How are lessons at Water Guppies different than other swim lessons?
Oh so different!
Drowning Prevention: According to the CDC, drownings are the leading cause of accidental deaths in children ages 1-4. This MUST end. Our society insists that children be happy and relaxed around water. But as a child begins to exhibit caution around water, it is a sign that they are becoming more aware of their environment and their own limitations; it means they are becoming SAFER. It makes no sense to play games in the water to make them feel safe if they are not.
First we teach them to swim, to survive in the water; the comfort and enjoyment will follow naturally and safely. Learning to swim does not have to be fun. It is knowing how to swim that is fun. The learning process is often difficult and learning to swim is a process. It must involve breath control, propulsion, rotation, and floating and must provide each child with the survival skills necessary to save their life. Readiness is irrelevant; babies as young as six months can be taught to float, and all children over a year can learn to swim.
Children who can only swim with ‘floaties’ or when they can touch the bottom CANNOT REALLY SWIM, and babies can drown in wading pools, buckets, toilets, hot tubs, and the like. Many parents feel that lessons for very young toddlers or infants are not necessary because they are always watching, and although supervision is the most important deterrent to drowning, who can say they constantly keep their eyes on an active two-year old? Other parents rely on flotation devices: water wings, floaties, swim sweaters, and the like. These devices put the child in a vertical posture, opposite of the proper posture for swimming, they cause panic when removed and may cause a false sense of security in both the child and the parent.
At what age do you start teaching a child?
I begin instruction at 6 months old.
Why are your lessons more expensive than others?
Actually, lessons at Water Guppies are not more expensive than other learn to swim programs. Students get more one on one instruction time with me than they would have at most swim schools. You are buying private lessons for your child. Instead of your child being one of many in a group class, and easily skipped over if they are not in the mood, our lessons are one-on-one. Your child has my undivided attention and I can teach your child according to YOUR CHILD’S NEEDS and not the needs of 5 to 7 other children. In 4-6 weeks your child has a fighting chance to survive an aquatic accident and they are well on their way to a life-time of water fun! It takes weeks not years to teach your child how to survival an aquatic accident. Please take the time to shop around and compare the results and pricing of the other learn to swim programs. Ask about the cost of private lessons, how long lessons would be per week compared to lessons with me.
Why 10 minute lessons?
There are a few reasons we don't go over the 10 minute time frame daily: First, repetition and consistency are crucial elements of learning for young children. Research shows that short, more frequent lessons result in higher retention. Second, most children have fairly short attention spans and will not be able to focus on the task longer than that, and we want to take advantage of the best time for learning. Little ones learn best in short duration, as their attention spans are much shorter than adults. During the 4-6 weeks, the children are given a lot of responsibility in these lessons, more then they are probably used to receiving. (all the while being fully aware of how much support they may still need.) We want to get the best results out of the child, and keeping the lesson to no more than 10 minutes assures us that they do not over-tire themselves. As well, students may take in a fair amount of water when they are learning, and their bellies can feel discomfort if longer than 10 minutes. (Imagine yourself swimming for 10 minutes straight as an adult---even for us, it can be tiring!
What if my child is afraid of the water?
This is one of the many reasons we have a program that lasts 6 weeks: the more daily exposure to the water, and the more daily practice they get performing the skills they've learned, fear begins to subside. It may be replaced with joy and excitement, it may be replaced with anger---"I don't want to float, I only want to play and have fun!"--either way, fear is not something that lasts too long with my students. Getting the parent in the water on Friday's only helps to alleviate any fear, as well. The parent is urged to practice what we are teaching with their child on the weekends or during week, which leads to even greater confidence in the child! Confidence replaces fear!
Will my child be traumatized by the swimming lessons?
Quite the reverse -- If your child fell into the water and did not know how to self-rescue themselves, THIS would be the traumatizing event. You can more than likely expect crying during the first week or so of lessons, most of the time as time goes on, and they gain confidence, the crying subsides. The slow progression and repetition, most importantly, of our lessons does not allow for trauma, but rather boosts confidence. Through all of our lessons, I am fully present, giving full support to the child until they are showing signs of "doing it themselves". Even then, I am very careful with the amount of responsibility I give them before they are ready.
Why do you not want your students to eat for at least 2 hours prior to swim lessons?
The lessons require a lot of physical activity for the students. We do not want them to eat prior to lessons because we want them to be as comfortable as possible. Sometimes when students are crying they swallow air. You will notice that I frequently burp the students during lessons. If a child has recently eaten, the food will come up with the air causing them to throw up. Although this is not dangerous for the student we do not want them to associate throwing up with swimming and lessons each time. Therefore not feeding a child at least two hours prior to lessons reduce the likely hood of this happening.
Children need refreshers not because they will forget their skills, but because they outgrow them. Particularly during the first two years, rapid growth causes a shift in a baby’s center of gravity, affecting his ability to float. Refreshers are similar to a well baby pediatric check up; they allow your instructor to readjust the float position and keep your child’s swimming skills sharp.
Your child will retain most of what he learns after being out of the water for up to a year. However, he will likely lose his self-confidence if he is out of the water for even a short time. Without the opportunity to swim with me, you may find that your child will cry, cling and refuse to use his skills. DON’T PANIC! He has not forgotten all. After only a week or two of brush-up lessons, all will be well. Children have many fears, some which stem from a lack of confidence. During refresher lessons, they will soon regain the needed confidence and know they CAN do it! Have patience.
Will my child be drown-proof?
Nobody can ever drown-proof your child. Be Leary of any program that advertises they can.