It’s amazing what a toddler can learn in eight, short weeks. My three-year-old girl, Eva, is a little fish. But when it comes to dunking her head under the water and jumping off the edge (with a floaty, of course!), she is skeptical – that is, until she took swim lessons at the YMCA. This was her first time taking lessons, so we started with Stage 1: Water Acclimation for preschoolers (ages 3 – 5) at the Blue Ash YMCA.
Eva’s first week at swim lessons, I was the worried mom biting her fingernails on the sidelines. My toddler didn’t want to leave my side, and she definitely didn’t want to join the other tots that were hanging onto the edge of the pool. No floaty. All of the brave swimmers immediately learned to go from sitting on the edge, to hopping on in all on their own, hanging on tight. Eva whimpered the first half of the 30-minute class.
By week two, Eva gladly held on to the edge, then by week three, she was independently going in and out of the water on her own with a big smile on her face! The swim instructors do an excellent job working one-on-one with each individual swimmer, helping them master skills and memorize water safety. This week was the first time the little tots used water noodles to help them float. Eva wasn’t a fan of jumping in and out of the water with the noodle, (with assistance from the instructors) but she proudly kicked around like a pro.
The fourth week was by far my favorite – this the first “ah-ha” moment when I saw my little gal gain more confidence. The swimming instructor assisted Eva while she jumped in the pool without hesitation, and her head dunked under the water – no tears! Seeing her become more fearless and in control made me a happy mama! Having a pool at our home, I began to feel more relief knowing that Eva was learning to keep her head above the water – literally and figuratively. The basic water skills in this beginners course is a great way to instill techniques to help them become better swimmers.
Week five, the little swimmers were proud to receive their report cards which broke down all of their strengths and what needed work. This mid-way report card was helpful for us parents to understand exactly where our tots were at. The instructors then added extra techniques to the lesson such as “water blast-offs,” color games to get them engaged and they assisted them with back floats while counting to ten and flipping over and blowing bubbles on the surface of the water.
The final weeks went over all of the safety rules they had learned, and before we knew it, they were swimming all the way across the pool with their noodles and back! They were all excited to use some nifty back floats, too!
After speaking with the other parents, they were anxious to continue enrolling their growing toddlers into the next courses to get them summer-ready. Each level adds new swimming skills! Eva was ecstatic each time we headed to swim lessons, and the more confidence she gained, the more she trusted herself and didn’t need me right at her side. Proud mama right here!
Keeping kids of all ages in swim lessons throughout the year is essential to helping them to understand the fundamentals of swimming, and for them to feel comfortable in their own wet feet. Just from this basic preschool lesson, Eva now knows where the lifeguard is, where to exit the pool and more!
The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati has tons of convenient locations around Cincinnati and NKY and they all offer swim lessons for all ages, including parent and child lessons! For more information about their year-round lessons and more, visit myy.org.