Thanks to SafeSplash Swim School for giving us a complimentary month of swim lessons for our review.
Pool safety is an important topic to start learning at a very young age. My little boy is 17 months old and loves to splash in the tub. When he was 9 months old we flew out to visit my parents in California, and he absolutely loved playing in their community pool inside a float. Now, I think he is old enough to start taking swim lessons and learning some early swimming skills so he can be safe and continue to enjoy any pool time. I was excited to get a chance to try out a month of SafeSplash Swim School swim lesson classes for Baby H and share our experience with my readers.
Since my little man is, well, little, his swim lesson is a parent-and-child lesson where I get in the pool with him, and he gets to splash me. Our first lesson was a bit of a shock to him since he hasn’t been in a pool in a long time and it normally takes him a bit of time to warm up to anything new. He cried at first and clung to me so tight. Even to my hair! That was interesting. But soon he remembered how much he loves water and really started getting into the lesson.
The goals of these beginner lessons are to blow bubbles under water (instead of drinking or inhaling the pool water), to kick his feet and scoop his arms to swim, to monkey climb along the ledge, and then to climb out of the pool. We practiced these activities at each lesson, and if I had regular access to a pool, I would practice these skills with him outside the class as well.
We couldn’t get him to blow bubbles into the water at all. It isn’t a skill he has learned yet at home either, so that is something we need to work on. He was pretty good with kicking in the water, not so great with scooping his hands or paddling, but kicking while holding onto me or a flotation device was something he enjoyed.
He did the best with climbing. I was so impressed with how quickly he took to climbing around the pool and out of the pool. That was one thing he learned to do quickly when the instructor was showing him. But this little boy loves to climb things he shouldn’t around the house, so climbing around the pool was just perfect for him.
I liked our instructors, and the size of the class was small. There was just one other child in the class, a boy a year older than mine, so he followed directions quite a bit better. There was one swim instructor in the pool with us, showing us what to do with our children, and one sitting on the outside to help with the climbing out of the pool activities.
We both really enjoyed the class as a whole, and even though it will take some time for Baby H to follow the directions he is given and learn all the skills, just splashing around the pool has been great for him.
But getting him out of the pool at the end of the class? Well, that’s quite a different story. The swim lessons are 30 minutes and when class was over, my little fish refused to get out of the pool! We would practice climbing out as the last thing, and after I climbed out, he would just try to climb back in. The poor little guy got so upset at the end of every class, and carrying at wet, thrashing and howling fuss-monster around the pool and through the gym was uncomfortable.
Our closest SafeSplash Swim School location is about a 25-minute drive away and is located inside an LA Fitness gym. While we do not have access to the gym itself, we can use the locker room bathrooms to change and access the pool. I would dress us in our swimming clothes at home but after the class, we would need to change into dry clothes. This is where it got complicated, since changing Baby H is not an easy task at home and changing him in a regular bathroom (not on a changing station) was quite a challenge. Then I had to change myself and keep him from running off or touching things. So, the end portion of the lessons was a bit on the stressful side.
So while Baby H was learning pool safety and some valuable skills, I too learned a few things. First, I learned I need to become really good friends with people with a pool and give this boy of mine a lot more opportunities for practice and enjoyment of the water on his own time. Second, I learned I definitely need a second pair of hands when taking this one to swim lessons. He is still young, so maybe we’ll have an easier time of it in a year or so, but also it is difficult to do everything with it just being me. My Mom visited me from California one week during our month of swim lessons, and she’s the one that took those lovely photos of us! Having her help dress and hold the little hurricane while I changed was amazing. So I may need to find a friend to take the class with me, so we can take turns helping each other, or wait until my husband returns from active duty.
Despite my little fuss monster causing me trouble, I still really enjoyed the classes and definitely see their benefit for my son. Teaching my child to swim is important to me and I want to raise my son to continue to enjoy the water safely. I absolutely recommend the SafeSplash Swim School so if you’re thinking of starting your child(ren) in swim lessons, I encourage you to check them out. They offer military discounts, which you know makes me happy, and are helpful and accommodating.
And since we’re talking about swimming, here’s a great infographic about swim safety!
Pool Safety Checklist provided by Little Otter Swim School