The reasons why your child should learn how to swim are extensive and varied. First of all, it’s a skill that could save your child’s life. Drowning is still one of the most common causes of accidental death in children, therefore learning to swim is an essential life skill.
Other reasons why your child should learn how to swim include:
Of course, this all sits behind the fact that swimming is fun and a great way to exercise and make new friends!
Getting started with swimming is easy. A sport for all ages, kids can start swimming from just six weeks old. The recommended age for formal swimming lessons, however, is four months old.
When choosing a swim school, look for one with a reputation you can trust. Ask friends and family, do your research and talk to current customers. The school should have a warm and welcoming atmosphere and staff should happily answer your questions and address your concerns. The pool should be clean and well maintained, with the water clear and sanitised. Good swim schools will test the water quality at regular intervals throughout the day and are usually happy to share the results.
All teachers should be nationally recognised swimming teachers and hold current resuscitation certificates. A child-centred teaching philosophy and progression program is a bonus, ensuring your child is taught according to their age, development and ability. Class numbers should be small and activities should be varied and fun.
If you choose not to use a swim school, there are important things you should consider. Swimming is not a skill that should be taken lightly, so if you’re not sure where to start, you might want to reconsider enrolling your child in a professional class. At the very least, get help when learning the basics and then take it from there.
Teaching your child to swim requires knowing and teaching age appropriate learning techniques. Activities should correlate to your child’s growth and development status on land.
Keep an eye on the time and try to keep your lessons under 30 minutes. If your child looks like they are getting cold or tired, hop out of the water.
In terms of activities, try to perform exercises that concentrate on breath control, submersion, floating and propulsion. Be careful not to move on to another activity until your child has mastered the first.
Parental involvement is essential for a safe, secure and productive learning environment. It teaches a young child that it’s not okay to swim without an adult and that an adult is in command at all times. Always be the first to get in the water and then invite your child to join you – preferably using a ladder. As much as cannonballs and jumps are fun, they should be kept for later in life when your child is a more confident swimmer.
Around Singapore, there are lots of water play areas offering shallow water that appears to be safe. Remember though, accidents can happen when you least expect them and it takes just a few seconds for a baby to get in trouble in shallow water. Staying alert applies to the beach, the river, the swimming pool and the bathtub. Basically anywhere where your little one has access to pools of water.
Your baby is never too young to start learning about water safety. Teach them the importance of obeying pool rules and only swim at a depth that’s safe for you and your baby. Teach kids not to run, push and jump on others. Explain the joy that can be found in swimming, but also the dangers. You don’t want to scare your kids off, but you do want to keep them safe.
Do your bit too. Enrol yourself in a first aid and CPR course and always have a phone nearby. Check water conditions, currents, tides, and pay attention to signage. If you’re not a strong swimmer yourself, consider enrolling in a refresher class. It’s important that you come across as confident, as this will make your little one feel confident too.
Whether you’re enrolling your child in a swim school or teaching your child yourself, make sure you understand the importance of water safety and how you can be actively involved in your child’s swimming development. Being able to swim is a fun and essential skill that will benefit your child for the rest of their life.