We got our daughter into swimming lessons at a very young age, she started going at 6 months old. The pools in our area offer Parent & Tot lessons, so the best part is we get to take part with her and it has taught us a lot about being in and around the water with our daughter too. Swimming lessons were one thing my husband and I knew we wanted our kids to start taking part in at a very young age. My husband grew up near a lake, and I grew up going to the pool and taking part in swimming lessons when I was little. We both worked our way through all the levels, and want our kids to do the same. Here are some of the reasons why we put our daughter in swimming lessons, and why we started lessons at a young age.
1) It is an important life skill. Being able to swim is a skill that everyone should learn, especially when it comes to learning about water safety. There are so many situations where children are exposed to being around water from going to summer camp, to being at the local pool for a friends pool party. Learning to swim and about water safety plays a huge roll in reducing the risk of drowning, including among those between the ages of 1 and 4. Children between 1 and 4 are at the highest risk of drowning. We wanted our daughter to learn at a young age about our expectations around water. She knows water safety skills, and the pool rules. She waits for us before getting in, she knows about life jackets and does not fight us in wearing one if we see necessary, and while she is only a toddler she can pull herself out of the pool on her own. These skills can save her life, and it greatly decreases the risk of drowning.
2) Positive attitude towards water. Since we introduced our daughter at a young age she has been exposed to a very positive attitude and environment surrounding water. I’ll be honest, I have a bit of a fear of deep ocean water, but that’s from watching one too many shark weeks. I still don’t want my daughter to fear water, I wanted her to know that there are things she can do in the water and how to be safe in and around water. Our daughter has never been a fan of being on her back yet alone floating on her back in water, but she knows as swimming lessons she needs to do this skill. As children get older it can be even harder to get them to be comfortable floating on their back, which in turn impacts learning how to swim on their back. Starting swimming lessons when they are older can also make it harder for them to separate from their parent and go into lessons on their own. Since we started at such a young age, our daughter will interact with the swim instructor already and we are not worried about signing her up for the preschool level in the near future. We know she will be okay leaving us, and will not be clinging to us. This summer especially, she loves being in the water and is very positive about her swimming lessons. She is very excited to get to go each day.
3) Social Skills. Going to the pool, and to swimming lessons is a great opportunity for interacting with other children that are around the same age. They work on sharing skills, such as sharing the different pool toys. They also learn how to take turns, especially when waiting to go down the slide at the pool. It’s also a great way to learn how to follow instructions from someone other than their parents. This has proven to be great, especially with her starting preschool this fall she has already been exposed to situations where she needs to listen to a teacher. My favourite part though of swimming lessons is seeing her interact with her peers.
4) Potential job. Learning how to swim, and working ones way through all of the swimming levels provides a great opportunity to become a lifeguard. Young people can then have this be their first job as a lifeguard at a pool which is great because it teaches a lot about responsibility. A lot of summer camps also higher young people who are graduating high school, and those in college or university to be the lifeguards at their camps for the whole summer. Since volunteering at a summer camp is a huge part of our summer each year, we would totally support our daughter if she wanted to further her swimming lessons when she is older and be trained as a lifeguard.
5) Confidence. We have loved seeing how confident our daughter has become from the first lessons at 6 months, to her current ones at two and a half. Each time she has worked on learning a new skill she is always so happy and so thrilled at what she has done. Most recently she has finally started blowing bubbles in the water, and putting her ears in the water. This was something she refused to do until this summer. We’ve had a different swim instructor during each swim set, this years caught on fast that she likes animals. The instructor told her that by blowing bubbles you can “talk to fish” and that if she puts her ears in the water she can hear the fish. It worked! She loves doing this now, and will do it when we just ask her to blow bubbles in the water. The smile on her face says it all.
6) Fun activity. Getting to spend time in the water whether at a pool, in the ocean, or even just in the kiddy pool in our back yard is always fun. It’s already proven to be a fun way to interact with others. It’s an activity that all of us a s a family can participate in too. Especially during the hot summer months.
7) Easy to learn at a young age. Young children are such sponges for new knowledge, they pick up new skills so quickly and easily. Developing a fear of water is reduced if exposed to water, and learning water skills at a young age. I have several friends who I have talked to about swimming, and they have mentioned how they wished they had learned at a young age because it was such a hard skill to pick up when they learned at an older age. We figure, why not start young when their brains are developing and processing so many new things and it is easier for them.
8) First Certificate. Plus how cute is it that they get a certificate at the end? Yes this one is a little silly, but I love that our daughter got her first certificate for doing swimming lessons, and she sure was proud too. Plus think of all the photo opportunities!
Did you put your kids into swimming lessons at young age?