We know you love your child. And we know you pack anything they need for the pool. We've seen your trunks. But we also know that if you could just get rid of the swimmies and the tubes you pack in the bag and lug to the pool you would be a much happier camper.
When your child does not know how to swim, not only do you need to bring all the extra equipment, but you have to be in the water with your child every time s/he wants to be there holding him/her up...and let's face it... sometimes the water is just a little too chilly and the kids are a little too splashy for you to enjoy yourself.
So, that being said, many parents pose the question: "What is a good age to put my child in swim lessons"? The answer is around 3 -4 years depending on how much your child likes water. Even though there are swim classes for children as young as 6 months, these are really there just to get your child adapted to the water and there is no need for you to spend your money on them. Children who are about 3 years old begin to explore the water more freely and experiment with going under water and kicking their feet etc. As they get closer to 4 years old most children who are not afraid of the water are ready to swim. If your child is one of those children who goes under water and loves to be in it, then you may want to consider finding some lessons.
The best thing to do is sign up for private swim lessons. Many parents put there children in group lessons where their children get about 5 minutes of personal time once you factor in the other 5 or more kids in the group getting a turn. It is best to hire a swim instructor that works at your pool and use your money for private lessons where your child will get personalized attention for 30 minutes.
You should watch these lessons and listen in to all the key terms like "talk to the fish" and "listen to the fish" so that when you practice with your child you use the same cues that the instructor uses.
Once your child is proficient in the water, if they are young, it may be a good idea to go in the water with them or at least be sitting on the side of the pool depending on the skill level just to be on the safe side. And as you sit there knowing you and your child are free from swimmies and floaties and tubes, you can bask in the sun and enjoy watching your water baby show off her/his new skills.