Common questions & concerns
What do I need to bring to class?
All you need is a positive attitude, a towel and a reusable swim diaper if your child is working on potty training. Finis is a great brand. They have elastic on the top and legs. I have them if you don't have time to get one before you get here.
How long are classes?
Classes are based on ½ hour time slots. The physical and psychological progress of each day can alter that by 5 minutes or so. They can get tired, be on the verge of a big discovery, or just be having a lot of fun, but lessons are based on ½ hour time slots.
What age can my child start classes?
2 years and older. Kids can swim even younger and it's great to get them started, but I don't want to give the impression that if you do my course, you're 18 month old will be totally safe swimming in a pool by themselves. 2 years is a more realistic age to have a sense of some genuine safety. In general, the younger they are the more separation anxiety they can have and the less physically developed they are but there are many exceptions. I have seen many 18 month old kids swim across a pool and some six year olds who can barely make it across a pool. The physical and emotional development between at this age is notable can vary wildly between kids and can also vary tremendously with every few months of growth.
How many kids are in a class?
Three swimmers in a class. It’s important to create a social environment for the kids. They have fun, bond with each other and learn from each other. On the last day when parents get in the pool, there are often more than 3 kids (with parents) in the pool when everyone is having fun swimming with their child.
What level of swimming can I expect in 9 days?
Some kids are leaping off the edge and swimming the length of the pool, but all children will at least swim back and forth from parent to parent, know how to get to the edge of the pool and know how to swim to the stairs or walk with their hands to the stairs from the side of the pool.
Do you throw the kids in the water and make them figure it out?
Absolutely not! I’ve heard that some people do this but I have never seen it and hope that it is some kind of urban myth. But if they do, I would consider this an abuse of power. Kids have to try things that are new and challenging, but bullying or frightening kids into swimming is unnecessary. My job is to facilitate the discovery of the child’s ability to control his or her body in the water. One of my favorite Piaget quotes is, “When you teach a child something, you take away their chance of discovering it for themselves." No one can teach a person how to swim. The water speaks to the body and your body informs the mind which all happens at the same magical instant. What I do is to help people discover it! We are born in water. Life is possible because of water. Intuitively we all know this. All I need to do is help your child remember.
Should I put sunscreen on my child?
I highly recommend rashguards or UV protective swim gear. I can't have sunscreen in my pool. It makes the kids slippery and even the “waterproof” brands come right off in the water which gets in their eyes and burns. Also, I have a saline pool so even if just a couple of kids wear sunscreen the water gets cloudy and I need to add chemicals to clear it which no one likes. Check with your doctor; some doctors are now recommending at least 15 minutes a day without sunscreen to make sure your child is getting enough vitamin D. On very fair skin you can put some on their face, but do not put it on in the car or at the pool. Most sunscreens recommend at least 30 minutes before going into water to be effective.
Is the pool heated?
The pool is heated to 93 degrees. This feels like womb temperature and gives the children a comfortable environment and enjoyable sensory experience to learn to swim in.
Do you use floaties or goggles?
No goggles or floaties. Floaties force the body in an upright position which is known as “the drowning position”. A person sinks quicker and cannot indefinitely stay afloat in this position. Floaties create a false sense of security and encourage the fear of getting the face wet which is the main obstacle preventing most kids from swimming. Furthermore, if they're used to floaties and fall in a pool, they panic and sink quicker because they have no experience of what their body feels like in water without floaties. Goggles undermine genuine confidence and become a prop that can often make kids think they need goggles to swim. True confidence needs to be realized out of one's own success - not accessories. Once your child is swimming confidently or doing laps in highly chlorinated pools, then consider goggles.
Is your pool chlorinated?
My pool is saline, it feels a little nicer on the skin and eyes, but saline pools still have chlorine in them. However, the chlorine is produced by the salt rather than adding liquid chemicals. Most saline pools need to add liquid chlorine from time to time. Kids learn to swim either way.
Is it recommended to have siblings in the same class?
Siblings almost always swim together and it works great, but honestly as soon as the kids are swimming it doesn’t matter at all. They just want to swim with anyone.
Do the children cry?
It’s a normal reaction for a parent to be concerned that it will be hard to watch their child being upset on the first days. I would say that 7 out of 10 have some sort of hesitation and cry on the first couple of days. It’s usually related to age and separation anxiety which is perfectly normal and has nothing to do with swimming. It’s a new experience, a new teacher and it’s a normal reaction. Once they get to know me, realize that they are safe and start to make progress, a switch goes off and the joy and pride in their accomplishments eclipses any hesitation they had. I don’t tell them to stop crying because that is like telling them not to feel the way they are feeling. It’s OK to cry ; crying isn’t the measure of their progress. It's a measure of whether they want to try or not. There usually comes a point when kids are cautious or scared with swimming. That’s a good, healthy instinct. However, with swimming, only empowering them with success will convince them that they no longer have to be afraid. And, success has to come from the child's own experience of feeling success. Words won’t do it. Usually, all the cries have turned into shouts of joy by the third day. Understandably, it can be hard for parents, but it’s very rewarding for you and your child to overcome the fear and hesitation and learn how to swim.
What do you do if kids walk out of the pool?
This does happen and the best tactic is for the parent to immediately take the child by the hand and walk them back to the pool. This gesture speaks for itself and it is quickly understood even if they complain at first. If you start talking and trying to rationalize with them it usually makes them more anxious and you simply delay their success. Bring them back quickly so they know it's not an option to run out. They learn very quickly and are actually happier and feel safer when they know the rules. Rules help a child feel safe and when a parent quickly puts them back in the water it's the strongest message they can get that the parent believes they are safe and this is OK.
How much does it cost?
The cost for a the 9 day session is $500 for each student.
When and how do I pay?
You can make a deposit to hold your time slot on the website. The balance is due by check on the third day of class. You can pay in full on the website but it's not necessary. Deposits are refundable up to two weeks before class starts.
Do parents get in the pool?
Parents are invited and highly recommended to come in the pool on the last day - depending on the swimmer. First, the swimmers need to develop a relationship with the water independent of the parents. It’s their skill. If there is an accident when the parents aren’t around, the swimmer's reaction needs to be - get out of the pool - not look for Mom and Dad. So, parents are invited in the pool when the kids are swimming, otherwise the emotional relationship with the parent is eclipsing the conversation that the swimmer's body is having with the water. Once they’re swimming, parents come in and learn to continue the instruction that we have discovered in class and also the kids learn that they can swim with anyone - not just with Bill. They develop a trust with me (with swimming) that needs to be transferred to the parent. But mostly, they love to show Mom and Dad their new skill and it’s wonderful to swim with your child for the first time.
Do you teach in the rain?
Class is not cancelled for weather unless there is lightning. Consistency is the most essential ingredient and it’s important to show your child that you are serious about having them learn how to swim.
Should my child stay home if they are sick or have a runny nose?
Runny nose, whiny, absolutely not, you should make it to swimming class. It’s better to come to class and do a short class than to break the consistency. Only if your child has a high fever and is very sick should you miss class.
Can we do make up classes?
Because of the tight schedule, make up classes are usually not possible except in the case of a bona fide emergency. Remember consistency is what makes them learn.
What can I do to help if my child is not enthusiastic about swim lessons?
Your attitude is contagious. The first step is to be clear and positive in your mind that your child is going to learn to swim and it’s going to be great. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how strong and capable our children are at accepting the inevitable. Much better than we are usually. Keep it simple, tell them that they are going to swim class, there may be some challenges but it feels good to know how to swim. Then sit back and watch your child amaze you!
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