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Thursday, May 17, 2018 by Robert Canales

“Don’t Be…That Dad”: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Taking Their Child to a Swim Lesson

Many dads go through life without experiencing taking their kid/kids to a swim lesson. More and more Dad’s are taking part in getting their kids to and from swim lessons. We are seeing almost as many “Swim Dads” on the pool deck as we see “Swim Moms”. If you are a Dad that has recently taken on the responsibility of taking your child/children to their swim lesson or if you are a dad wanting to be a part of this experience here are some helpful pointers that will prepare you, help you to survive the experience, and avoid being labeled “That Dad”.😊.

How early should I arrive at our lesson?

Good question Dad, this depends on whether you plan to arrive with your kiddo “swim ready- bathing suit on, swim cap and goggles ready” to jump in the pool (highly recommended) or if you need time to change your kiddo upon arrival. If your child arrives “swim ready”, then about 15 minutes prior to when the lesson starts is probably fine. This short wait will allow your child to get their mind ready for swim lessons. If you are bringing your child straight from school or somewhere else and need to change then you should aim for a minimum of arriving 20 minutes before your lesson start time to get your child changed and settled before lessons begin. Don’t be “That Dad” that arrives late, scrambling to get their kid in the water after the lesson has started😊.


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What is my kid supposed to wear for their swim lesson?

Another good question Dad, this is a not so obvious question as we get asked this a lot. If you are coming for your child’s Parent-N-Me class then the baby should wear a disposable swim diaper with their swimsuit on top. ATTENTION DAD’S – A DISPOSABLE "SWIM" DIAPER is not the same thing as normal disposable diaper your child wears outside the water. Disposable swim diapers are specially made for pool activity and can usually be found at retail stores like Target or Walmart. If you put your child in a regular disposable diaper your child will end up with a rather large load in their diaper as it absorbs the pool water. We also recommend that you look into reusable “swim” diapers to help avoid any accidents in the pool. If you have an older kiddo then they just need a swimsuit, swim cap, goggles and rash guard (if they prefer to wear one, but not necessary). If your child likes to wear a rash guard, make sure it is not too baggy. Baggy rash guards can create drag in the water and make it difficult for your child to swim. If your child has long hair make sure they wear a swim cap to keep their hair out of their eyes while they are swimming. Also, make sure your kiddos have their goggles. Don’t be, “That Dad”, that brings their kid unprepared for their swim lesson😊.


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OK, I got my kid in the water for their lesson, now what do I do?

Great question Dad, and an easy one to answer: WATCH THE LESSON. Your child is learning a Life Skill. In every lesson they are achieving a life milestone(s)…whether it is blowing nose bubbles, completing a BOB, back floating for the first time, earning a ribbon, etc. Don’t miss that magical moment when your kid accomplishes something they never thought they would do or completes that skill that they were terrified to try. Be engaged, smile at them, be encouraging, give them a thumbs up, etc.. Show them that you are watching them and that you are 100% engaged. These “first-time” moments happen once, don’t miss out. Your boss’s email can wait for 30 minutes, that social media check-in can wait, the game can wait, etc. Don’t be “That Dad” that misses that “first-time” moment of achievement😊.


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The lesson is over, now what?

Another easy one, Dad. Get your child’s towel ready, open it up so you can wrap them in it when they get over to you. Don’t be, “That Dad”, that is scrambling to open the swim bag, spilling snacks, clothes, etc. all over the place while you dig around for that towel…all the while your child stands there shivering. While the water is warm, the air temperature is rather cool. So be prepared. While they are drying off, ask them about their lesson, what did they do well? What do they need to work on for next time? Give them feedback on your observations, be positive. Don’t be “That Dad” that’s not ready to get their kid dried off and warm because you were preoccupied😊.


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Well, that is it, Dad. If you can get through those 4 situations successfully then you are in good shape and certainly earn your “Dad of the Day” accolades.

pool-917604_960_720Robert and his wife Dulcie own, operate, and teach at SafeSplash locations in the San Antonio, TX area.