Disclaimer: My two alternatives are tailored to beginning swimmers or younger children. Those kids who need actual stroke instruction or are ready for the butterfly probably won’t benefit from these alternatives.
I have 3 young children who’s ages are close in range- (6, 5 and 3). With the kids so close it was such a hassle to take them all to the pool, especially as the pre-school aged child was a toddler. I was loosing my mind “baby chasing” around the pool, while the oldest child was jumping on the platform (not allowed) and the middle child cried the whole time (just simply annoying) because she didn’t want to get her face wet.
So naturally, I gave up.
Lessons were expensive (65 dollars per kid per session)… kids only get about 5ish minutes of one on one time with the instructor per class (for 8 classes that’s a whole 40 minutes)…. essentially I was paying $130 for 80 minutes of “swim lessons” or $1.50 per minute for two kids…. OUTRAGEOUS! Especially when they wouldn’t even put their face in the water!
Screw it- I figured they can learn how to swim when they are twenty!
But at the beginning of this summer I started to fret a bit because, the kids were getting older and are more able to do some fun things…. like fairs, amusement parks and my favorite… WATER PARKS— but if only they could swim.
I sat down and budgeted out lessons for the summer and I couldn’t stomach the thought of spending another $130 dollars for 80 minutes of swim instruction— for ONE session… you know the session where they make bubbles and do the alligator or shark or whatever they call it…
Then my husband (who solves most problems in our house) said….”why not buy a pool?”
“Cause it’s a lot of work? And expensive?” I replied….
He looked them up and Walmart sold an Intex 10 ft in diameter pool that was 3 ft deep for the cost of one session of lessons for one kid (60ish dollars at the time- in May). Then of course we calculated the cost of filling it and the chemicals and cover to keep it clean…. the total came to a little more than $150.00. He reminded me that it was the time that was spent in the pool that made the kids comfortable with the water. If we had a pool in our back yard, we’d probably be surprised at how much they’d use it.
Within the first week (even right after my son had his tonsils removed) those kids were doing flips under water, swimming around, and having breath holding competitions! I highly doubt it would have happened had we just done swimming lessons. They spent over 10 hours that first week in the pool. And have enjoyed it all summer!
My friend has a swimming pool in her “gated” community and also has a large number of children. Her children are a bit older and more advanced in their water skills than mine are. She knows a young teenager who has worked as a life guard before. We were talking once again about swimming lessons and I told her what I did this year with the Intex pool. She said that her yard wouldn’t accomodate room for play and a larger pool like I had.
So I suggested for her to pay the teenager for private lessons. My friend offered to pay the teenager $70 dollars for the week for 5 hours of lessons, 1 hour per day of lessons which are 20 minutes per hour of one on one lessons for 3 kids. So that is 14 dollars per hour and the kids get 1:40 of private instruction per week.
Such a better deal than group lessons. Plus the one on one lessons will accelerate her kids’ ability quickly.
So there you have it… two ways to beat the swimming lesson racket at the local aquatic center- bummer summer is pretty much over— but they’re good ideas to keep in mind for next year!