I had 3 kids in 3 years. Life was crazy, chaotic and unpredictable.
My older kids at the time were almost 5 and 4 when we tried to put them in swimming lessons. They were terrified of getting bath water in their eyes, so we thought swimming lessons would help. Plus, everyone ELSE put their 4 and 5 yr olds in swimming lessons.
It was a nightmare. Sneezy, my 4 yr old threw a fit and wouldn’t get in the pool. Bashful, my 5 yr old did better, but was still terrified to put his head under. I sat on the side with my 4 yr old while keeping my 2 yr old, Grumpy, out of the water!
Time went on and my husband and I became anti lessons. It seemed silly to put our kids in lessons when they wouldn’t get their face wet!
My husband started looking up pools online. He found that Walmart has a stand up pool that was 3 feet deep and required minimal maintenance and chemicals. We spent $47 on the pool and probably another $50 in chemicals and supplies like a cover, and bug catcher thingy.
We bought our first one in 2014. During that summer my older two kids Bashful and Sneezy ended up becoming comfortable putting their heads under water! They were doing half head stands and half flips by the end of 2014. However, the youngest, Grumpy, was finally happy to get in as long as she had a floatie (even though she could touch just fine) or a noodle to hang onto.
Fast forward one year to 2015. We bought another pool (because for $50 it wasn’t worth it to keep, clean and dry out the previous one) and had left over chemicals and supplies from the year before.
Same pool same set up.
Bashful and Sneezy were hesitant at first to get in all the way, and Grumpy was in no way going to get in. As the first 2 weeks of the hot summer drug on, the older two regained their water confidence and were quickly back to flipping and getting completely wet. Grumpy was still hesitant, granted, she was just 4 still.
One day, Sneezy’s friend came over. She had taken swimming lessons and took it upon herself to teach Grumpy to go under water. Within 20 minutes, Grumpy was able and comfortable to go under water!!!!
The next week we bought a water park pass and spent most of the time at the water park. The older kids took a brief 2 week swimming lesson, but were the most proficient kids in their class…. good thing we paid for those lessons at ages 4 and 5.
This year, we bought another pool pass. All of my kids are now able to go on the water slides, even 5 yr old GRUMPY (she’s really tall for her age) who has never had an official swimming lesson.
Now, Grumpy isn’t deep-end certified yet. But Sneezy and Bashful, all on their own, decided they could swim in the deep end last year. So since then, they enjoy completing the blow up obstacle course and play for hours on the diving board! This summer it is a goal to get Grumpy comfortable in the deep end.
So if you need your kids to get comfortable with the water, have room in your back yard, an extra $100, and are willing to put in some work to take care of something, get the small $50 pool from Walmart!!! In total we spent $150-$200 (I doubt we even came close to $200) and were able to go from 3 kids being petrified of water in their faces and holding their breath, to 3 kids swimming comfortably all while this mama can relax in a lounge chair and watch the fun!