Swim Lessons // What We Both Learned

Before summer began, and we were spending more and more time in the pool, I knew I wanted needed to get Marcus into swim lessons. The child has no fear of the water, which is good and bad, all rolled into one. It's great the kid has no fear of water, but I also want him to respect water, and the dangerous that can be present if he isn't careful/smart/attentive.

So, before we began our tour of the Midwest I called the swimming pool where I'd taken lessons as a child, and where I later taught swim lessons as an instructor, and had Marcus enrolled in a parent/infant/toddler class. 

One of the instructors (whom I've known for years) saw this video on social media of Marcus swimming, and bumped Marcus into the preschool class. While I was excited Marcus' skills exceeded that of the class I'd enrolled him in, I was worried about the age gap. Most kids in the preschool class were either 3 or 4. Marcus is 2. A year, or two, makes a big difference. 

Day one went swimmingly, and looked something like this.
Marcus did great. He followed most instructions, did what was asked of him, and seemed to have a great time. As we left the pool that day I asked if he had a good time. His response was an enthusiastic "Yes!" 

Day two was similar, looking like this.
Another successful day of following instructions, performing required tasks, and enjoying himself. 

Then day three hit. 
Marcus refused to get in the water. He cried, and asked for me to join him. It was an awful mess. About 15 minutes into class, and a child hysteric about not getting in the water, we left. 

Day four went exactly like day three. 

I asked the instructor if we could try the class I had originally signed Marcus up for - the class where I joined him in the water. And, so that's what we tried.
It was like night and day. Marcus was back to being the fish I knew he was, the fish that he showed on days one and two of lessons. 

After the class the instructor pulled me aside and said Marcus needed to be in the preschool class, and that he needed to try again. Except, this time we needed to try without me being present. 

*Light bulb moment*
As an instructor I often told parents to try lessons where the kids couldn't see the parents. It was almost always inevitable the child would do better if the parent wasn't around (or couldn't be seen). Why had I not thought of this right away?! Because, like every other parent in the world, I wanted to watch my child, I wanted to see how he did. I wanted to coach from the side (which sadly, I admit happened a few times). 

On the last day Grandma brought Marcus to lessons, and I stayed behind. Then, I ran up to the pool (because the town is that small and you can literally run from place to place) and hid in a spot where Marcus couldn't see me. 

When I got to the pool I saw this.
I was so far away that I had to zoom in as much as possible, with my phone, so the images are pretty blurry. 

Marcus did so well. I couldn't help but burst with pride. 

While Marcus didn't "pass" his class, and I knew he wouldn't, we both learned a lot from the two week course: I need to stop semi-hoovering, and Marcus has discovered that he can do well and thrive without mommy present. And, there were basic swim skills learned. 

Winning all around.  

Big thanks to the Aquatic Center for identifying our needs and presenting options to remedy our problems for successful swim lessons. 


  1. It is crazy how kids act different in different situation when their parents are there, especially mom! I would have done the same and snuck up there! Lol but this really helps me because I tend to baby my daughter and hover like you said which prob prevents her from trying nee things!

  2. I can't wait when Marcus is an Olympic swimmer and I'll be all like "I knew his mom through blogging" and people will look at me like I have 2 heads. Stoked.

    Glad you got it all squared away! He looks like he had a great time and since you got to spy on him I'm sure that was good for you too! Everyone is happy. :)

  3. That's great that they were open enough to make that suggestion -- I feel like teen instructors don't have the 'guts' to tell the parents to go away. And P.S. it's the same thing for haircuts -- I suggested to a couple of parents to step out of the salon during their kids' haircut, made all the difference in the world. :)

  4. he is so brave! and such a good fishie!

  5. How awesome that they worked with you on that! He kills me in his little rash guard.

  6. that is great that he's advanced enough to be in the preschool class! I wanted to have Zachary do swim lessons but of course he's being stubborn and refusing. wish I had someone to send him with besides me, but I don't!

  7. This post is great! Abigail is starting swim lessons on Monday and I'm so nervous and excited for her! We've never done a class of any sort so I'm super intrigued as to how it will go. She's 3.5 but I put her in the 4 &5 class...so we'll see what happens. She's the same as M. No fear of the water. So definitely good and bad!

  8. Oh yay! That's awesome! Clay took a "let's get comfortable in the water" class that I was less than impressed with at the beginning of the summer so we're on the hunt for different lessons!

  9. Yay! That's so awesome. Sometimes kiddos just need to be "forced" away from mommy and they'll go, go, go! Glad he did so well!

  10. That is awesome! I don't remember learning how to swim, but my parents always told me that pretty much as soon as I learned how to walk, they enrolled me in a swim class. We lived right next to a lake, so I guess that was pretty smart!

  11. That is great! I know it helps Aria do something when I'm not there, but it is so hard to not be there. I've hid in the bushes before, no shame =) A good reminder though for everybody. Try new things, less hovering no matter how much you want to!

  12. Makes complete sense! I remember years ago when my oldest was in lessons.. It went similar to this.

    Can you send me your email address please?! Thank ya;)

  13. I certainly hope my boy will be as brave and adventurous as yours!

  14. Aubrey was the same way with dance class when her grandparents came- she shut down and didnt want to participate. The next session when they weren't there, she was back to normal enjoying herself. I am wondering if she just doesn't like when people are watching her and making a big deal out of it. Maybe Marcus is the same way?

  15. YAY Marcus!!! Seriously, this post is awesome. We just started Mason in parent and me classes that Seth does with him. I sat on the side and watched and I totally know how you felt, you just want to see your kid doing well at this new activity, but sometimes all they need is a little "freedom" and they excel! Amazing pool you take him to to be able to recommend the right lesson group for him, let you do what you knew you needed to do as a mom, and then notice what he needed and encourage you to guide him.

  16. so glad you guys found the right class and that the center worked with you moving around to the right class! He's such a great swimmer already I'm glad you guys found a place to learn (more than just swim skills too). it's so hard to not be there when you just want to watch but it totally can/does help!

  17. That is amazing that he did so well without you. Out of sight out of mind, right?! I love watching him swim! I need more Marcus swimming videos. I am just so in awe of how good he is!