Almaden Valley Athletic Club®

Tips For Success

Tips for Swimming Success

What should I do before my child’s lessons begin?
How can I help while my child is learning to swim?
Why swim year round?
Why is my child crying during his/her lesson?
May I watch the lessons? Are parents allowed on the pool deck?
My child has been at the same level this long?!? Is this normal?
When will my child be water safe?

Some Tips for our Barnacles and Parent Tot lessons 

Before lessons begin

  • Talk to your child about the upcoming experience. Talk and listen. Acknowledge any fears, and help your child overcome them.
  • Encourage your child.
  • Visit our pool before child's lessons begin. You both will be able to see the environment. Although an appointment is not necessary, it's best to call our office to find the best time for a visit.
  • Physically prepare your child. This could include showers with a parent, washcloth play during bath time, dribbling water over the child's head. Don't try to keep the face dry.
  • Encourage water play in the bathtub, including getting your child's face wet
  • Allow your child to choose his or her own swimsuit, towel, flip-flops. Give them some control over the upcoming event.
  • Support the teacher/child bond.

Continue to play an active role while your child is learning to swim . . .

  • Be aware that children develop at different rates. Age and physical maturation may affect how rapidly skills are acquired.
  • We value your input. If at any time you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to come out on the deck.
  • Encourage each advance however minor it may seem to you.
  • Homework may be assigned. Encourage practice time. Many repetitions are required to perfect some skills.
  • "Classroom” behavior will be expected. Please reinforce the teacher's rules.

We specialize in getting to know your family. If you have any further questions, please contact 408.267.4032. We realize that each child is special, with unique strengths and weaknesses. With this in mind, we will do our best to foster a relationship with your child that will enable him or her to succeed - both in and out of the pool. As a parent, you have special insight into your child's personality. Please share that with us.

Back to top »

Why swim year round?

Unlike many other sports, swimming is available to children all year long! Learning to swim is a continuous process that takes place over the span of one’s life. Physical, emotional, and social growth throughout the childhood years allow swimming skills to develop and improve on a constant basis. To master a skill, a child must repeat the skill over and over; to retain that skill the child must be exposed to it on a regular basis. Year round swimming provides that regular skill maintenance. Our experience tells us that children that swim regularly year round have greater skill retention and more forward progress. Keep swimming!

Back to top »

Why is my child still crying?

Crying is one of the distinct behaviors that we see in many young children that are just beginning swimming lessons. It is a normal response to a new situation. Unfortunately, the behavior may persist beyond the first day of class, which can be frustrating to you as a parent. Some reasons why your child may be crying are: separation anxiety, unfamiliar surroundings, prior negative experience with water, and sensation of water in their ears.
Some things to remember as a parent:


  • Acknowledge their fear and talk to them about it
  • Offer continued support and encouragement
  • Reinforce desired behaviors
  • Practice skills at home (bathtub or pool)

Do Not:

  • Scold children for crying
  • Discontinue lessons altogether
  • Allow your anxiety to show through to your child
Back to top »

May I watch the lessons? Are parents allowed on the pool deck?

Yes. Gallery seating is provided for your comfort. For siblings [7 months to six years] we also provide access to AVAC's ChildCare facility for a nominal hourly rate. We always encourage parents to take an active role in their child’s swimming progress. Any specific questions or concerns regarding the class or the child’s ability may be directed to the Site Manager or Deck Supervisor. We do, however, place great importance on the teacher/student rapport, and the teacher’s ability to concentrate on the class. For that reason we ask that you watch from the gallery to avoid any means of distraction. In order to limit foot traffic and maintain cleanliness, we ask that you access the shower area through the locker rooms, not across the pool deck.

Back to top »

My child has been at the same level this long?!? Is this normal?

Just as walking, potty training and reading all come at different age and rates of acquisition, so does swimming. There is no deadline. There are MANY factors which contribute to your child’s progression including, but not limited to: age, size, frequency of swimming, when they started learning to swim, parents’ comfort in the water, and what other physical activities they participate in. If at any point you are concerned or have questions regarding your child’s progress, please discuss it with a Site Manager or a Deck Supervisor.

Back to top »

When will my child be water safe?

First off, it is important to note that a child does not develop the cognitive ability to determine what is “safe” until later childhood. For that reason, we do not advertise that our program makes children water safe. However, safety skills are an integral part of our swimming program and are addressed in every level, every class. When your child will learn and master each safety skill depends on the same factors listed in the previous question. Safety skills do not end with water time, though. As participants of the Safer 3 organization we encourage families to take an active role in drowning preventions. Steps just as swim lessons, barriers for backyard pools, and CPR training for supervising adults all help decrease the likelihood of the number one cause of death for children: Drowning.

Back to top »

Some informational websites: