Aqua-tots swimming program
Posted July 26, 2012on:
May’s approaching midway in her first swimming session, which runs for 2 weeks, 4 days/week, 25 minutes/day. The Aqua-tots program at our community pool has 4 students to one instructor, so that means the 25 minutes are not much. Still, I signed her up for 3 consecutive sessions, because I think she learns much better when she gets to watch how kids her age do things, and also because I know there’s a big difference between an adult learning how to swim vs. a child. Some children have been to previous sessions, so they display greater willingness to being in the water, following the instructor’s directions, and generally improving on their kicks, floating, and face in water practices.
Right now our schedule runs like this (probably until September, when May enters pre-K): 11:30-noon, swimming lesson. Then 15 minutes in the locker room to warm herself up in the hot shower (she refused to get out, lol), dry up a bit, then we would go out to our car for a brief snack, still wearing swimsuit and bathrobe. At 12:30, the indoor pool is open for family recreational swim, so we go in there and I go over everything I’ve seen the instructor doing during lesson. Whatever May didn’t seem to be comfortable doing during her lesson, we would work on that during our 1 hour afternoon practice. Because the indoor pool is much warmer than the outdoor pool where May has her lessons, we can take our time to play, let May work on whatever she prefers, and then practice morning lessons every 10 minutes or so. We get out of the pool around 1:30, shower ourselves, then head home by 2pm for lunch. Nap from 3-5:30ish, then if I still have energy and time, we would go out for a walk to the local playground until dusk.
If you are thinking of sending your toddler to swimming lessons, here are items I find useful:
1. Speedo kid swim goggles – these are the diver sort of goggles, so they cover a much wider area of the face, hence easier to put on. I got mine from LandsEnd on sale.
2. 2mm neoprene wet suit. These are pricey, so I’m trying to get them off Ebay rather than buying them brand new. You can get them brand new from sites like Sierratradingpost for up to 50% off, however, I have yet to see one that fits kids under 36inches. In general, the wet suits that are often on sale tend to be for kids 4+ years of age. I already bought 2 from sierratradingpost, size xxs, and still they did not come close to fitting May any time soon. The first one I got, Nathan (6 years old) is still wearing right now.
3. swimmer’s shampoo (chlorine removal). You can buy the kids one, or the adult one (Ultraswim).
4. 3 swim suits for the child.
5. lots of lotion
The thing I dislike about our community pool is that they push the toddlers to the outdoor pool, reserving the indoor pool for aqua exercise classes for the most part. This whole week, May was constantly sporting blue lips while she had her lessons, refusing to step out of the water when the instructor asked her to, and shaking uncontrollably when the instructor got her out of the water.
Even though they set their water temperature at 84-85 degrees, I think outdoor temp fluctuated according to the weather. On Monday it was quite warm in the water, but very cold, foggy, and windy above water surface. On Tuesday it was sunny and warmer, but still breezy – but they forgot to cover the pool overnight, so at 11:30 a.m, the water felt closer to 78 degrees rather than 85. On Wednesday, partly cloudy and chilly again, water felt like 80 degrees… All these temperatures and weather conditions are still too cold for toddlers who are in the shade and were not constantly moving or kicking in the water – as long as you swim and move around, you don’t feel cold, but if you are sitting more than 1/2 of the time you are there, which is what these kids have to do while waiting for their turn, then it’s pretty damn cold. I’m still waiting for May’s wetsuit to arrive so she can feel better, but in the meanwhile, she could not concentrate on learning much because she was too distracted while she was not feeling comfortable with her below normal body temperature.
there are swimming schools that do much better, setting their indoor temp at 90 degrees, and from what i’ve heard, the kids really thrive. Except this swim school is 30 minutes from our house, so that’s a no go. I know that we are using a public facility, therefore the costs are lower and resources are more limited than what a private enterprise can do. But, at the same time, I think if the pool’s management team are more meticulous with their water temperature monitoring, keeping water temp consistently at 84-85 degrees as advertised, then things would have been much better for the kids.