learning to swim with proper technique is a worthwhile skill that your child will benefit throughout their whole life time – so don’t rush it!

I know, I know you may be thinking “how much money will it cost before my child knows how to swim?” Well, there is no easy way to answer that question either; however, there are some things that parents can do to assure that they get the most value out of their child’s swim lessons and to help their child to develop into a skilled swimmer at a faster pace.

Get to the pool early
Getting to the pool with plenty of time to change and prepare for swim class helps to ease any anxiety a child has upon entering the pool. It also helps to keep them calm so they can remain 100% focused and engaged during their lesson. When parents are stressed because they are running late for their child’s class that stress more often than not will transfer to their child and affect their child’s performance in class. Be mindful of the time and the pay back will be a happier, more focused child during their lesson.

More time in the water
Whether it’s bath time, playing at the local pool or spending time at the beach. Have fun with your child in the water and encourage your little swimmer to show off some of their new swim skills. The more practice a child has outside of class the more energetic and excited that child will be about coming to their lesson. If maybe the weather is cold or you’re just having too difficult of a time getting away for some recreational fun in the water, consider enrolling your child in a 2nd of even a 3rd swim lesson per week. The more opportunities your child has to practice the better chance they will retain what they have learned and the faster they will progress.

Consistency is the key
With holidays, vacations and the occasional absence because a child is sick; it’s understandable that there will be some gaps between lessons. This is why when you do have some extra time, take advantage and schedule your child for some make-up classes. Don’t let your make-up classes accumulate, use them as you get them to remain consistent. Remember, as with any worthwhile skill the more practice your child gets the better they will be able to master it.

Don’t take a break over winter
Many parents have their child take a break from swim lessons over the winter months. This is a bad idea! Taking a break for several months’ only results in skill regression and a frustrated child who, upon their return in the spring or summer, has to go back to square one to re-learn skills that they previously mastered. Attending lessons on a consistent basis year- round will help a child stay confident with their skills and continue to grow into a better and stronger swimmer.

Let the teacher teach
It can be very tempting to interrupt lessons to correct your child’s behavior; reminding them to listen and learn or to suggest what they need to do in order to get whatever they are working on just right. You may even have advice for their instructor, like asking them to
push your child a little harder or test them to see if they are ready to move up another level. Believe it or not, these interruptions can often compromise the teacher-student relationship, resulting in a lack of confidence and trust, and ultimately slow down progress.
It is very important to let the bond between your child and their instructor develop. Their instructor is a trained professional who will finely tune a lesson program to make sure each individual child in class works towards their success. So parents relax and take a step back; if you do have questions or advice to share, make sure to wait towards the end of class, during free play time to express what you need to. This way the continuity of the lesson will not be broken, your child will continue to rely and maintain confidence in their instructor and you will be more satisfied because your child got the most out of their class time.

Learning to swim is an important skill that your child will get enjoyment from throughout their whole lifetime. It may take a while for them to perfect their technique; however, as a parent you will be rewarded with the comfort and security knowing that your child will eventually be equipped with the ability to stay safe in and around the water.

British Swim School Chicago offers premium water survival and swimming lessons for infants, toddlers, children and adults, starting at just 3 months old. We proudly serve the Chicago and North Shore communities of Hyde Park, Bronzeville, Bridgeport, Chinatown, the Loop, East Loop, West Loop, River North, Streeterville, Gold Coast, Uptown, Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Ravenswood, East Lakeview, Lakeshore East, Lincolnwood, Skokie, Niles, Evanston, Wilmette, Glenview and Morton Grove . Call (708) 613-5179 to enroll or you can also register for swimming lessons at

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