Note from Kresha: Today I'm welcoming Patricia from Public Health Corps to give a quick intro to getting kids swimming. (Yay!) Patricia's passionate about this topic, as you can see from her articles, “Swimming and the Fight Against Childhood Obesity: How Diving In Can Keep Your Child Healthy” and “Healing Powers: A Guide to Using the Therapeutic Effects of Swimming to Alleviate Symptoms of Depression.” Please help me give her a warm welcome and I certainly wish you all many happy days swimming with your precious kiddos. 🙂
Some of the happiest memories from my own childhood are of spending hours splashing around with my friends at the local community pool. When I had my first child, I knew I'd want swimming to be a part of his life. Recently, I started reading more about the high risk of drowning among young people. This altogether great guide on pool safety provides some eye-opening statistics–for example, last year between Memorial Day and Labor Day at least 174 children between the ages of 1 -14 drowned.
For me, that was startling. And it made me so glad my husband and I had decided to teach our kids to swim and how to be safe in the water at such an early age. I thought it might be helpful for other parents to know more about how to introduce their children to the water.
Here are a few lessons you can use to start teaching your kids about swim safety.
Lesson One: Know when to jump in. The American Academy of Pediatrics says it is okay to start swim lessons between the ages of 1 – 4. I started “mom and me”-style swim classes with my son when he was 2. Here's a great resource that explains what you can do to begin teaching your kids to swim based on their age. Of course, the threat of drowning is always real and present. Always be within an arm's length of young children and those who aren't strong swimmers.
Lesson Two: Teach them about the many physical benefits of swimming. Often, we think of swimming as only a summer activity, but to become a strong and truly safe swimmer, I think it's important to do it year round. In order to keep your child strong and building on their skills, they'll need to swim regularly. A great way to keep your kids interested in swimming is to teach them about the activity's physical benefits. Here's a great curriculum that explains how physical activities, including swimming, benefit the body.
Lesson Three: Get active in the water. Of course, races and other swimming-based activities will help your kids become better swimmers. But if you want to spice it up, you might also have them hold on to the side of the pool to see who can kick their legs the fastest. Or try the water aerobics routine suggested by HealthyLiving.AZCentral.com.
I've seen the ways swimming has helped my own kids grow stronger, and I can't help but spread the word. If you're looking for an activity that they'll enjoy, you'll enjoy (and that tires them out!), swimming is the way to go. By helping them become strong swimmers and teaching them how to be safe around the water, you'll help ensure they can make the most of this great activity.
How have you taught your kids about water safety? Share your experiences in the comments below!