Swim Lesson for Toddlers
When you contemplate signing your child up for a swim lesson for toddlers, you may think each organization offers the same thing. While their goals may be similar, how they run their business can vary drastically.
Instead of simply considering the overall cost, schedule, and the proximity to your home, think about the other factors you might find important once you commit. Today we are going to discuss the 10 questions you want to ask before you sign your child up for a swim lesson for toddlers. Let’s get started.
1. How often are lessons and for how long?
If you are a mom who is juggling a lot but is carving out time for your child to try out a swim lesson for toddlers, this question is very important.
Some swim lessons are 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week over the course of two weeks.
With a high frequency/short duration, you want to consider the time it takes for you to get your toddler dressed/undressed, knowing the class is only 10 minutes and you’re going to be doing this for 5 consecutive days.
If it takes you 30 minutes to get your child dressed, buckled in the car, and over to the pool; and another 30 minutes to get them back into clean clothes and home again, you might have strong feelings about whether 10 minutes worth of pool time is worth the 60 minutes of effort it takes.
If you tend to always be running late, you run the risk of completely missing the class altogether. Keep in mind, you’re going to have to be on time five days a week so you might have to come up with a different strategy to keep you on time.
Now, if the class is offered once a week for 30 minutes, do you think your toddler can stay focused for 30 minutes? Even more importantly, do they like water? 30 minutes in an environment that you’re not comfortable in can be…exhausting.
Do you think your toddler will be constantly popping out of the pool, trying to escape when it’s not their turn to practice? Or are you fairly confident that they will be engaged, growing accustomed to their new environment?
There are lots of factors to consider and by now you know that toddlers can be unpredictable.
Ask the company if they offer a free trial class, and you’ll have a better idea of what might work best for you and your child.
2. What is the teacher:student ratio?
When considering the ideal swim lesson for toddlers, you want to consider the teacher:student ratio.
Some companies offer a swim lesson for toddlers class with a ratio of 1:5. While the teacher is working with one student, the other 4 students are hanging on the wall in the pool, or sitting on the side of the pool with their legs dangling in the water.
But keep in mind, you might have a class of 10 toddlers and 2 teachers. Do you find that class size ideal for your toddler or do you think they would be distracted by the other kids around them?
You could consider private lessons, which are more expensive but may get your child closer to their swimming goals.
The 10 minute classes that were previously discussed are private lessons and if you have a friend (or two), you could always arrange for a small semi-private lesson to keep the costs down.
Because most swim class schedules are available online, you can always sign up for a class that is not at capacity. This is a good strategy if your goal is for your toddler to have a more personalized experience without the added cost of private lessons.
3. Is this a parent-child class?
Many facilities structure their toddler classes around age.
You may discover that a swim lesson for toddlers under three require a parent (or any adult, really) in the water with them; whereas toddlers who are three can take the class by themselves, giving you plenty of opportunities to snap some photos.
If you (or another adult) need to be in the water with your toddler, just factor in the extra time it takes to get you into/out of a bathing suit; as well as back into regular clothes for the drive home.
It’s also important information to have because if you have another child with you who isn’t taking swim lessons but requires supervision, you’re going to have to make arrangements for them to be watched while you’re in the pool.
4. Is this class taking place in an indoor pool or outdoor pool?
Your child’s experience with a swim lesson for toddlers can vary depending on the pool environment.
If the swim lesson for toddlers takes place indoors, you’ll never be concerned about getting rained on or returning to find your bag soaking wet.
But the sounds in/around the pool may be amplified because it is indoors, making it hard to hear the instructor. On a cloudy day, the pool area could be dark/grey due to lack of sunlight.
If the swim lesson for toddlers takes place outdoors, where you chose to sit to observe the lesson becomes quite important. If there are no shaded seating areas available, you might find yourself burnt to a crisp.
Your toddler might get sun in their eyes when they’re practicing floating belly up in the water, if their face is pointed towards the sun’s rays.
On the flip side, having an outdoor swim lesson is perfect when you want your child to lay on their back and focus on something in the sky. Clouds and planes flying above make great focal points for easily distracted toddlers.
5. How do I go about rescheduling due to inclement weather?
Inclement weather does happen and your swim lesson for toddlers can be cancelled if thunder or lightning is observed.
Find out how you will be notified if your swim lesson for toddlers is cancelled. Will they call you? Must you call them?
Also, find out what their rescheduling policy is. Do you have to make up the class in the same week? Or can you make it up at any point in time during the session?
Can you just show up to any available class or are you only able to attend a class that isn’t at capacity?
This is also a good opportunity to understand if you call the facility, are you speaking to someone on-site or at another location?
Unbeknownst to me, I’ve enrolled my toddler in swim schools that utilized a call center. I would call when the weather looked questionable to find out if class was still being held. The people at the call center never knew what the weather was at the pool since they weren’t there; and oftentimes, they couldn’t reach the aquatics director to find out. 🤷🏾♀️
6. What criteria do you use to determine if a class will be cancelled due to weather?
This is a really important question to ask before you purchase a swim lesson for toddlers because it varies by facility.
For example, you might have a facility that closes the pool for 30 minutes the moment thunder or lightning is observed. Every additional instance of thunder or light night resets the 30 minute clock.
In those situations, they might not cancel the class until a few minutes before class starts, meaning you could already be there just to find out it is cancelled. Trust me, that’s frustrating.
You might have a facility that uses a weather app to predict when a thunderstorm in the area may come through. In those situations, classes might be cancelled in advance, ahead of the storm.
At the end of the day you want to be safe. But knowing ahead of time that a class is canceled causes less disruption to your day versus arriving and finding out a class is cancelled after you spent 20 minutes wrangling your toddler in their car seat.
7. Do you offer make up classes?
We alluded to this just a bit ago but it’s great to gain clarity on the facility’s policy.
Specifically, what happens when the make up swim lesson for toddlers is cancelled due to inclement weather?
Do you offer a make up class for EVERY class that is cancelled or only offer a make up class for every OTHER class that is cancelled?
Here’s why this is important. I recently enrolled my kids in a swim session that was eight classes over the course of 2 weeks. I was so excited that they would get so much time in the pool!
But due to thunderstorms, only four classes took place. (However, we drove to the pool eight times because they didn’t cancel classes until minutes before they were due to start.)
One of the make up classes was also cancelled due to thunderstorms. I share all that with you to remind you to manage your expectations and know that you can only control things within your control. 😉
8. Would my toddler prefer to be in the water multiple times a week or just once?
You’ll have a better idea of what swim lesson for toddlers might be best for your toddler if they have been in swim class before. But even if they haven’t, what have you observed when they are at the beach, lake, or even in the bathtub?
Do they cry when you remove them from the water or are they begging to get out the moment you put them in?
Let that be your guide but again, before you spend your money, see if there is a trial class you can attend.
9. What skills will my toddler gain from this class?
This is a great question to manage expectations.
Perhaps the goal of the swim lesson for toddlers is to teach your child to feel comfortable in the water.
Maybe the goal of the swim lesson for toddlers is to teach your child to float on their back if they fall in the water.
Another goal could be for your toddler to learn the freestyle stroke. But you’ll never know what the teacher’s goals are until you ask, so ask!
10. If my toddler has mastered this class, can they move on to the next level?
Earlier we discussed that at many facilities, the structure of a swim lesson for toddlers is designed based on their age.
If you have a toddler that has been in the water since birth, and is significantly more advanced in the water than their peers, you want to find out if they have to stay in their current class or if they can advance to the preschool class.
If they have to stay in their current class, you might find that they might get bored quickly, so consider saving up for semi-private or private lessons.
Final Thoughts on Questions to Ask Before Buying a Swim Lesson for Toddlers
Whew! We’ve covered a lot. You’re considering buying a swim lesson for toddlers.
But first…observe your toddler the next time they visit a lake, beach, or bathtub.
Do they want to stay in the water for hours? Or are they begging to get out?
Use their behavior as your guide to determine what type of class might be best for them.
Then, start doing your research. Find some facilities in your area. Visit those facilities and get your questions answered. And lastly, ask about a free trial class.
Even if the trial class isn’t free, it is better than investing a lot of money in a large number of classes that your toddler may not like.
Have fun! 💦
Swim Classes for Babies
Have a baby? Read this post to find out all the benefits swimming offers on early childhood development!