Meet the Sullivans: How We Survived Owen's First Swim Lesson

May 8, 2013

How We Survived Owen's First Swim Lesson

I took Owen for his first official swim lesson at our gym last Friday. I was pretty sure he was going to love being in the water during our class. He loves to take baths, play in his kiddie pool, dunk his face in his water table and he did fine last year when we took him for his first swim.

After reading another blogger's tips for taking your toddler for their first swim lesson [I can't remember who wrote the post I'm referring to, so if it was you please remind me, because I'd like to link to your fantastic post] I decided to take him for a trial run. UPDATE: You can find the post written by Shana of sHe that I am referring to here!

So, on the Wednesday before his first lesson Owen and I went for a quick swim. We started out in the indoor pool where his lessons would take place, but Owen didn't feel comfortable in there. Maybe it was because it was just us and a private swim lesson in the entire pool at the time or that it was just so big and deep.

We ended up going outside to the kiddie pool to see if he liked that pool better--and did he ever!! As soon as we stepped foot in the kiddie pool he was smiling from ear to ear. I could tell he really loved the feeling of weightlessness the water gave him. He would dunk himself and then I'd pull him back up for air and he would just laugh.

Our experience on Wednesday made me feel good and sure that our swim lessons would go well. Owen was confident and comfortable in the water, but most of all he was happy, which is most important. I'm glad we did a test run.

If you're wondering about Owen's interesting looking hat it is a Kidzlidz UV Hat by Sun Protection Zone. It provides 100 SPF protection, has a drape to protect ears and neck, a brim to shade the face / eyes, and fits children from infant to 6 years. I bought ours at Costco in March. They do a "road show", so you can check their website to see when they'll be in your area. 

Owen did amazingly well in our class on Friday. We did a lot of fun little activities and Owen smiled through the entire class, even when we dunked them (yep, on the first class). I would have thought Owen would have freaked out after being dunked under the water, but he was fine. Most of the other babies in the class cried--poor little sweeties.

He thought it was so funny when we tried to blow bubbles underwater and he loved jumping off the ledge into the pool and into my arms. His favorite part had to be at the end of the class when the teacher brought out a platform for the children to stand on. Owen could have stayed there all day. At one point he started dancing! That's how I knew he was having a good time! 

I'm so glad we did our "test run" because it also allowed me the chance to see how the whole showering / changing / etc. would go since I am doing it all on my own. Other mommy friends have suggested to me that I should just take us both straight home after class and not attempt the shower. I always feel like I need to shower after being in the pool. Having the chlorine on my skin makes me feel sick. And I like to believe that I can handle anything when it comes to caring for Owen. 

Anyway, it wasn't easy, but it was doable. It does help that my gym has an awesome Family Changing Room with personal little rooms with their own shower, hooks to hang your bags and a bench. I was worried about the whole showering / changing thing if I was going to have to do it in the regular locker room. It was so nice to not have to wrangle my child while we were both tired, dripping wet and in the nude in front of other people! So thankful for the privacy!

There is a shower curtain separating your changing area from your shower stall too, which keeps your little munchkin from drenching all your dry stuff, iPhone, wallet, etc.

He was so exhausted after our class, but happy. We made a quick stop at Costco on our way home for a few party essentials. Owen started to fall asleep sitting up in the cart, so I pulled him out and let him fall asleep on my shoulder.

I'm so proud of our little man!

In hindsight here are my tips for taking your little one to swim lessons on your own:

Come prepared, but don't bring too much. I brought easy to put on, comfortable clothes for each of us. I wore the same dress and flip flops home as I did when I took him there. This cut down on the amount of things I needed to keep track of.

And on that note, bring your stroller. After I got Owen showered and dressed it was nice to have a place to strap him into while I finished getting dressed and packed up. And he was pretty tired so it was nice for him to have a place to sit back, relax and drink his bottle.  

Have a snack and milk for your child for after the class. Owen was exhausted and famished after all the excitement and exercise. I know I'm usually hungry for a snack and a drink after that much fun. A little something for you is nice too!

Do you have any helpful tips for swim class? I've only done this once, so I'm no expert, so I'd love to hear any tips I'm missing !  


Shana said...

I think that post may have been me :) I hope it was if it helped out! I am so glad your little one had fun either way, he looks so sweet all worn out after his class!

NsarkiM said...

Hi Colleen! Thanks so much for your informative post! Can I ask where you take Owen for swim classes? I'm looking for a place to take my son.

Emily said...

Precious Owen!! Looks like so much fun! I hope we can get O in swim lessons this summer too! Thanks for the tips. Helpful as always!

Erica Layne | Let Why Lead said...

That picture of him asleep on your shoulder is adorable! That sweet little face!

I've never done a mom & me swimming class with my boys, but I did use to sub for my sister sometimes and take my niece. It's fun! My boys are both in swimming lessons now. My three-year-old just had his first one last week, and the instructor dunked him within the first two minutes of being in the pool. Haha. He looked pretty shocked for a minute or two afterward but generally handled it really well.

Seriously, I love swimming lessons. :) Glad you guys are enjoying them too!