By Teri Carnicelli
Few things are as much fun as splashing around a backyard pool or shooting down a water slide at a big water park, but not every child is confident about taking the plunge.
“For some children, the idea of getting in the water and trying to swim can be a bit frightening,” says K.J. Hales, author of “It’s Hard to Swim,” the second and most recent addition to the Life’s Little Lessons by Ellie the Wienerdog educational picture book series.
“But with the proper positive reinforcement, they can overcome their fears and discover just how much fun swimming can be,” Hales points out.
May is National Water Safety Month, a good time for parents to consider teaching their children how to swim. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports swimming lessons for most children 4 years and older. Water safety classes can also reduce the risk of drowning in younger children, the pediatrics group reports, but advises that because children develop at different rates, not all will be ready to swim at the same age.
North Central families have several options to choose from when looking for a place to take their children for swimming lessons.
Since 1998, thousands of babies, toddlers, and children from all over the Valley have learned how to swim and developed a love for the water as a result of taking lessons at the Hubbard Family Swim Schools, including the Phoenix location at 13832 N. 32nd St. Weekly group and semi-private swim lessons are available, as well as a drop-in program, and a custom program for children with special needs. The school also offers a competitive rec team program during the summer that emphasizes fun and success.
To get the summer swim season started, Hubbard offers “Four-Day Blitz Lessons” from May 22-Aug. 3. These weekly swim lessons occur on four consecutive days in one specific week. These special swim lessons are held for 30-minutes at the same time each day. You can sign up for one week at a time. Choose a week where your child can make all four lessons in a row. These daily blitz lessons are a great way for children to tune up their swimming skills and improve their strokes this summer. Cost is $78 per week for ages 3 and older; $115 per week for semi-private classes for ages 24 – 36 months. For more information, call 602-971-4044 or visit www.hubbardswim.com.
Aqua Tots, founded in Scottsdale in 1991, has a swim school located at the southwest corner of 12th Street and Northern Avenue. Swim lessons are available in groups, from age 4 months (with parent) to 4 years and older. Levels include beginner to advanced. There also is a swim club and a swim team for more experienced children to join. For more information, call 602-753-5101 or visit www.aqua-tots.com.
The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation also offers swim lessons to children as young a 6 months through adulthood, at is various city pools, including at Sunnyslope Pool, 301 W. Dunlap Ave., and Washington Pool, 6655 N. 23rd Ave.
Summer swim lessons are offered in four sessions, beginning June 5 and continuing through July 27. Swimming lesson sessions meet for two weeks, Monday through Thursday, for 35 minutes. Cost is $15 per swimmer, per session. Recreational swim and dive teams also are available. For more information, call 602-262-7165 (Sunnyslope) or 602-262-7198 (Washington).