"How many days per week do you recommend taking swim lessons?" is a common question. Below we do our best to answer!
Learning to swim takes longer than you think
Most parent/guardians underestimate how long it takes to learn to swim. Learning to swim is a complicated process that requires swimmers to master and combine the concepts of buoyancy, breath control and balance. In group classes, the process takes months if not years (depending on frequency and duration of classes). There are so many factors involved with learning to swim such as child's age, comfort level, development, personality, body position (prior use of floaties especially), ability to respond to feedback, attention span, etc. While many of these factors are out of our control, the thing that parents can control is the number of times a child swims per week.
The more often they swim, the faster they learn
The number of classes per week has one of the biggest impacts on how long it takes to reach swimming goals. Learning how to float and swim is a developmental skill much like learning how to walk, talk, write or ride a bike. The amount of time we spend practicing directly impacts how quickly we acquire our skills.
Expectations vs. Reality
Sometimes parents come with preconceived notions about how long it takes to swim. "We have a vacation in early June, so that's why we wanted lessons in May, so they'll be ready!", "I thought my baby would be able to float by the end of their 8 classes?" or " I just want my 3 year old to be able to do the basics: swim, roll over, float, get to the side. Would one month of classes be enough?" When you ask yourself how long it takes to learn to swim, replace swimming with other skills like talking, walking, potty training, reading, tying shoes.
Imagine potty training 1 x a week for 30 minutes.. how long do you think it would take you to throw those diapers away? Or imagine sending your child to school for 30 minutes, 2 x per week, how long will it take your child to read?
We know (or we will find out!) that learning complicated skills in a trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate way takes time, patience and repetition.
Learning to swim is a process that takes several months or even years, depending on the frequency and duration of classes. If you are in a time crunch, consider privates or more frequent classes.
Frequency also helps with creating neural pathways and helping swimmers' skills become second nature.
For example, a student that trains 2 hours per week (4 classes per week) will accomplish more in those 2 hours than a student who trains 2 hours per month ( 1 class per week), even though it's the same 2 hours of time. The closer together and more frequent classes, the faster the brain and body connect and learn.
Lastly, swimming is unique in that certain concepts (breath control, buoyancy, depth) can only be explored in the water. Unlike soccer or gymnastics, where the child is always exploring running, movement and the effects of gravity, swimming uniquely requires an aquatic environment. This is why we never recommend one class per week. Repetition in an aquatic environment is key. While we encourage homework for swimmers, there is no substitution for being in class with their instructor. The biggest impact you have on how long it takes your child to learn how to swim is choosing how often to swim.
Learning to swim is a process-not an event
We hope that you have a better understanding of how many days per week you should consider swim lessons. We get this question often and wanted to give you a thorough answer! If you have any questions, email us at email@example.com.