The Importance of Swim Lessons {Sponsored by Elmwood Fitness Center}

In South Louisiana we are surrounded by water, from backyard swimming pools to weekends boating to trips to the white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast. It is because of our proximity to water, as well as the natural occurrences that can happen at a moment’s notice, that teaching our children how to swim is the greatest gift we can give them. Swim lessons can give your child a sense of accomplishment, but it can also save a child’s life.

Note: this post is sponsored by Elmwood Fitness Center.

When should children start swim lessons?

Children as young as 6 months old can begin swim lessons that will allow them to become comfortable in the water. Water Babies classes revolve photo (7) around songs and simple activities that raise the child and parent’s comfort level in the water. These classes offer specific techniques and activities that can be customized to each child’s age, skill level and physical development. These activities can be practiced outside of formal class time and can also be taught to other caregivers to improve the safety of the child. Toddler and preschool level classes involve low student to instructor ratios. Children are taught basic breath control, proper body positions, effective arm and leg movements and basic lifesaving skills. Children of all ages can be taught to wear a life jacket while boating and “to reach and throw” when they see a friend in need. These skills are taught through games, rhymes, daily practice and communication with caregivers. Advanced and competitive lessons teach children endurance skills, detailed stroke techniques and more advanced lifesaving skills.

What should I look for when choosing swim lessons?

One of the most important things to look for when choosing a swim instructor is someone who holds an American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor. Instructors trained through the American Red Cross program are certified through an intensive training program and are continuously monitored and evaluated by Water Safety Instructor Trainers. American Red Cross instructors have been trained to teach every age and ability level. They also have knowledge and practice with adaptive swim procedures to meet the aquatic needs of extraordinary children. Certified swim instructors will never throw your child in the pool to “sink or swim”, nor will they leave your child languishing in terror alone on their back. Certified swim instructors have the skills and knowledge to scaffold their lessons and skills to suit the needs of each child.

Elmwood Fitness Center Offerings

At Elmwood Fitness Center, we offer a variety of programs to meet all of your family’s aquatic needs. We offer Water Babies through Adult Lessons, as well as an adaptive needs program, JoJo’s Hope. You can participate in group, semi-private, or private lessons. We look forward to being a pivotal part of your child’s New Logo och_elmwoodswimming life. Please contact Christina Offutt at 504-736-4762 to reserve your child’s place in swim lessons today!

Swimming is an important life lesson, especially here in South Louisiana, and with the right instructor your child will love swimming for the rest of their lives.

Have your children taken swim lessons? If so, where? How old were they? Did you all enjoy it?

Kristin Rich

photo(3)Kristin Rich has been a certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer for 15 years and teaches swim lessons at Elmwood Fitness Center. Kristin was born and raised in New Orleans. She and her husband are the proud parents of a 2.5 year old daughter, Madeline Cecile, and a fourth grade teacher during the winter months. Profile photo credit to Kathleen Bernard.


  1. We took Water Babies at Elmwood and really loved it. My daughter was about eigth months and it was perfect. It was good for me to learn how to get her comfortable in the water. Plus she had the best time! It is so important to get kids comfortable and knowledgable of being around water early!

  2. I am so happy that this article notes that the sink or swim thing isn’t recommended! I feel like many people still think thats the way to go. I have also heard of people blowing in their babies mouth and then dunking them??? This just doesn’t sound right to me but does anyone else have thoughts on this?

    Furthermore, we are members at Elmwood this year. We have already been to the pool several times and are loving it.

  3. I think swimming lessons is so very important for all children in the greater New Orleans area. My siblings and I were all enrolled at a very early age and took lessons for a few years until my parents were comfortable with our skills. I’m currently looking into some classes for my 22 month old daughter on the Northshore. If our schedules would have allowed, I would have enrolled her last summer! Great article for all NOLA moms!

  4. Thanks so much for all the valuable info. My mom took me to water babies when I was only 6 months old. By the age of 3 years, I was on the summer swim team and continued to swim on year round teams. My husband has been a lifeguard and swim instructor for many years, however neither of my kids (2 and 3) have had any swim lessons yet. I know how important lesson are and we will have to enroll them in some lessons this summer.


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