If you’re reading this post, you’re likely trying to decide SOMETHING about swim lessons for your child. Maybe you’re not sure when the time is right to start lessons, or maybe you’re curious about what lessons look like at SwimWest. No matter your reasons, this is a great place to start as you choose the right swim class for your child!
There are a LOT of things to consider when you’re choosing a swim program. For some families, it may be enough to take summer swim lessons at the local pool. For others, swimming year round or learning specific safety and swim techniques will require a more specialized program.
My family moved to the Madison area when my son was barely a year old. We didn’t know many people and wanted to get involved in some activities, so we signed up for the Parent-Tot class at SwimWest. This decision has carried us forward to today (8 years later!) and now we have two kids that are confident, agile swimmers who love the pool!
As your family considers which program is best for your own kids, here are a few factors to keep in mind:
- Location. Finding a pool within a reasonable distance may end up being important if you find your kids LOVE to swim the way mine do. We spend a LOT of time swimming, and with school and other activities we don’t have a ton of time in the evening. For us it was important to find a program we liked within a short drive of our house.
- Teacher. My kids LOVE their teachers at SwimWest. They build a relationship with them, laugh together, learn from them and truly respect them. I love the importance SwimWest places on building those relationships, and finding a teacher that is a good fit for your child can make a world of difference in their interest, motivation and desire to swim. If you find one teacher isn’t “clicking” with your child, try someone new!
- Class size. We have tried taking lessons at other places over the summer, but the class sizes were huge and it didn’t feel like my child was able to progress. Keeping class sizes around 3 or 4 for younger kids is a huge bonus at SwimWest – it lets the instructor get to know them better, gives them more time to work on their skills and it’s much less overwhelming for kids.
- Level. How do you know which level to sign up for? Each pool has their own process for leveling children, but finding that “sweet spot” is important for helping your child feel comfortable and progress in the water.
- Pool. Some kids may be fine in colder water, but others may prefer (and do better!) in warmer water. My son HATED cold water as a baby and toddler and never wanted to swim in the public pool because he got too cold – even on hot summer days! SwimWest has warm water that made a big difference for my little guy. These small things can make or break a child’s experience with lessons.
- Safety/Training. How have the instructors been trained? What do they do to teach kids water safety? One thing I love about SwimWest is they offer “Safety Week”, where kids can try swimming with life jackets, practice rescuing with pool noodles and learn other safety techniques. My family loves being in and around the water, so learning those critical safety skills was a huge draw for us at SwimWest. In addition, knowing the instructors take safety seriously makes me feel confident while my kids are in the water.
- Cost. Obviously cost is a factor in any extracurricular activities you choose for your kids – and those activities can add up quickly! We have tried less expensive swim programs in the past and have found they were not a good fit for our kids. Many times those classes were taught by very young instructors that may or may not enjoy working with children. They were crowded and my kids weren’t able to progress. We made the choice to spend a bit more per lesson at SwimWest because we felt the cost/benefit was worth it – and there’s no question my kids love to swim because of their experience. They’ve learned SO much, gained confidence and become strong, proficient swimmers.
There are likely MANY other factors that will influence your decisions when it comes to signing up for swim lessons, but these are a few that made a big difference to my family. If you’re interested in learning more about SwimWest or signing up for a trial class, call our front desk at 608.831.6829.