By Rachel Sobel, blogger of

I’m not a neurotic parent. I can (slightly) deviate from routine. Not everything in my pantry is organic and gluten-free, and I don’t have sticker charts in every room for positive reinforcement. But there is one thing that gets me every time. The pool.

Here in South Florida, there are probably more houses with swimming pools than with cable. It keeps your kids occupied, but it scares me more than Miley Cyrus’ choices. I am not that parent who’s lax while their kid cannonballs like a champ. I have my laser eyes focused at all times.

My daughter has had so many swim lessons that I don’t understand how she hasn’t sprouted fins. She’s a great swimmer and is comfortable in the pool, but it wasn’t always that way. I realized that it is on us as parents to help develop that comfort, but, ironically, the swim lessons that really work are not always the most comfortable to watch.

I vividly remember my own swim lessons at age 5—and by lessons, I mean I was thrown in the water over and over and over, until it stuck.

Cut to my turn as a parent, and it was no different. The teacher (known as Ms. Nancy around Boca) came to my house and told me to trust her and that my daughter would be swimming in five days, but I may need to fight my urge to jump into the pool. Fight my urge?! What’s going to happen?! She didn’t throw my child in; she gently let her go. I held my breath and watched as she sank a little, and I broke a few nails digging them into the chair.

But it worked. On day two, she found her way to the wall, albeit crying the whole time. The only way I could ensure that I wouldn’t be two steps behind her at pool parties with a giant red lifeguard float was to make sure she knew how to swim and well. There are great resources in and around Boca to turn your kid into a little fish and to give you peace of mind, so take advantage of them:
• Ms. Nancy, aka Nancy Nicholson (561.329.3949)
• Florida Swim School (
• Quality Swimming (
• Baby Otter Swim School (