After hearing some friends talk about the swim lessons their kids were taking (referred to affectionately as swim lesson "boot camp"), I figured it was worth a shot. My main goal was to get him over the fear of water on his face. My second goal was for him to learn a few things that would save him if he ever fell in a pool. Perhaps backwards, but at that point, I just wanted to be able to wash his hair without a major meltdown.
Last year, we signed him up, and he was very excited to take swim lessons... until he got in the pool. Cue 28 minutes of crying (the lesson was 30 minutes long). The second day, I had to pin him to the floor to get his swim trunks on him. The crying only last about 15 minutes that day. Progress. The third day, I thought my ears deceived me as I heard no wailing at all... No, I couldn't see him... I was sitting in the car... in the driveway... (such are the rules of swimming boot camp when your kid is a crying mess or easily distract-able). I was pretty happy at the end of those first two weeks that I could successfully wash his hair without tears.
This Summer, or more accurately Spring (as Sam's purple lips and shivering limbs would attest on a couple of days), we did another round of lessons. Over the winter, Sam had regressed a bit and started to panic about water on his face again. This time, there were no tears. I sat amazed every day at all he was able to accomplish. Oh, and this time, I sat at the side of the pool... rewards for no crying and being brave.
I still can't believe this is Sam in this video. The kid who would panic and ask for a towel to wipe his face every other minute in the bathtub just two weeks prior. As the instructor says at the end of the video, he's a natural!
If that isn't solid proof of the benefits of private, one-on-one swim lessons, I don't know what is...