See Part 1 here...
Swim programs with certified instructors are a good way to learn to swim. I always worked with the Ameri.can Re.d Cro.ss, but I've also seen the Y.MCA program and like what they do there as well. I said yesterday, a few weeks in swim lessons aren't enough. It's important to go to the pool often and practice what your child has learned.
At first, you'll be involved in swim lessons, when you take a Parent/Child Class. You'll be in the water with them the whole time, holding and supporting them. Later though, you have to let them start taking lessons on their own. It's hard for some parents to sit back and let the instructor teach without saying anything. It's important to do this, and really important to never talk to your child during the class. Walk away and let them work it out on their own. If they are too scared to get in and participate, make them sit on the wall with the class and don't get involved.
Trust me, this is where the positive peer pressure I mentioned comes in handy. The instructor and other children will have a much easier time getting them to try things than you will. Children see their instructors as authority, whereas they view Mommy as sympathy, someone who will let them stop anything that's uncomfortable. In my many years of teaching, I upset a few parents by asking at the beginning of the lessons that they sit at least 10 yards away and do not talk to their children. But every time, by the end of the classes, they were thrilled by how much their children learned in just 2 weeks.
At the same time, it's also important to stick close enough to see what's happening. You need to watch the skills they're learning so you can help them when you practice on your own time. It's great to ask for help with your practice sessions, so if you want to talk to their teacher outside of class time, feel free to ask them what you need to work on.
Swim Lessons are a great experience, but not everyone has access to them. If you have this problem, I'll talk more about techniques tomorrow.