Swimming with Junior (Part Three) – Choosing a Swimming Instructor

Baby swimming in pool

It’s advised that you get your baby active in the pool at the earliest opportunity. Taking charge yourself is not the worst thing you can do, but by far, the best option available is to get them enrolled in structured swimming lessons led by a professional at your local swimming pool.

I say structured because this is very important to them developing a happy relationship with water and actually learning to swim. They will need to be comfortable with you helping them too, and not look at you with horror every time you try to dunk them under the water, and unless you yourself are a swimming instructor, you will want the confidence given to you by a certified professional that you are doing well too, and to make sure that they learn, not just to sing nursery rhyme in the water, but actually learn to how swim.

In my capacity as a regular at out local adult & baby classes, I can tell you that there is one other incredibly important aspect to consider, and that is consistency. When we began, it was all very exciting, and Junior was only 3 months old so you can imagine that we were a long way off from anything resembling the butterfly. A very experience female instructor conducted the lessons in the hot spa area of our local sports facility, and I have to say that I was very impressed. Impressed with everything but my singing which I have been working on over the months… The swimming instructor was loud (that’s good by the way), confident, experienced, and Junior took a shine to her instantly making both of us very happy. There had clearly been a lot of thought put into the lesson, and I also felt that we, as parents had made the right decision.

At key stages in your baby’s development, they will suddenly, and unwittingly change their opinions on certain actions. Being placed on their back is an ever-present reminder of this, so any instructor worth their salt would have a solution for this.

We had the same instructor for a good couple of months, before sadly she had to leave, and things were not the same. She did set the bar very high so the parents’ expectations were already set, and there were few instructors that were up to this standard. A handful was good, bringing with them a familiar structure, but in some, confidence and a desire to teach was lacking. Asking the parents what they would like to do is not what you pay for. You pay them to run the sessions, and you should expect to be satisfied by their level of competence, leaving the lesson with a sense of achievement. Each of these instructors had their own method when describing different actions too. An example of this would be while teaching baby to reach for a toys to get them used to stretching forward, some would say ‘stretch’, others ‘scoop’ or ‘paddle, paddle, paddle’. This may not sound like a problem, but familiarity in instructions is as important as the regularity in which the lessons are attended. This is especially important when they are very young if they are to make good progress.

Keeping the same instructor will benefit Junior’s progress immensely, as they will know how your baby reacts to certain instructions. More importantly, what they are capable of and at what stage they are in there progress without having to relearn baby’s level of attention and their physical capabilities. At key stages in your baby’s development, they will suddenly, and unwittingly change their opinions on certain actions. Being placed on their back is an ever-present reminder of this, so any instructor worth their salt would have a solution for this. One of the more recent instructors was absolutely amazing, introducing a swaying motion as a distraction, and I was amazed at how simple quickly Junior relaxed and even stared kicking while on her back for the first time!

Best advice, go to your local pool and try them out. Individual lessons aren’t terribly expensive, but it’s worth asking if there is a trial lesson you can attend. Be wary of terms based block bookings, as you’ll pay upfront. If you are not satisfied with the progress your baby is making or the way the swimming instructor approaches each lesson, talk to them. They’re providing a service after all, and they should welcome comments so as to continually improve.

Don’t forget your swimming nappies…

Big Daddy


Photo accreditation: Stephen Curtin (flickr)

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One thought on “Swimming with Junior (Part Three) – Choosing a Swimming Instructor

  1. Lovely post! It’s so important for children to learn how to swim, and a large part of that is choosing the right swim instructor. You should research and consider all of your options before choosing a swim instructor for your child. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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