When you get to the pool on your first day of lessons, feel free to head back to the pool area a couple minutes before lessons start. Your instructor will probably be wrapping up the previous lesson and talking to the family who is picking up their child. Take this time to encourage your child to use the restroom or wait on the stairs/deck until it is your turn. After your instructor is done with the previous lesson, they will head over to the deck to talk to you and your child. The instructor will probably encourage your child to get in the water before talking to you. This gives them time to cuddle (if it’s a little one) or get used to the water before starting the lesson. Take this opportunity to ask any questions that have arisen since you last had the opportunity to ask. After addressing your questions and concerns, the lesson will begin!!!
What to Bring/Do Before Lessons!
- Swim Suit
- Snacks (for AFTER lessons)
- Swim Diapers for those not potty trained
- Please Double Diaper! Have your child wear one disposable and one reusable swim diaper. Thank you
- Warm clothes to change into!
- Please do not feed your child for 3-5 hours before their lesson. If you must feed them please feed them easily digested foods such as applesauce and avoid dairy products.
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early to prepare for your lesson!
What Should You Expect DURING the lesson?
First day lessons are a lot less about teaching than they are about gaging the child’s comfort level in the water and with various skills.
- For infants and toddlers this usually involves going under the water a couple of times to see how they react (do they blow bubbles, do they swallow water, are they particularly bothered by water in their eyes, do they like it, do they find it scary, how easily can they be calmed down after doing something scary?).
- After a small break, the instructor will then spend some time holding the child on their back with their ears in the water. This is the backfloat position that will be the focus of following lessons, but many kids find it uncomfortable at first. The first lesson gives the instructor an opportunity to see what the child’s initial reaction to backfloats might be (are they annoyed by the water in their ears, do they go stiff or curl up because they feel uncomfortable, are they wiggly and have a hard time holding still, do they get bored easily?).
- For older children, first day lessons are varied based on comfort and previous swim experience. The instructor will probably have your child start with the same things mentioned above, they will assess how comfortable the child is going underwater and how they feel on their backfloat. However, if an older child is showing a higher comfort/skill level, the instructor might have them attempt the backfloat by themselves, work on rolling to their backfloat, or even have them jump into the water and get to their backfloat. This is mainly to see what they are comfortable with trying already and not to push them toward skills.
- Important to Note: Crying is very common, especially at young ages. It can be difficult for little kids to understand why they have to do things that are scary or uncomfortable in order to reach a good end result. However, the first lesson isn’t about pushing them toward that end goal, it is about finding out what the future obstacles might be. For this reason, the instructor will probably spend a considerable amount of time comforting and holding your little one in between skills and play a lot with toys at the end.
You can stay in the pool area during lessons, hang out in the front room, or leave and come back if you need to. Regardless, try to make yourself available for the last five minutes of the first lesson. This will give the instructor time to pass on what they learned during the lesson and give you more information on how you can expect lessons to progress from there. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions about what you saw during the lesson. When the lesson is complete, you will collect your child by the ladder near the bathroom. Because of the limited space in our facility, we ask that you try to change and leave quickly to avoid congestion. Quick transitions between groups will also better allow our staff to wipe down bathrooms and high-touch surfaces between uses.