I absolutely loved playing in the pool when I was a kid, and I want my children to have that same love of the water. But I also want them to be safe when they are around a pool, so I had to balance fun with safety. One of the biggest ways I knew I could keep my kids safe – swim lessons.
Early introduction to water. I didn’t want to wait until my kids were the age for swim lessons and just sign them up. That might be too many new things at once for them – a pool, a large group of kids, and a swim lesson. So I began early with adventures to teach my sons that the water was a fun place to be. We started with bath time – I made it a smiling, laughing experience to them, and watching them figure out the joys of splashing was a delight. We got a water blob toy that the babies could roll around on, and they had hours of fun with that. When they were the age for early lessons, anything that involved water was fun for them. Here are more ideas about swim lessons:
- Pool Safety For Kids
- When Is A Child Ready For Swim Lessons?
- Teach Your Child To Swim
- Tips For Swim Lessons
The beginning lessons. It is suggested that children can take lessons when they are somewhere between 2 and 4 years old, and by the time they are 4, they will have developed the motor skills to begin learning basic swim strokes. I signed my kids up for these beginner lessons, and because they already saw the water as a fun place to be, they took to it wonderfully. The instructors also began to reinforce swimming safety, and it was funny to see how serious the kids looked when the instructor told them why “no running at the pool” was important.
Formal swim lessons. By the time my kids started school, they were ready for lessons which could really focus on the development of the different swim strokes, and building the confidence of the kids in what they were learning. I checked out swim schools and found the one I liked, and the instructions were very professional and focused. It wasn’t just a group of kids milling around. Each child had to show proficiency at what was being taught before the class moved on.
Stay involved. Kids love to show Mommy something new they learned, so I watched their lessons, and got to see their progress and accomplishments. As parents, we have only a limited number of bonding times with the kids, so I wanted to make the most of this one. They would show me the new stroke they learned after class was over, and I could see how proud they were. The day they took their first jump off the diving board, it was charming to see how excited they were about what they had done.
Reinforce safety. Of course, a big element of the classes involved teaching water safety. I would listen to what they were being taught, and after class, would ask them to tell me what they had learned. Then I might throw in a question from the day’s lesson. After a couple of “pop tests” my kids learned to look for the surprise question, and it became a game to see if they could answer correctly. They didn’t know it, but we were reinforcing swimming safety in a different way, and I think they learned the lessons better that way.
Continuing lessons. I plan to have the kids take intermediate and advanced swimming lessons. This is a skill that will be of benefit for a lifetime, and I want them well prepared.
As I watch the boys line up to practice a new swim stroke, it just makes me smile to see how happy they are about learning to swim.
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.