When you’re investing time, energy and money into helping your child learn how to swim, it’s only natural to want to make sure you’re doing it “right.” Are you supporting your little one enough emotionally throughout the process? Did you choose the right school, or instructor? Are you encouraging a love of – and respect for – water outside of swim class? Among all these questions is also the matter of frequency. Many parents assume that one lesson per week is enough, while others believe more is better. Here’s our perspective, filtered through our knowledge of child development and experience from seeing hundreds of kids go through our program.
Consistency is Number One
Children are creatures of habit, and find security in having things repeated (as you’ve probably noticed after hearing the word “again!” shouted with glee over and over about the same activity). When learning to swim, there’s also a strong case for repetition as it can help enforce the swim skills being taught and increase muscle memory.
But even above frequency on the priority list for little swimmers should be consistency. If you can commit to two or three swim classes or private sessions per week, your child’s swimming ability, comfort, progress and retention of skills are sure to be accelerated. But if you find your schedule regularly causes you to skip class (or feel overwhelmed), start with one class per week and pledge to show up every time. Then, you can add in another weekly class and make the same pledge. This will help your child have the consistency they need, and hopefully lead into multiple classes per week for ultimate swimming mastery.
Swim Year Round
There’s a misconception out there about an optimal swim class “season.” We’ve heard parents say that they only bring their kids in the spring and summer, since it’s too cold during other times of the year. Or, we hear spring and summer is when they’ll be spending the most time around pools and water parks. But skipping a few weeks or months at a time can be really detrimental to your child learning how to swim.
Again, swimming lessons for kids are only truly successful when the kids are coming to classes regularly. A month or two away from class might seem like an eternity to a child, and it also can result in lost muscle memory, lost (or reduced) skills and a setback in comfort around water entirely. The beauty of taking class at an indoor swimming pool is that weather doesn’t have to have any bearing on whether or not your little ones can keep learning to swim. They can swim year round, consistently, and have a great deal to show for it.
Make it Personal
Lastly, it’s always important to remember individualization when it comes to child development. An average child will most likely flourish in swim classes or private sessions two or three times per week. But if you or your little one has a packed schedule and aren’t able to maintain that many classes, you know your child best and should always go at their pace. When they are comfortable and confident, their developmental skills will soar!
So when you think about child development and swimming lessons for kids, it’s important to remember that consistency – and frequency – go a long way. The general rule is that the more your child can attend classes, the faster they’ll progress and retain what they’re learning. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our swim programs.