My oldest son has been attending swim lessons at the new Aqua-Tots in Olathe, KS for two and a half months now. He will be six in July and we have tried swim lessons every summer in hopes to get his confidence in the water built up. He’s a little more reserved and hesitant about trying new things and it definitely takes him a little more time to learn and build up his own excitement for an activity. But I’m so excited to shout it from the rooftops – we are finally there with swim lessons and swimming in general!
He officially graduated from Level 3 and has been rocking Level 4 for a few weeks now. Just like any transition, he was nervous about moving up to the next level. Last week, he told me after his lesson how he loves Level 4 now, and it doesn’t make him nervous. Talk about confidence and a proud mama!
There are several reasons why his adapting to the water, gaining confidence and skills in the water and learning to LOVE it with Aqua-Tots versus so many other summers we have tried swim lessons.
- Muscle memory and consistency – When we first signed up for two days a week for Charlie’s lessons, I’m not going to lie…as a working mom of three with kids in other activities I knew it was going to be harder than I thought to get him to lessons two days a week. But what I also knew after talking about it with the Aqua-Tots staff was that consistency will pay off. Not only because the child will get more comfortable in the water but also due to muscle memory to learn how to be safe in the water, and then how to swim. The goal is to create an automatic response in the child so they react to a situation without having to think about it. Like riding a bike or tying shoelaces, building those muscle memories takes repetition and practice before it becomes second nature. As the child grows and advances in swimming lessons, muscle memory allows him or her to focus on adding new strokes, techniques, and speed while maintaining form. Attending lessons two times a week for us has been worth it for my Charlie man!
- Social development and exercise – For our family, it feels like we get into a pretty set routine of getting up, going to work/school and then get home, eat dinner and all just hang out. While some nights that means just watching TV, it’s also nice to get our kids out of the house after work/school and meet new kids and interact with new adults. The instructors at Aqua-Tots are awesome and Charlie for sure has his favorites already (we even picked a class time for the next level up based on that!). They really work with the students to understand how they each learn best and with the small class sizes, it has mad a huge difference in Charlie quickly picking up those new skills and gaining that confidence. Plus, swimming is exercise! And it gets them up and moving and feeling good instead of plopping on the couch or in front of the screen.
- Feedback and qualified instructors – perfect practice makes perfect. Therefore, the importance of practicing in an environment where you’re getting feedback from a qualified instructor cannot be overstated. It’s crucial that the child is practicing the correct form or technique. We have all been very impressed with the Aqua-Tots instructors; you can tell they are rigorously trained before teaching. All instructors are routinely evaluated and educated, both in the water and out, by leaders in the industry. They not only give Charlie feedback after every lesson but they talk to parents about what they can work on outside of the lessons (especially in the summertime if you’re already going to the pool!) to help improve certain skills and techniques they are learning in class.
With all those things combined, it has been amazing to see Charlie grow and learn a skill that he was not comfortable with prior to this summer AND gain the confidence in the pool while we are there as a family. We are regular visitors to our neighborhood pool, and it has been so fun to see him take this new found confidence in the water there as he interacts with his friends. While we still usually keep that puddle jumper on in the deeper ends for safety reasons, it is exciting to know that he is well on his way to be running, jumping and swimming around with confidence sans puddle jumper soon! It has been well worth the time and effort to know that he’s more confident in the water and if something was to happen, he would have the skills and confidence necessary to get himself out of the situation. I’m excited to see how much he continues to learn and the skills he will gain as we keep these up throughout the summer.