Meet Shannon and Danelle. Shannon is a mom of four kiddos and the owner of Goldfish Swim School Wake Forest. Danelle is the mother of one and the owner of Goldfish Swim School Cary. These ladies know their swim lessons and they know kids (because they are real, actual moms too so they get it!). Shannon and Danelle joined us to answer the questions on many parents’ minds when it comes to getting kids into swim lessons and making it a positive experience.
Q: What age is the best age to start swim lessons?
A: Earlier is better! As soon as kids have appropriate neck control, we love to get them started in lessons! That is why we start lessons at 4 months-old. You may be surprised at how naturally babies take to water. The sooner you introduce your baby to the water, the easier it is for them to enjoy and celebrate the environment. Once they get a little bit older, toddlers may develop more fears around water. Introducing water and swimming early makes for an easier transition for most kids.
Q: We are at our first lesson and my kid is crying — like really crying. What should I do?
A: This happens. No really, this happens all of the time. Your child could be dealing with separation anxiety, which is a natural part of growing up. Or, sometimes, it could be because having water in the ears is a very different kind of sensation that takes some getting used to. Our team will work with your child to make sure he feels comfortable. Although each child progresses at a different pace, generally the tears stop around the 4th lesson after trust is built with the instructor. You can help ease your little one’s anxiety in the following ways:
- Stay in the viewing area. You want to be around your little swimmer to reassure her, we know — but actually, she’ll likely get acclimated more easily with you back with the other parents. Offer continued support and encouragement. This may seem contradictory to staying in the viewing area, but you can indeed encourage your little one while not poolside. This could be offering an enthusiastic thumbs-up or wave whenever your little one turns around to look at you, or taking the opportunity to congratulate her on the extraordinary results she’s having with a celebratory dinner — and always give lots and lots of praise on the way home.
- Reinforce desired behaviors. We celebrate everything at Goldfish— from getting in the water, not crying, and learning swim skills — and that means you can reinforce all those accomplishments, too!
Here are a few things to avoid:
- Don’t discontinue lessons altogether. Swimming is an important life skill. Just keep swimming! Your child WILL be smiling back at you from lessons before you know it!
- Don’t allow your anxiety to show through. It’s rough to see your baby upset. We get it. But, it’s amazing how much little ones pick up from those around them. If you seem anxious to let your new swimmer into the pool, she’ll feel that and react to it.
Q: Talk to me about the curriculum, pool and facility itself. What features make Goldfish a positive environment for kids to learn to swim?
A: Goldfish Swim School really is a one-of-a-kind place. We offer swim lessons to children ages 4 months to 12 years-old in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student to teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. Convenience is key! Families with kids of different ages and skill levels can have all of their swimmers in the pool during the same half-hour time slot and schedule makeup classes when necessary (this is huge!). Goldfish offers perpetual lessons and families can enroll at any time.
Facility highlights include an air-conditioned viewing gallery for parents to watch lessons, a spacious family dressing area with private changing rooms, snack bar, retail shop and warm, tropical décor.
We’ve tried to think of everything when it comes to creating a family and kid friendly environment where our students can be successful (while also having a ton of fun of course).
Q: What can I do to help make the transition to swim lessons easier for my child?
A: Kids do awesome when they know what is expected, so talk to your little ones about what their swim class will be like. Arrive early if you can so your family is not rushed! We know that sometimes it’s really hard to get yourself and the kids out the door. Give yourself time to get to class early so your kids can scope out the place and feel comfortable enough to dive (er, jump) right in! You can even stop by our Snack Shop or the play area after you’ve scanned your key card to sign in, if you’ve arrived super early. We also have toys, books and a fish tank to keep your little ones occupied.
Q: What is your favorite thing about taking your own kids to swim lessons?
A: We love seeing them learn! As we watch our kids progress in lessons, we feel the same pride that our members feel as they watch their kids!
Q: What is the best part about having a pool as a family business?
A: You can hop in the pool anytime you want! Who wouldn’t love it? It is also wonderful that our own kids get to be a part of the experience. They want to help out! This really is a family business.
Thank you to Shannon and Danelle for sharing their perspectives as both moms and experienced swim and lesson experts with us!
Do you have more questions for Danelle and Shannon? Leave your questions in the comments and our mom experts will respond!
Goldfish Swim School Cary, located at 2980 Kildaire Farm Road in Cary, serves families in the Apex, Cary and Morrisville area. Goldfish Swim School Wake Forest, located at 14660 Falls of Neuse in Wake Forest, serves families in Wake Forest, North Raleigh and surrounding areas. Both locations offer a wide range of swimming classes for all ages and skill levels at times that are convenient for every family’s schedule. Families can register for lessons by visiting the website or calling 919/435-3753 (Wake Forest) or 919/635-8950 (Cary).