Swimming is a life skill that should be taught to all children. Many parents put their children’s swimming lessons on hold when summer ends. However, there is no real reason to suspend swimming lessons because the summer is over. Winter is the perfect time to get your kids in the pool to work on their swimming skills. There are a lot of benefits to enrolling your child in winter swimming lessons.
5 Benefits of Winter Swimming Lessons
Winter swimming lessons not only let children continue to build their skills, but they also let them build up those skills to be ready for summer when they are constantly in the pool and you are taking trips to the beach. Taking seasonal breaks from swimming lessons can actually set back a child’s progress. Children learn through repetition. Breaking the pattern of repetition puts them at risk of losing skills, creating the need to repeat levels of swimming lessons that they previously passed. It also puts them at risk of losing confidence in their swimming abilities.
Small Class Sizes
Once late spring rolls around, everyone and their playgroup are registering for swimming lessons. During the spring and summer months, programs often have higher class size ratios, especially city-funded programs that utilize government funding to operate their recreation department. During the winter, because so many people stop swim lessons, class sizes tend to be smaller so your child will get more individualized attention from the instructor.
Seasonal Staffing Changes
You may find that your child really clicks with a particular instructor that you may not have had the opportunity to work with during the summertime. In the winter, college students may be home for break and returning to teach evening swimming lessons for extra money, or a stay-at-home mom may be teaching daytime swimming lessons while her children are in preschool. That is the benefit of enrolling in group swimming lessons – the diversity of the instructors.
If you are interested in doing private swimming lessons at a public location, hours are typically easier to schedule because of an emptier pool and less daytime youth programming.
A Fresh and Clean Pool
During the busy summer months, the influx of people starts to put a strain on the pool. The filtration system works double-time trying to keep up with all the people in the pool. Since chlorine is used to clean the water, the more people that get in the pool, the more chlorine must be added to keep up. Pool chemicals are strictly monitored through certified personnel as well as the health department, keeping them at acceptable and healthy levels. However, you may notice that your local pool simply appears a bit dirtier, and possibly slightly cloudy during the summer months.
Pools are typically drained in the fall or early winter as part of routine annual maintenance, and other filtration maintenance is done annually as well, leaving the pool sparkly clean and the water refreshed in for those winter and early spring swimming lessons.
The aquatic staff like lifeguards, instructors, and pool assistants are usually the ones in charge of the basic pool and deck maintenance. The summer months leave aquatic staff with little time to complete their scheduled maintenance, as pool safety is their number one priority, so those basic maintenance tasks like vacuuming the pool and sweeping and hosing down the pool deck often have to be done quickly. The slower, less programmed winter months leave the staff with more time to complete these tasks, making the aquatic center a cleaner environment during the winter months.
Keeping Active in the Winter
Another benefit of winter swimming lessons is that it keeps your children active all year. Rather than being cooped up in the house during the colder winter months when the weather is often not ideal for a lot of outside play, winter swimming lessons let them burn off some energy. It also provides an opportunity for exercise, which they may not be getting as much of since they are likely not running around outside as much as in warmer months.
A Few Tips for Winter Swimming Lessons
A major concern for many parents in regards to winter swimming lessons is the weather. Many cities have indoor swimming pools as do many YMCAs in colder climates. The great thing about indoor pools is that the temperature is controlled and you will not freeze while watching your children learn how to do the breaststroke. Plus, your little ones will be able to change out of their wet swimsuits and get into dry clothes before heading back out into the cold. With a little investigating you can find a location and program that works for your family.
Cities in warmer climates may offer outdoor swimming lessons all year. If this is the case and you are worried about your little one getting chilly since the temperature is cooler, consider getting your child a wetsuit. Wetsuits are made out of neoprene and have two main functions -they offer 100% UV protection and they keep the person who is wearing it warm. The most important part of a body to keep warm is the chest/shoulder/arms area, which a wetsuit covers perfectly. There are versions with short sleeves and legs that allow for better movement in the water, which is vital for children, especially those learning to swim.
Another option that is perfect for children who chill easily during swim lessons, either indoors or outdoors, is a swim shirt. They are flexible and do not restrict movement, so they are perfect for swimming lessons. UV shirts, or rash guards, are typically made out of lycra and will help keep the sun off your child if they are swimming in an outdoor pool while keeping them warm during the chilly time in (and out of) the pool.
A long-sleeved option would be wonderful for a child who complains about getting chilly. There are also versions made from neoprene that are a little thicker and warmer than your typical “rash guard” style swim shirt. As a bonus, neoprene lasts much longer when exposed to chlorine, as opposed to lycra, so it will hold up longer and will not get stretched out or break down and get thinner.
Keeping your kiddos enrolled in swimming lessons this winter not only helps them keep up their swimming skills, but also keeps them active throughout the entire year. When kids work on their swimming skills over the winter, they will be expert swimmers by the time the outdoor pool reopens or you head to the beach on vacation.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Looking for some other activities to keep your kids busy this winter? Check out this article on Fun Indoor Activities for Kids Over the Holiday Break.