Teaching kids how to swim should be a priority for every family. Studies indicate that there are around 11 deaths due to drowning every day in the US, and it is also the second-most-reported reason for death in children aged 1 to 14.
Teaching your child to swim not only helps them learn a life-saving skill but could also be a fun outdoor activity that your entire family can indulge in. Here are some things you should know before you decide on the swimming program you wish to enroll your child into!
When to Start Swimming Lessons?
Although the development of each child is unique, most children are ready for swimming lessons by the time they are four. However, research shows that swimming lessons reduce the chances of drowning even for children between the ages of one and four.
Of course, you must take into consideration the physical and emotional abilities of your child before taking them into the water. Also, monitor how comfortable your child is during the first few times that they enter the water.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend enrolling children under the age of one in swimming lessons. Infants younger than a year may not be able to raise their heads above the surface of the water. It’s okay for parents to take their infants into pools with them, though, as a fun activity, as this may help your child get used to the water.
Choose Qualified and Experienced Trainers
Make sure that the trainer under which your child is about to learn has been certified by a nationally recognized program and also has the necessary experience to train children in your specific age range. Trainers should emphasize important safety habits to consider while children are in, on, or near the water, as this will help in the long run.
Important habits include always asking permission from parents and instructors before entering the water, whether it’s a pool or any other natural water body, and always swimming under the supervision of trainers or parents.
Swimming lessons for kids must also include survival skills such as self-rescue to make them aware of real-world situations such as falling into the water with all their clothes on and what should be done in such circumstances.
If your child is older, they can also learn how to help others who are struggling in the water.
Verify Safety Within the Premises
It’s important to provide a safe and secure environment for your child to learn new skills and accommodate their physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development.
Verify if the swimming pool as well as the area around the swimming pool is clean and maintained well. The camp should also have designated lifeguards in addition to the instructors, as instructors cannot simultaneously fill both roles. Water levels at the pool should be clearly marked, especially the deeper parts so that children can be warned to stay away from them.
Emergency equipment such as life jackets or similar flotation devices and first aid kits should be available close to the pool, which should also display a list of safety instructions that are visible to everyone. There must be enough life jackets available. Your child must also be taught the importance of respecting the water.
Check Cleanliness and Hygiene
Since the swimming pool will be used by many people, ask about the measures employed to maintain hygiene in and around the pool.
It’s important to maintain appropriate chlorine levels since young kids may swallow water from the pool. Kids must be asked to wear snug-fitting swimsuits, especially around the legs, to prevent the spread of waste into the pool.
Check With Your Pediatrician
While it is important to teach your child a helpful skill like swimming, you must also make sure that they’re ready. If you’re looking for infant swimming classes, solicit advice from your pediatrician to understand whether your child is ready for this step. If you’re unsure of which training center to enroll your child in, you can also request your pediatrician for quality references or suggestions.
Gauge Your Child’s Proficiency
Many swimming camps and programs have a test to gauge how proficient and comfortable your child is in water. Check if the swimming program you wish to enroll your child facilitates such a test. This could provide a good insight into how ready your kid is to enter the water and enable them to get the maximum benefits of the swimming lessons.
Such a test also helps instructors put your child in a group with similar abilities that in turn will aid your child’s development in surroundings that are both enjoyable and safe.
How Many Children Are Taught in a Group?
Check with the camp about how many children each instructor will take under their wing. Having fewer kids under each instructor is a safe option, as it will be easier to keep an eye on all the kids. This also increases the odds that your child will get special attention from the instructors, who can then offer real-time feedback and encouragement.
How and What Are the Kids Taught?
Understand how the children are being taught and what exactly are the skills that instructors will teach them. Kids tend to learn more when there is an element of fun involved. If lessons are boring, your child is less likely to learn.
Check how long each swimming lesson lasts and whether instructors will keep your child active for the entire duration of the lesson. Also, take note of whether there are any other swimming drills that instructors could teach that could add value.
Your child can be taught different swimming strokes once they are comfortable with the basics. Instructors should also be ready to explain certain aspects to increase the interest of your children rather than just forcing them to do something.
Along with swimming, instructors should also teach other essential skills such as staying afloat in water. For older kids, teaching the importance and effectiveness of swimming as a way to keep yourself fit also appeals to many.