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When Should your Child Learn how to Swim?

Updated on June 12, 2016
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I am a teacher and (foster/adoptive) mom, so life has presented me with many challenges. Now, I hope my articles will help others.

Stop the Poor Excuses!

Enter your child in swimming now! Just last year, my family and I vacationed at Pompano Beach, FL, and my daughter was enrolled in the Funky Fish Ocean Day Camp for the week; on the last day, the camp takes the kids snorkeling in 25-35 feet of water, and you could pay extra to go with your child. I chose to pay for my husband to go with our daughter (because I would never send her by herself in that situation), and he came back to tell me that when he was in the water, he noticed two little girls looking over the edge over the boat. Then, it of the girls fell into the water. My husband said she was panicking, and didn't seem to know how to swim. My husband went to her rescue, and brought her back on the boat. He said if he hadn't been there, he doesn't think anyone would've even noticed it happened, and he didn't think the parents of this child was there. What if this were your child? What if I hadn't paid for my husband and child to go that day? This child could have drowned. Another experience that I had was many years ago, I visited a freshwater beach,and while I was there, someone could not find their child. With the child nowhere in-site, the lifeguards directed everyone out of the water, except those willing to help form a chain to walk through the water to try to see if they could find the child (or body). I was part of this chain, and I was worried the entire time; in one way, I did not want to find the child in the water, and in another way, I wanted the child to be found. This was a scary experience, but luckily, the child was found, alive and safe, out of the water, but what if this were your child? Does your child know how to swim? Recently, I have had several adults tell me that they don't know how to swim themselves, but that shouldn't mean that their children do not get to learn! If you are an adult who does not know how to swim, it could be your child who is in the position to save your life one day, or you may be the only one in the presence of your child in-need, and not able to save him/her. You BOTH should learn how to swim (it's never to late).

The other day, I conversed with a nice older woman, who informed me that she did not truly know how to swim, even though she had some lessons when she was a child. She explained that she DOES value the importance of swimming skills, but she just never goes into the water. My response was, "but what if you ever accidentally end up in water?" She actually agreed with me. This example is a good relation to parents who do not have basic skills, and because they are fearful that if their children learn to swim, they could possibly swim out to far, out of the parents' reach, but I say that is a POOR EXCUSE. There are many locations with lifeguards, and other good swimmers, who could help these parents in these types of situations. If you are one of these parents, you need to start thinking about how your child's skills could HELP SAVE YOU, your child, or another person's life one day.

I have also heard parents say that their children do not need swimming lessons because their neighbor had a pool. What? That's a POOR EXCUSE. If anything, this should be MORE of a reason to put your child in swimming lessons. What if your child falls in the pool when you are not home? What if your child sneaks in the pool, and then sinks below, or falls asleep? Without the necessary skills, YOUR CHILD COULD DROWN, IF HE/SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO SWIM.

POOR EXCUSE NUMBER THREE: Swimming is too expensive. My response is, "no, it's not." Many YMCA's have financial aid/discount options for prospective members, and some YMCA's offer youth memberships, in which just your child can have his/her own membership, without you having one. In our case, we went this route for about two years, and only had to pay $11.66/month, which still gave us the member prices for many programs there, and although we had to pay for swimming lessons, they were only about $26-40 per session, and that was without financial aid (different Y's have different rates, though, so check with your local YMCA). Additionally, your child's life should be worth more than the cost of swimming lessons. SOME YMCA'S OFFER A FREE SWIM-SAFETY WEEK EACH SUMMER, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. YOU JUST HAVE TO REGISTER YOUR CHILD. This particular week focuses on life-saving skills for beginning, non-swimmers. My own daughter started out by attending this event two years ago, and now she has reached the "Shark" level, which is the most advanced level at the YMCA. If there is no YMCA near you, check with other pools near you (especially during the summer),and if there truly is nothing near you, check YouTube and/or your apps on your cell phone (by the way, your cell phone bill is probably more than the cost of swimming lessons at a YMCA), because there are even virtual swimming lessons these days!

Swimming lessons are often offered to very young ages of children, but even before your child might be ready, you should carefully expose them to water (safely, in your arms, under your supervision, etc.), so they become accustomed to that environment, so, if you are one of the parents that I have mentioned above, please know that my intention is for the sake of your child, so STOP THE POOR EXCUSES, AND FIND A WAY! PUT YOUR CHILD IN SWIMMING LESSONS NOW!

The Value of Swimming

The number one most important value of swimming is that is it a LIFE-SAVING SKILL. Even if you (or your child) only have basic knowledge of swimming, it just might be enough to save someone's life one day. Even animals have saved human lives by swimming. If your animal can do it, so can you, and so can your child.

In addition to swimming being a life-saving skill, it has many health benefits. It is a great cardiovascular exercise (it's good for your heart), and if done regularly, it could also help someone lose weight (it's important to keep in-mind, though, that it is never good to lose too much weight; everyone should aim to be in the healthy weight range for their heights and/or ages).

Finally, people (especially kids) usually think swimming is fun! In the summer, people cool off in pools, as well as attend/have pool parties, and kids make new friends. If your child makes it as far as a swim team, congrats to him/her! It is a great team-building sport, and learning experience for your child, so get your child swimming lessons today!

Why your Kid Should not Miss Out

Don't hold your child back by not allowing swimming lessons, especially if he/she is begging for them. If you allow your child to be held back from learning this important skill, he/she will most like be uncomfortable at pool parties (or chose not to attend), miss out on seeing and/or being in the ocean, going fishing, etc., and if your child is missing out on the true experiences of these events, then he/she is also missing out on developing important friendships. There is no negative to swimming. Everyone should know how to swim, so if you or your child do not currently know how, enroll in lessons now (some YMCA's also have adult lesson)!


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