How long will it take for my child to swim?

Children learn at their own pace and in their own way. Each child's individual personality, readiness, maturity, ability to follow directions, learning style, physical coordination, and practice time affect how long it takes to learn to swim. There are also several fear factors that potentially come into play. Learning to be comfortable in the water, put their face in the water, learning to breath correctly and then to push off from the side and trust the water to hold them up. These are major psychological steps.

There is no exact timeline to learning to swim. The swim instructors are committed to allowing each child to learn and develop at their own pace. Do not compare your child to other students. The focus should be on your child and their development!

My child says He/She doesn't like swimming..........Should I stop?

There are many reasons children say they don't like something - some even say they don't like something before they've experienced it. Sometimes they may be finding it hard, or they may feel extended beyond there comfort level. Often times new swimmers to our program begin to cry before we even get to the pool, thus indicating not a fear of the water but anxiety about a new environment, separation from care giver and the fact that they are introduced to a new instructor they do not yet have a bond with. We need to guide them through this, and give them a sense of accomplishment in something they may have found difficult. Learning that giving up is one option, but to keep on going when they find it hard, is a real achievement.

Why do I need to come every week?

Swimming is a complicated motor skill and while we can train the brain to know what to do, it takes longer for the muscles to react to the movements required. Learning to swim is a process where students learn new skills every week. The best way to see improvement is to attend class weekly!

What if my child cries during swim class?

Remain calm. Anxiety and crying are oftentimes exhibited by children who have a fear of the water, especially in children that are 2 1/2 years of age and older. Being comfortable in the water with floaties or water wings is NOT considered being comfortable in the water. Please be assured that a crying child in lessons is not uncommon around the pool deck. Our great staff of instructors will establish trust with their students and find creative ways to ease into this new experience. The HPSC staff and coaches are well trained in dealing with crying children. We have a few suggestions for parents:

Give your child to the instructor. Keep a pleasant look on your face and hand him/her over to the teacher. Then calmly sit down in the appropriate area. By handing your child over to the teacher, you are telling your child that you trust the teacher. Until your child has transitioned stay out of the viewing area.

DO NOT make eye contact with your child if he is crying during a lesson. The single most important factor in your child’s success is for the parent/care giver to remain away from the viewing area until he/she has transitioned into our program. We will be able to start progress more quickly and build a bond with your child when you are not in view; this is typical of any new activity such as starting preschool or any new program. When your child does not have your attention, then they begin to calm down. He/she will begin to connect with his/her Instructor during the lesson. Let your child know you are in the building but will be out of sight and hearing distance during the class, you will be there to greet them when class is finished.

Keep the momentum going! Go to a family swim or practice time and play with them in the water to speed the adjustment period. Don’t make this a mini lesson, just have fun and enjoy the water together. Ask them to blow bubbles in the bath tub or talk to them about what they learned during the lesson. It is important to remember that this is a continuous process, not just a 30-minute slot each week. This helps build the excitement and desire to learn how to swim!

Praise and encouragement after lessons are very important! Don't forget children are actually learning even if they are crying. Even the slightest progress must be acknowledged. It may seem like a small step to you, but to your child, this is a HUGE improvement. Make them feel good about the progress they are making!

Remain Calm. DO NOT allow your child to be the decision maker as to whether or not he will attend and continue swim lessons.  As the adult, you must reassure your child that learning to swim is something he must do for his own safety.   Reassure your child that the instructor will take very good care of him.

Talk to the Instructor! It is really important to maintain open communication with your child's instructor. You know your student best and can give any helpful tips to the instructor. But please remember, this is NOT their first time dealing with a crying student. They have experience dealing with this situation and are equipped to handle this. Make sure there is open communication about the efforts each side is making to remedy this situation.

HANG IN THERE! Parents can become discouraged because their child may be exhibiting fear. Just take a deep breath and relax. We have seen it many times. The children do get through it. Once they get through the fear and anxiety, the joy they have in the water begins to take over. Sit back, relax, and let the Polar Bear Aquatics Staff do our job!

How Long Is Too Long?

How long is too long for your child to cry in swim lessons? On average, most crying swim students have stopped after the third lesson. At the very least you should notice that the crying is diminishing. If not, it is possible that your child may need a private lesson. Some children are much more comfortable with the undivided attention of a caring teacher.

Should I take him/her out of lessons and try again with he/she is older?

NO!!!!!  It will only get worse as the child gets older and develops more anxieties/fears about the water.  Hang in there they usually get through this in 3~4 classes.

My child has so many others after school activities to choose from. How important is learning to swim?

Learning to swim should not be taken lightly. This the only sport that can save a child's life. Even if they don't want to become a competitive swimmer, they need to know these basic water safety skills.

My child seems to have mastered the skills of that class. when will he/she go to the next level?

Very often a child may look great for a short distance. However, unless skills already learned are constantly practiced and consolidated, the endurance and aerobic fitness needed to swim any distance is missing. Parents should be prepared to spend a couple of sessions at each level in the beginning levels to make sure the skills become second nature, and the swimmer lays the foundation to become a strong accomplished swimmer for life!