I once heard someone say that investing in swimming lessons for your child is the best life insurance policy you can buy. Ever since, I’ve never once cringed at the monthly bill to pay my daughter’s swim courses and we rarely miss a weekly class. Despite the widely accepted belief that swimming lessons will save your child’s life, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention still reports that almost 10 people die per day from a drowning accident. Twenty five percent of those deaths are found in children younger than 14 and kids between the ages of 1-4 are at the highest risk. In fact, drowning is responsible for the most deaths in this age group next to congenital or birth-related complications. The biggest factor is that children this age often do not know how to swim.
Parents make excuses for postponing swimming lessons for a variety of reasons: they say their children are too young, they don’t live near water and don’t plan to vacation near any, their child doesn’t like getting their face or head wet, it’s too expensive or they just don’t have the time. Well we’ve come up with a list of reasons that prove swimming lessons should never be an option, and we hope it prompts you to get your kids in the pool and learning to swim.
The number one reason to engage in swimming lessons is it will save your child’s life. Knowing how to safely swim to the side of the pool and climb out are the most basic skills and are taught to children as young as 6 months old. Despite your best efforts, you cannot avoid water your entire life. Children can drown in bathtubs and kiddie pools just as easily as a backyard pool or lake. You could become distracted and lose track of your child, or an older family member may not have an adequate barrier around their pool that prevents your child from falling in. Give your child the tools of survival when it comes to water- do not keep them away from it hoping they will be alright.
It should be noted that “swimming” with floaties, puddle jumpers, life jackets or other items like boards or pool noodles is not swimming. Swimming is actually defined as being able to propel yourself through water with your arms and legs. Do not assume that your child is any more safe using props for swimming than he is without. There is no substitute for learning proper swimming techniques.
2. Respect For The Water
Swimming lessons gives your child exposure to the power of water, and how easily it can become dangerous. A simple slip off the pool steps and a quick trip underwater will show them how scary it can be, and that they should respect the water. It’s fun to play in, but they also need to have adequate swimming skills to be trusted when it comes to being near a pool.
3. Social Skills
Swim lessons are a great way for children to be social with other swimmers. Most swim classes group children of similar skill level together, and it is sweet to see how encouraging children can be of each other, even at the ages of 2 and 3. Better yet, swim lessons teach kids how to behave with others in the water, and not engage in activities that could cause harm or accidental drowning.
4. Creates A Strong Bond and Builds Trust
If you start young, you will probably be participating with your baby in the pool. While many lessons are a struggle at first, your child soon grows to trust you in the water, which inevitably creates a strong bond. Kids who trust you will listen to your directions about safety and heed warnings if the need arises.
5. Higher Confidence & Better Self-Esteem
Like any person who excels at a sport, a child knowing how to swim brings a higher level of confidence and better self-esteem. You will be surprised how much less fear pervades your trip to the pool or beach when your child is not fearful of the water. You can start swimming lessons as young as 6 months old and it’s been recognized that the younger a child is, the more comfort and confidence they will have in the water- even more than children who start at 4 years or older.
6. Become Better Listeners
One of the most important non-swimming skills a child can learn is to listen to their swim teacher. Very soon into their lessons, your child will come to trust their teacher as they guide and protect them in the water. Firm teachers sometimes get a bad rap, but they are usually the ones who care the most and are teaching your children to respect the water like they do.
7. Develop Better Coordination, Flexibility and Strength
In case you didn’t realize, swimming is hard work and requires a lot of coordination. It may seem simple to those who have been doing it for years, but a child learning to both kick their legs and move their arms in a way that results in actual swimming is the result of many hours spent in the pool. Kids who swim develop strength and flexibility in the water as they learn the various types of strokes and techniques of swimming.
8. Excellent Source Of Exercise
There are few better nap times then those that follow a good swim lesson. Swimming allows your kids to use muscles they don’t normally use, especially babies who cannot crawl or walk yet. Knowing how to swim also opens up many more water activities that require adequate water safety, like paddle boarding, surfing and kayaking.