Are your children afraid of the water? Have a hard time even getting them to dip a foot into the wading end of the local kids’ pool? Teaching your children how to swim can open up plenty of fun opportunities for them, as well as help with safety considerations. It doesn’t take much to get children into the water, to allow them to experience the fun activity of swimming.
Why Should Children Learn How to Swim?
While fun and games are a great activity for children, there are more pressing matters at hand. Safety is an incredibly relevant concern, as the following points from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demonstrate:
* Among children one to four years of age, drowning is second only to congenital anomalies (birth defects) in terms of deaths
* Behind motor vehicle crashes, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury-related death among those one to 14 years of age
* An average of 3,533 people die in the United States due to swimming each year, according to the CDC’s data from 2005 to 2009; about one in five who die from drowning are children 14 years of age and younger
* The CDC states that many adults and children report that they can’t swim; research demonstrates that formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning for children one to four years of age
Safety is an incredibly important and relevant item to children’s ability to swim. It could, now or later, save the life of your child. Aside from the important topic of safety, there are plenty of other benefits that can be briefly observed:
* Social: Do your children’s friends have an above ground pool? Parties at friends’ houses and the local pool will come up over the course of their lives. Not being able to swim could be an awkward part of their social lives.
* Fitness: Swimming is a great exercise, working all of the major muscle groups. Not too many exercises offer such anaerobic and aerobic benefits at the same time.
* Personal: Your children could conquer a goal by learning how to swim. It could be key in allowing children to overcome fear – and cultivate this fun and beneficial skill.
How Can You Help?
As the CDC specifically recommends, proper swimming lessons can be an important part in this conversation. However, that doesn’t mean that you can help prepare, cultivate, and continue this skill. You’d be surprised as to the possibilities.
Teaching the most basic skills is possible with younger children. For instance, children can start by learning how to blow bubbles out of the nose and mouth without inhaling water. Then, they can hold onto devices to learn how to kick. These methods can help prepare them for a few practice strokes.
You could also integrate rewards in the process. If the children get sidetracked with nerves, a few treats could do the trick, for instance, to get them to practice exhaling when underwater. The same strategies you use to get them to try broccoli can be applied here!
Whether you’re teaching your children by yourself or in conjunction with swimming lessons, try to integrate fun games to get them excited. For instance, the ever-popular Marco Polo game is a can’t miss, where swimming skills come into play.
Learning how to swim can be a great thing for your children’s safety, self-esteem, social life, and much more. While there may be some difficulties in the process, there are plenty of tools and resources to approaching this area of their life that will allow you to ease their fears and learn to have fun at the same time!
Drew James produces content for Kayak Pools Midwest. When he’s not writing, you can find him running trails all over Indianapolis.