July 22, 2008,
L.O. asks from Midlothian, IL on July 20, 2008
Hi everyone! I figured that this was the place to get the best information about personal experiences that you have had with swim lessons. My son is 19 months old and really loves the water. He kicks and tries to get away from me, but he cannot swim by himself yet. I am looking to get him into lessons, but I have no experience. I live in Crestwood. Thanks in advance!
B.W. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2008
I think the best place I have found is Bolingbrook park disrict. I live in Palos HIlls and drive all the way there because I like it so much./ My son is now 1 and we started over this past winter. They have a curriculum and goals are clearly stated in the beginning. Goals are strived for each session and what is to be achieved at the next session is clearly stated at the end of each lesson. Well worth the money and better than any water acclimation class where songs are just sung in the water with the baby. Of course, unless that is what you are looking for. If you have any specific questions, I would be more than happy to address.
V.L. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2008
I think it's great that you want to ge your son into swimming lessons, but about the only thing you can do for him right now is sign up for mom & tot classes. I am a swim instructor, and most children under 3 don't have the coordination to swim independently in the water. More importantly, they don't have the sense to understand the dangers of water. I have seen, time and time again, overly proud parents because their 2-year old can do a "doggy paddle" or retrieve toys off of stairs or even in the shallow end. At two, there is no sense of fear. What often happens is they don't understand that they need to come up for air, and take in water and come up choking and terrified. If this happens, it can take years to get your child comfortable in the water again. I have seen this happen and I have spoken to many parents who have experienced this.
Bottom line is go to the mom & tot classes to keep your child comfortable in the water. If you go to a pool party or public pool/beach where there are alot of kids and you can't spend the whole time in the water with him, keep a vest on him at all times if you are afraid he will get away from you. And don't take it on and off of him when you are at the pool, because he may forget that he doesn't have it on and jump in. However, if you do this it is VERY important that on other days you spend one-on-one time swimming with him without his vest so that he doesn't become dependent on it.
Park districts and many high schools have swim programs that are very affordable. Some are better than others so you'll have to ask around. But the HS's all keep their water temperatures fairly cool for their swim & water polo teams. The Y, if you have one close has excellent programs as well. You can also check local health clubs, such as Lifetime Fitness and Palo Health & Fitness.
Ideally, you'll want ratios of 4-5 students or less per instructor. You also should watch a lesson before signing up. That way you can see how involved the director is--if he/she is watching the instructors or not. Often the instructors are HS or college students and if the director is not around, they can tend to chit chat more with other instructors and just go through the motions with their students.
S.T. answers from Chicago on July 20, 2008
It's been a while for my boys but we went to the YMCA. I don't remember a bunch about it but my boys loved it. They are now like fish out of water. Also, just yesterday I was at Walgreens and they have swim shorts and matching top with a life jacket built in. That with water wings helps them be more indapendant in the water.
G.L. answers from Chicago on July 22, 2008
Try the Crestwood Recreation Center. I believe for your son's age they offer parent/child water bonding. I enrolled my daughter at 13 months and we both enjoyed it! Your son will get a chance to get used to the water, they have several floating devices (although you will never leave him alone in the water), and different toys to play with to make being in the water a pleasant experience. They have a very nice facility and several instructors on hand. Here is the website:
V.H. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2008
Do you have a Lifetime Fitness anywhere in the area? They have great swim lessons through U swim.
M.C. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2008
I used to teach swimming lessons and believe it's the best thing you can do for your child! Look into the YMCA, as they are usually fun for the kids. My number one choice is a pricier option, but well worth it. It is called Foss Swim School and the only one around here is at Lifetime Fitness in Orland Park. I used to teach at a Foss school, but in Minnesota. They are EXCELLENT!! You won't find better instruction anywhere, but like I said, it is pricey. The bottom line is to get your child started early so they don't have a chance to get scared and not want to go in at all. We've done the YMCA in Hammond for two different sessions with my now 2 year old and I don't have complaints. (we started lessons with him at 8 months old) Good luck!!