Few activities provide more summertime enjoyment than swimming in a back yard pool. There is no better way to cool down on a hot summer day than a cool dip in a swimming pool. However, we also recognize that playing around any body of water can be dangerous especially for younger non-swimmers. Studies have shown that the earlier in life kids begin the easier it is to teach them to swim. Three to five years of age is the best time to begin swimming lessons. With summer around the corner, PcPools would like to encourage parents to teach their children to swim with these 10 tips.
- Take lessons from certified swimming instructors. Do not teach the child yourself. Get lessons at the YMCA or a city pool or community recreation center.
- Choose the right teacher. You can rely on most certified swimming instructors to be competent but it never hurts to interview them. Ask them where they were trained, how long they have been teaching and their approach. Try and choose an instructor that best fits their child’s personality. Make sure that all kids above the age of 4 attend a certified swimming class or at least learn basic flotation techniques.
- Start Early. The sooner the child starts the more comfortable they will be in an around the water. Many YMCAs and recreational city pools offer parent-tot classes beginning as early as 6 months of age. Individual lessons generally start around age 3.
- Make sure the child is well rested. Studies demonstrate that children who are well rested are more apt to learn than if they are tired and stressed. Make sure your child behaves appropriately. What they learn in swimming class may very well save their life.
- Expose children to water early. Obviously under strict supervision, expose your child to pools, beaches, lakes and let them enjoy themselves around the water. The more experience they have with water the more comfortable they will become.
- Practice swimming year around. Just like everything else, a child’s skill levels drop when they are not doing the activity. Try and find a pool open in the winter to polish their swimming skills they learned. The more they swim the better they become.
- Be a good role model. Be a safe swimmer yourself. If parents are fearful or careless around water their children will pick up on those traits. If you are not a strong swimmer yourself, enroll in swimming lessons along side your child.
- Explain the benefits of swimming. Tell your child why learning to swim is important. Swimming is good physical exercise, it can be a lifesaver and it is a whole lot of fun.
- Be knowledgeable to help with common mistakes. A parent should strive to know enough about swimming to gently point out common mistakes that young swimmers make. You do not want to have bad habits reinforced away from the watchful eye of a swimming instructor.
- Reward success. Find a reward system that works for you child when they achieve certain swimming goals.
Learning to swim is never a substitute for watching what your kids are up to in and around the pool and always supervise their pool activities. Never leave them alone around the pool even for one second.