Every child should learn to swim – for safety reasons alone. Swimming lessons with a professionally trained swimming instructor are a valuable investment for the future.
Swimming lessons for more safety
For most families, summer is a time for splashing and swimming in pools and lakes. That’s why it’s so important to take steps that will ensure the security and health of the whole family – so that a happy day in the water doesn’t end in tragedy. There’s more to water safety than simply applying sunscreen and making sure everyone stays hydrated.
Especially for children, water safety is crucial. According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of death worldwide. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recently published a report on drowning deaths in the US. It states that 163 children drowned in spas and pools in the summer of 2017. These figures are alarmingly high.
Water safety thanks to swimming lessons
To protect your children from the dangers of drowning, it’s important to follow some water safety rules:
- Never let children play unattended in and around water!
- Give life jackets to anyone not able to swim safely!
- Keep children from going into deep water – it should reach no higher than their chests!
- Set safety guidelines with your kids: no running, frolicking, etc., at the pool!
The same goes for swimming lessons in public pools. It also makes sense to take a first aid course that includes what to do in case of a water accident. To find a course near you, you can contact the Red Cross or other private agencies. But one of the best protections against drowning is to teach children to swim as early as possible.
When should swimming lessons start?
What’s the right age to start swimming lessons? That’s a question many parents ask themselves. So-called infant swimming rescue or survival swim is very popular among young mothers. These courses can empower babies as young as six months to stay afloat in the water, but they’re different than swimming lessons in the true sense.
Nonetheless, they’re a great way for babies to get used to and enjoy their first positive water experiences. Infant swimming also gives parents a feeling for how they can keep their child safe in the water. For true swimming lessons, children first need to develop better coordination and body awareness. This is usually the case around their fourth birthday. At the latest, children should take swimming lessons at about the time they enter school.
Professional swimming lessons with the right instructor
You can usually find a swimming instructor at a local swimming school, rec center, or YMCA. When choosing a swimming instructor, you should first and foremost make sure they get along with you and your child. Do you have a bad feeling, do they intimidate your child, or do you disagree with their way of teaching? Then it’s better to find someone else to teach your child to swim.
Once you have found the right teacher, you should check their qualifications. Has the trainer completed professional training and appropriate courses? It’s always a good sign when the teacher has a certificate and is a member of the Local Swimming Committee (LSC) or USA Swimming Foundation. In addition, the instructor should be trained for emergencies.
Structure of the swimming lessons
You should clarify the course structure with the swimming teacher before you sign a contract. First discuss whether your child should take private lessons, semi-private lessons with with siblings or a friend, or possibly a group swimming class.
Pay particular attention to the your child’s needs. If your little boy is shy, private lessons might be better for him. Group lessons can lead to more playing around than swimming, and the little ones might not learn as much. On the other hand, the group dynamic could encourage the children to learn to swim even faster.
The swimming teacher should not be a drill master. Even if she coaches high school teams – beginners need to have fun swimming. To find out more about a specific teacher, you can watch them giving a swimming lesson before you register your child. Starting off, individual swimming lessons should not exceed 30 minutes. After that, children’s concentration decreases considerably. Keep them alert by varying exercises in the lesson instead of doing the same thing over and over again.
Swimming lessons outside of class
As with all sports: Swimming lessons with a trainer are not enough to learn how to swim properly. Your child succeed more quickly if you practice with them at home or in a public swimming pool in addition to their weekly swimming lessons. Even letting them swim around for fun in the water can be help to strengthen their swimming skills!
Keep them swimming after summer or after the swimming lessons are over. Swimming can’t be forgotten, at least not the ability to keep afloat. But if they don’t visit a pool regularly, at some point your child might want to avoid water. To keep your kids from becoming afraid of water, you should visit an indoor swimming pool from time to time in winter. A nice side effect: You get to spend some quality time with your child and remain active at the same time.