Choosing a Swim Instructor

Date:  Apr 02-2004

This time of year, helping our children learn to swim becomes a priority. With the heat and daily access, children are finding water to plunge into, and we become keenly aware of how precious they are, and how easily we could loose them.  Time to sign up for swim lessons!
If you are going to a facility or pool outside your home, look for cleanliness throughout the facility. Does the facility require showers before entering the water? Is the facility child friendly? Are there toys in the pool and around the deck to make it look like a fun place, or is it a sterile, work environment? What is the water temperature? Children learn best in 90 – 92 degree water.
            With so many programs and teachers out there to choose from, how does one decide which one is best for their child? Some things to consider are what your goals for these lessons are: Is safety your primary concern, and you want your child swimming ASAP?  Swimming 3 days a week is a good choice. Swimming 4 or 5 days may sound better, but often it is met with resistance from the child, and results in their lack of enthusiasm and a waste of your money. Is safety part of the program, or is the teacher just going to teach your child how to swim? Are you interested in having your child swim on a team one day?  Your instructor should be proficient at teaching freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.  Are you looking for a fun activity for your child with no hurry? Your instructor should know this, and be very patient. What are your child’s and the instructor’s personalities, and will they work well together?  Just because an instructor is super with one child, does not mean that s/he can adapt to another child with an opposite personality. If the instructor is the same with all students, s/he may not be right for your child.    A very outgoing instructor may be overwhelming for a shy child.  What motivates your child to learn? Watching other children? Being first in line? Praise from the instructor? Your attention and praise during the lesson? Prizes after the lesson? You should consider all of these in deciding group, semi-private, or private lessons, to get the most bang out of your buck.