Guest post- Swim Lessons

This is a great post by a great friend, one that every parent should read:
Why Kids Swim Lessons Are Essential
When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the water. I loved being in it or around it, and wanted to be at the pool with my friends whenever I could. I want to foster that same enjoyment of the water for my kids, but I believe safety is a big issue. That will mean signing them up for swim lessons, just like my Mom did for me.

The safety factor. It’s just a reality that being around water has inherent risks. Unintentional drowning is one of the greatest causes of death in small children. It is suggested that formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent. Even though I will supervise my children carefully around the water when they are small, good water skills provide another layer of protection in keeping them safe. Here are some great resources with more information:

A gradual introduction. If I just take my child to a first swim lesson, and they haven’t been around the water, that’s a lot for them to take in at once. It made good parenting sense to me that my children would benefit from a gradual introduction to the water. I wanted to see how they responded, because not all kids react the same to the water. We had to take baths anyway, so I smiled and laughed a lot while bathing them, to reinforce the water as a positive place. The joy of splashing was especially fun for them to learn.

The first class. When my first child was about six months old, I signed up for Mommy and Me classes. I found a class taught by someone who had studied child development, and she tailored the class to the babies. It was a great way to let my child find out about the water, and learn a few basic skills, like floating on his back while I held my hands under him. He enjoyed playing with the other babies, and I bonded with the Moms. It was a wonderful experience.
The hesitant child. My second child who I could easily see becoming a researcher some day wasnt so sure about this water thing. He wanted to study the whole process. I felt a class would move a little too quickly for him, so we did the introduction to the pool in a different way. We took him to our community pool (wearing swim diapers, of course) and my husband sat with him back from the water, just holding him and letting him watch. I went into the water and laughed, splashed and played. Patience was the key, and was rewarded when he finally reached out to me, and I took him in my arms. Now, hes just as much in love with the water as his brother. Im glad we went slow.

Formal lessons. We decided to sign our kids up for lessons in the fall. We felt the classes would be smaller, and the kids would be back into the "school" mindset and be more receptive to learning. Let’s face it, during the summer, they just want to be playing with their buddies. I went and watched a lesson in progress, and asked the instructor for his credentials. It is suggested that kids are ready for lessons when they are 3 to 4 years of age, and that’s when we started. We have continued with intermediate and advanced lessons, and I have watched the confidence of my kids steadily grow in the water.
I smile when I watch how relaxed my boys are in the water swim lessons have given them a skill that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

1 comment

  1. Hi Terri! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Thanks so much for the opportunity to be a guest blogger. It was great fun!


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