Posted in Parenting

Write For Me Wednesday – Why Your Child Needs Swim Lessons

Today, I have a wonderful guest post to share with you on a subject that I find very important.  The author, Becky Flanigan, enjoys writing for An Apple Per Day, and focuses on exercise and parenting. She is looking forward to the day when her last child leaves the nest, so she and her husband Ed can start traveling. She would love to lounge around a cruise ship pool, with no family chores to worry about.

I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did.

Why Your Child Needs Swim Lessons

I freely admit I must have been a water baby – I just love being in the pool any chance I get. When we started our family, I wanted my children to be exposed to the water early, so they could enjoy all the pleasures it has to offer. But I wanted them to be safe as well, so I did a lot of research about swim lessons.

Early exposure. When we took our first son out to the pool, my husband held him while I went into the water and splashed around, laughing joyously. He was so excited, he reached out for me, and quickly fell in love with the water. Our second child was more hesitant, so we let him adjust at his own pace. Not all kids will respond the same way to the water, and we wanted it to be a positive experience for them, so we didn’t rush things. Here are some wonderful resources with more information about kids and swimming:

Mom or a swim instructor? I gave some thought about teaching my kids to swim. The general rule is that by the time the child is 4 years old, they have the motor skills to begin formal swim lessons. My boys are so headstrong (they get it from their Dad) that I thought this was a place where Mom trying to teach them something just wouldn’t work. Especially as they grew older and took more advanced swim lessons, I would be out of my element anyway. So the decision for formal lessons from an instructor was pretty easy. It was quite a joy to see how well they behaved for the instructor – he had a presence that just made them pay attention. I’m thinking of hiring him to get the boys to clean their rooms.

Check out the lessons. Not all swim lessons are the same, so we visited the class we were thinking about for the kids, to make sure it was handled correctly. They had a lifeguard overseeing the class, they had a pole and ring buoy in place in case they were needed. We asked the instructor, and he showed us his Red Cross certification and his card that showed he knew CPR. Then we watched a class. It was so businesslike that we felt very comfortable with it. They had a purpose for what they were showing the kids, and they weren’t just letting the kids splash around in the water.

A lifetime skill. I wanted my boys to know how to swim, because it was a skill they would need all through their lives. When they were young, we would be taking trips to the beach, they would be hanging out with their friends at the community pool, and after they grew up, who knows where they might be around the water. I wanted them to have the confidence and comfort to know they could handle themselves in the water.

It’s really about safety. They talk about protecting children around the water as being not just one thing – but taking a number of steps to provide for their safety. Since we had a home pool, we put a fence around it, got alarms and a locking gate. But I read an article by the Center For Disease Control which stated that the best solution for keeping a child safe was formal swimming lessons. Since drowning is an alarmingly common problem for young kids, that further convinced me that lessons were in order.

As I watch the boys in our back yard pool playing games with their friends, I smile because of how comfortable they look in the water. I’m so glad we gave them swim lessons.

Thanks again, Becky, for this wonderful post!

Do your children do swim lessons?  When did they start?

Author:

Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

One thought on “Write For Me Wednesday – Why Your Child Needs Swim Lessons

  1. Our first two grew up in a pool. (I loved our pool and look forward to living again where it is reasonable to have one.) They could navigate well, but we had an instructor come to our pool to teach them also. Something I realized, or thought about, is that a child may know how to swim and still drown. Why? Panic. So as we would swim or go about life and my children would panic or freak out about something, I’d remind them the importance of being calm and using their resources. Panic will sink them faster in a pool (and life) than just about anything else. I think swim lessons are valuable, and I still vividly remember mine as a child at our YMCA.

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