If you’re about to skip this story because it’s getting cold out, and you think you don’t need swim lessons until the summertime, let me stop you right there. Now is the ideal time to sign up for swim lessons to ensure your child will have the swim safety know-how to navigate the pool when warmer months come back around.
If you’re ready to sign your little ones up for swim lessons, there are various competing swim schools with different offerings. We’re here to help you determine what attributes are most important so you can find the best swim school for your family.
Now is the ideal time to sign up for swim lessons to ensure your child will have the swim safety know-how to navigate the pool when warmer months come back around.
As the mom of two toddlers, I started swim lessons last winter. We chose British Swim School, a premier learn-to-swim provider with lessons for people of all ages—beginning at 3 months old! They helped us get our feet wet, so to speak, in the world of safer swimming. I have to admit, the British Swim School in my area had such a warm and individualized feel that I didn’t realize there were over 200 locations across the country. If you’re seeking a swim school for your little one, I recommend checking them out.
And if you still feel in the dark about what to look for in a swim school, we’ve partnered with British Swim School to help shed light on the big things you need to know.
Their learning-to-swim philosophy and approach
Consider what you’re hoping to get out of the lessons. Then, make sure that the school is focused on the same thing. For example, British Swim School uses a survival-first approach, where they start by teaching basic survival skills before teaching stroke techniques. The instructors want to ensure that swimmers have the skills that if they were to fall into the water accidentally, they would be able to survive.
Yes, I’d love for my child to have an award-winning freestyle stroke someday. However, the first step is ensuring she knows what to do to safely get herself to the side of the pool. This was an important focus for me, so I knew I wanted a school that emphasized swim safety. If your child is new to the water, this is a great place to start, so you can rest assured that your child can be safer near the water.
Teaching methods and general vibe
I know that not everyone is into gentle parenting. However, it was important for me to find people that share a similar perspective on parenting, even if it’s in a 30-minute swim lesson. British Swim School makes learning swim safety fun and comfortable with a gentle teaching method. I do not need an intense drill sergeant coach for my kids—not right now anyways, but talk to me again when we’re navigating high school sports. It’s something to think about when selecting a swim school and your instructors.
It can be hard to know an instructor’s personality before you jump in, so consider asking questions about the style of teaching. Perhaps, ask if you can observe a lesson before signing up. We ended up with a wonderful teacher who my daughter absolutely adored, and it really made the sessions fun. And for the sessions where she cried through most of the lesson (toddlers, IYKYK), the instructor was still supportive and understanding.
Swim instructor certifications
Different swim schools and lessons have different requirements for their instructors so make sure you know what those are. Again it comes back to what you hope to get out of your lessons and if your goal is to instill safer swim knowledge and abilities with your child, make sure you attend a school that has highly-trained instructors. Take a look at what requirements instructors have and if you can’t find the info on the website, reach out and ask.
Swim lesson group sizes
Look into what the group size will be, especially for the littlest swimmers who will require the most attention. Across different swim schools, you can get one-on-one lessons, small lessons where the parent participates, or larger group lessons. British Swim School lessons have a maximum 6:1 student-to-instructor ratio. They also include parents in the early swim lessons. I loved this as my husband or myself could be a part of the activity. We could learn through the lessons and practice with our child outside of lessons, whether it be at the neighborhood pool or simply in the bathtub. Additionally, we could see the progress week-by-week. If you have a child that is easily overwhelmed in big groups, consider their comfort level when selecting a swim school.
How often you can take swim lessons
I wish one lesson would teach your child to swim safely, but that’s not the case. (Although, perhaps there are some baby swim prodigies out there—certainly not in my house!) Swim lessons will need to be ongoing to help your child develop the necessary survival skills and then develop more swimming techniques. Some swim lessons are daily if you want to expedite learning. Not everyone has the time to devote to daily lessons, so see what the schools offer and if it works with your schedule, budget, and expectations.
We went for a once-a-week approach, and because British Swim School offers year-round enrollment, you can keep going for as long as you need and start whenever works for you. So often, you have to wait for certain sessions to start your child in activities at other swim schools, but with British Swim School’s year-round enrollment, you can start tomorrow.
As parents, we all want to keep our kids as safe as we can. With the right swim lessons, swim safety is a crucial life skill kids can enjoy as they learn.
This post was in partnership with British Swim School but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.