When the summer months leave, and the temperatures start dropping, people will often put their child's swimming lessons on hold until it gets warmer. However, we're here to give you some inside tips and tricks of the trade, hopefully enticing you to keep those kids enrolled in swimming lessons year round!
It's important to remember that swimming is a life skill that should be taught to all children. Taking extended seasonal breaks can set a child back, and in today's world of available equipment it is actually unnecessary. In fact, a key factor of how children (and adults!) learn is through repetition. Breaking the pattern of repetition may have them repeating levels that they previously passed, or losing skills or confidence.
So you've made the decision to brave the elements with your child to keep them in a progressive swimming program? There are actually some added benefits to doing so.
Class sizes are typically significantly smaller:
- Once the late spring rolls around, everyone and their playgroup is registering for swimming lessons. Many programs available also have higher class sized ratios, especially city-funded programs that utilize government funding to operate their recreation department. If you're lucky enough to live in a city that also has indoor swimming pools available for year round programming, take advantage of it! Most YMCA's in colder climates also have indoor pools as well, offering year round lessons. Do some investigating in your city and find the right location and program that work for your family.
Seasonal staffing changes:
- The aquatic instruction world is usually a younger generation, many of whom are high school students, or 20-somethings. College students may be returning to teach evening swim lessons for more money, or the stay-at-home mom may come back to teaching daytime lessons while her children are in preschool. That's the benefit of enrolling in group swimming lessons: the diversity of the instructors. 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.
- If you're only interested in doing private lessons at a public location, hours are typically easier to schedule because of an emptier pool and less daytime youth programming.
The pool and surrounding areas may be maintained better:
- During the busy summer months, the influx of people starts to put a strain on the pool. The filtration systems work double-time, trying to keep up with the additional bather numbers. Since chlorine is used as a chemical to clean the water, the more people that get in the pool, the more chlorine (or other cleaning agent) must be added. That means that the water holds more organic and inorganic substances. Pool chemicals are all 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. A pool is drained down in either the fall, or early spring, as an annual maintenance, and other filtration maintenance is done annually as well, leaving the pool sparkly clean and the water refreshing.
- Aquatic staff (lifeguards, instructors, pool assistants) are usually the ones in charge of basic pool and deck maintenance, such as vacuuming the pool, sweeping and hosing the pool deck, etc. The summer months leave aquatic staff with little to no downtime to complete their scheduled maintenance, as pool and patron safety are their number one priority. The slower, less programmed winter months will leave the staff with more time to complete these tasks, making the aquatic center a cleaner environment in many (and most) cases.
Hopefully we've convinced you to keep your child in swimming lessons year round. A major concern for many parents though is the weather. If you're swimming at an outdoor facility that stays open for year round programming, know that there are some products available on the market today that will keep your child protected from the elements.
Wet-suits are made out of neoprene. They serve two functions, 100% UV protection as well as keeping the person wearing them warm. These 3mm thick wetsuits from Konfidence are a favorite pick, because of the vibrant colors, and the made-for-children style.
The important part of a body to keep warm is the chest/shoulder/arms area, and this shorty-style wetsuit does just that. The short legs and sleeves allow for better movement in the water, which is vital for children.
It's easy to zip on and off, and perfect for a chilly day on the beach, or in the pool.
Note: Neoprene is a more buoyant material, so sometimes it allows children the ability to float easier. Making sure they periodically experience the water sans-wetsuit is important.
We adore this neoprene shirt from Konfidence. It is 1mm thick, and perfect for those children that chill easily during swim lessons, either indoors or outdoors. It's flexible, and doesn't allow for much movement restriction or extra buoyancy. It's a bit thicker, and warmer than your typical "rash guard" type swim shirt. As a bonus, neoprene lasts much longer when exposed to chlorine, as opposed to lycra, so it will hold up much longer and won't get stretched out, or start to break down and get thinner.
UV shirts, or rash guards, are typically made out of lycra, and will help keep the sun off your child, and keep them warmer during the chilly time in the pool. These long sleeve sunsuits from Konfidence would be a wonderful option for your baby, toddler, or preschooler who struggles with remaining warm during swimming lessons. Or, if they don't enjoy the full suit option, just a UV shirt is available, which will also trap in their body heat more.
The roll & go babychanger is a genius product because public changing tables can be downright icky - especially in a damp aquatic environment. The one side will be clean and sanitary for your baby, while the other side won't slip or slide, because of the grippers, while you're in the locker room.
A reusable swim diaper is a much more economical choice if you're going to be in the water with your baby or toddler regularly. Many public pools also require "plastic pants" to be used overtop of disposable swim diapers as well.
Whatever choice you make, we hope that it involves aquatic training and education with your child as much as possible. We'll see you at the pool!
For more aquatic tips, check out this post on How To: Introduce Your Child To A Swimming Pool
Photo Credits: The City of North Charleston