Why Do Parents Send Their Kids To Swim Class?
Drowning is a leading cause of death among children, and making sure your little one is properly equipped should be a priority for every parent. Whether there’s a pool in your backyard or not, it’s inevitable that your child will come into contact with large bodies of water at some point, and it’s crucial that they’ll be prepared when they do. Often, parents feel confident teaching their children to swim themselves, but even a short course in a focused environment with a trained instructor can offer a tremendous amount of safety knowledge and build on skills at any level.
Even if your child is already acclimated to water, and you consider yourself a strong swimmer and supervisor, they can still benefit from some formal training. The first skills they teach at any level are survival skills. Breathwork, how to blow bubbles, treading water, and how to roll over and float on your back are the first skills instructors will introduce your child to, equipping them to keep their heads above water even in unexpected situations.
It’s important to seek out classes with experienced, CPR and first aid-certified instructors with manageable small-group class sizes. This ensures constant supervision for your young one. By age four or five, your child should be able to swim comfortably and unassisted by floatation devices, and enrolling them in a swim class is a fantastic and fun way to set them up for safety and success.
It’s easy as parents to feel overwhelmed by the possible risks, but it’s important to remember that swimming is fun. Even children who are wary at first usually end up absolutely loving their lessons. Swimming is a great opportunity to connect with other kids, play fun and stimulating games, and build on a healthy lifestyle. Particularly if you live in a city or somewhere with little access to water, seeking out a class is a service to your kid that will open up a world of fun possibilities down the road.
It’s important to ensure they’re in the right class for their age, supervised by well-trained and experienced instructors, in a comfortable-temperature pool, and in small enough classes that they’ll receive one-on-one attention to really get the most out of their introduction to swimming. Not all classes are for all kids, and assessing your child’s comfort level and the style of instruction at any swim school helps ensure that their time in the pool is enjoyable. When you find the right fit, it can truly be magic, and you’ll have trouble getting them out of the pool.
When to Start
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no evidence that classes for infants under the age of one lower the risk of drowning. Even so, infants as young as six months can participate in parent-baby classes that help acclimate them to water and can be a fun activity for all involved. Starting lessons this young is certainly not a necessity, and every child is different. If yours is particularly comfortable in the water, or you’d like to find out, parent-baby classes are a great recreational option.
The highest rate of accidental drowning occurs in the one to four-year-old age range. As they get more mobile and build coordination, seeking out classes that offer nationally recognized learn-to-swim curriculum with safety-certified instructors can truly make all the difference in protecting your child from harm. Many pools and community centers provide parent-and-child programs that begin teaching safe pool behavior, kicking and paddling, and strokes that keep your head above the water.
Age requirements at different programs are sure to vary somewhat, but by five, most kids are more than ready to take classes on their own that allow them to build on foundational skills and develop stroke techniques, play water games, and begin swimming further distances with supervision. 30-45 minute classes are a great duration for this age and attention span.
With age-appropriate exposure and preparation, not only will your child know what to do should they fall in, but they will begin building skills and stamina that will prepare them for larger, more unpredictable bodies of water like lakes and oceans. Finding ongoing programs or places that offer eight to 10-week courses are a great opportunity for your child to track their progress. They’ll feel such a sense of accomplishment moving up levels and learning new techniques, and even in just a couple of months, you’re sure to see progress.
When should a child start swim class?
Enrolling your child in swim classes between the ages of one and four can help reduce their risk of drowning and prepare them for safe, independent swimming. Parents can start their children in parent-baby swim classes as early as six months, but this isn’t necessary for safety training.