“Are you ready to get in the water? It’s time to go splashy-splashy!”
My one-year-old started kicking his legs, waving his arms, and giggling as soon as he heard me use our silly word for ‘swimming.’
We had only been enrolled in lessons at Goldfish Swim School for a short time, but he knew exactly what was about to happen. His excitement level? Off the charts!
I grinned and handed my swim-diaper-clad baby to my husband.
They headed into the pool area together and started singing the Hello song with the teacher. I settled into a seat in the viewing area to watch.
My thoughts drifted back to our very first experience at Goldfish…
I’ll be honest–I had high expectations when we started swim lessons.
Yes, I want my infant to be comfortable in the water and (eventually) learn to swim. But recent research suggests that year-round swim lessons offer so much more than that, including:
- Increased brain development
- Improved motor development, strength, and coordination
- Greater memory capacity
- Accelerated cognitive development (including a statistically higher IQ!)
- Stronger social confidence and independence
As a mama who wants the very best for her little one, that list alone was enough to convince me that we needed to seriously consider getting our baby in the pool–and soon!
But many of these benefits are long-term. Could swim lessons offer us anything right away?
The Goldfish Experience
Walking into the colorful, vibrant atmosphere of Goldfish for the first time brought an instant smile to my face. The staff, students, and parents were all buzzing with positive energy–and it was contagious!
The building wasn’t huge, but it offered everything we needed:
- A wall of changing rooms (some with Bumbo seats for little ones)
- Showers for a post-swim rinse
- Swimsuit dryers
- Storage cubbies
- Plenty of seats in the viewing area
- Extra towels, swimsuits, goggles, and swim diapers, and snacks for sale (for those of us who have a tendency to leave important things at home)
The class sizes were small– a 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio for group classes and a 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio for baby classes.
And outside of classes, they also offered several weekly “Family Swim” times, where the whole family could enjoy the pool together.
Unexpected Side Effects
Most structured activities geared toward parent-infant bonding take place during weekdays–which means working parents are forced to miss out.
Nobody has to miss out at Goldfish. We were thrilled to discover that they offer Saturday lessons! My husband jumped at the chance to be the one in the pool with our son during the class and has assumed that role on a near-permanent basis ever since.
“I love that he wants to be close to me. He holds onto my arms and it finally feels like he really needs me,” my husband shared one week on our way home.
This might not sound like a big deal– but it’s a big deal!
My baby can be a little (okay, a LOT) clingy at the end of the day and not interested in playing when my husband gets home from work. It’s been hard to find ways for them to bond when they just don’t have much time together.
Swim lessons ended up being the perfect solution.
My boys can spend time together on the weekend doing something they both LOVE. My husband feels needed, my baby feels safe, and their attachment grows every week. I call that a total win!
We’ve even started extending our family time by going to brunch together afterward, which is a delightful bonus.
I never thought I’d think of swim lessons as such a valuable, warm part of our family experience, but it’s something we all look forward to each week. I’m so glad we decided to take the plunge!