Water safety is an important skill for young children, especially as we approach the warmer months ahead. Even during the pandemic, swim lessons can benefit kids. Parents should seek out quality swim programs to help their little ones understand how to stay safe in the water!
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, swim lessons are important for young children, even during the pandemic.
Learning to swim can minimize the risk of drowning.
Knowing how to swim can be a life-saving skill. Swimming is a fun, wonderful family activity to do during the spring and summer months. Learning basic water safety skills can greatly reduce the risk of drowning, whether you’re a child or an adult.
Learning to swim is important even for young babies and toddlers.
At this point in the pandemic, vaccines are widely available, but not for children under age 5. Despite babies and young children’s unvaccinated status, the AAP still recommends that children take swim classes as we approach the summer months.
The AAP recommends that children one year or older enroll in swim programs. Many beginner swim programs are parent-child classes where a caregiver is in the pool during the lesson. These classes are not only a great way for a little one to learn to swim, but it also builds confidence in being in the water. With the security of having a caregiver in the water with them, babies and toddlers are more likely to learn to enjoy swimming and being in the pool.
Around age four, many children are ready for traditional swim lessons, without a parent in the water with them. Even beginners can learn to tread water, float, move along the wall, and get in and out of the water safely. By age five or six, most children can learn to propel themselves forward in the water.
While swim programs are available for very young infants, older children benefit more from swim lessons. There isn’t much evidence to prove that babies can learn to swim and breathe properly in the water, even though many infants reflexively make swimming movements when placed in the pool. Toddlers and preschoolers can gain the most skills from swim lessons.
Learning to swim at a young age has many benefits.
Although toddlers and young children might be nervous about taking swim lessons, learning to swim at a young age has amazing benefits!
Children who learn to swim early in life may have:
Stronger lung capacity
Better fine motor skills
Improved cardiovascular health
Reduced stress levels
More physical endurance
Improved quality of sleep
Regular exercise is important for children. Training a child in water safety has many lasting benefits.
A quality swim program helps children stay safe in the water.
A good swim program has experienced instructors.
Swim instructors should ideally have training and certification through a nationally-recognized program. They should have plenty of experience with children and should be comfortable working with kids. Swim coaches should be warm, friendly, and able to work with a variety of different ages and ability levels. Your child should feel comfortable and secure in the water with a good instructor.
In addition, a good swim program will have lifeguards on duty at all times, and these employees should be certified in first aid and CPR.
A good swim program has a safe and inviting environment.
A good swim school should have pools that are clean and set up to keep young children safe. According to the AAP, swim lessons for children ages three and under should be taught in water heated to 87 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
The pool should be chemically balanced and well maintained. Young kids are prone to swallowing water during lessons, so making sure the pool is always clean and disinfected is important. Staff should be careful to maintain proper chlorine levels in the pool.
The overall environment of the swim school should be calm and inviting. If a child is fearful to get in the water, having an environment that values fun activities can be a great way to help a child feel comfortable learning to swim. Swim classes should be about having fun while learning about water safety.
A good swim program encourages parental involvement.
Beginning swimmers can benefit from parental involvement. Parental participation can help babies and toddlers feel comfortable getting in the pool for the first time. Parents should find a curriculum where caregivers can get in the water with their child, or at least sit nearby and participate from outside the water.
Many swim schools have open areas where parents can sit and watch their swimmer during the lesson. A good swim facility should be set up in a way that encourages parental participation. Instructors should speak with parents regularly about their child’s progress. A good instructor checks in with parents regularly about their child’s skill level, overall training goals, and confidence in the water.
A good swim program offers consistency through year-round classes.
Consistency is key for young children. Even though it might be tempting to sign your kids up for lessons each spring, children can benefit from taking swim lessons at any time of year.
Swim programs for children should meet frequently. Once a week is ideal for most families, although more intensive programs are widely available throughout the year as well. Find a class that suits your child’s schedule and needs.
Try to find a local swim school that offers instruction during every season of the year, and offers flexible classes that meet each family’s unique needs. Many swim schools will even allow children to start in the middle of a session, so don’t be afraid to sign your little one up for lessons even if the season has already begun.
A good swim program promotes both fun and safety.
A quality swim class teaches proper safety around water. Beginning swimmers, even infants, can learn important skills such as how to get in and out of the water or how to float on their backs.
A good swim class will allow a child to not only learn a swim stroke, but will also teach him to be safe in the water. Skills such as proper breathing, diving form, and treading water are important for children to learn. A quality swim curriculum will highlight these skills in addition to practicing each stroke.
Swim classes can also be fun. Depending on your child’s ability level, they may have independent play during class. Children need to learn self-awareness in the water in addition to learning swim strokes. Children can understand the difference between play and learning, and swim lessons should be a simple combination of both.
Swim lessons can be a great activity for families to engage in together, so now might be the perfect time to search for a local swim school location for your little one!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.