Water safety is one of the primary goals for parents when they enroll their children in swim classes. Water safety is not just important for pools and lakes but also neighborhood reservoirs and drainage systems. But once children have learned the basics of swimming, there’s no reason for them to stop learning and developing. As children progress in their swimming skills, they also develop coordination and muscular development – as well as cognitive and emotional development. Swimming can be a lifetime enjoyment.
Since water is everywhere in our daily lives, and since swimming is a lot of fun at any age, it makes sense to begin classes as early as possible – the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that any time after one year of age is suitable. And the many classes across the country offering formal swimming lessons for children frequently start their programs at 6 months of age – or even starting with simple parent-child water introduction at 2 months of age.
Getting to More Advanced Skills
When children start with water baby or early classes, they learn the basics about being in the water. If a child is fearful of water, small steps are big achievements. This includes becoming comfortable putting their face in the water and blowing bubbles. Then comes learning how to float, front crawl, and hold their breath underwater. A special lesson, when they are ready, will include retrieving items from the bottom of the pool and surfacing. Being able to understand how to move through the water to the surface is a very important safety skill. All of these skills are important not just in the pool but for any body of water they find themselves in. These are the skills that will help them get out safely. These may be the basic swimming and water safety skills so it may be tempting to discontinue the lessons. There are more benefits for your child if you both decide they should continue lessons.
Beyond the Basics
Learning basic water safety and movement in the water is a true achievement. It also reduces the potential of a drowning accident. However, there is much more to learn. Early classes teach students to do a front crawl but in more advanced classes, students start learning different swim strokes. Swim strokes are unique because they cause the swimmer to use their bodies in different positions. This means developing different muscles to do the stroke. When these strokes are mastered, swimmers find that they are physically stronger and can swim farther than they could before.
Multiple strokes are taught so that when a swimmer gets tired, they can switch to a new stroke and allow the other muscles to rest. Accomplishing each stroke builds your child’s confidence and enhances their love of pool time. As they grow through their swimming lessons, your child may decide to continue on. There are many other skills and opportunities for them to become involved in. As they develop, competitive swimming may be an option. However, to reach this level, they will need to continue to learn the strokes and build endurance. By doing so, they are also building their physical and mental strength, as well as confidence. Additional strokes they will need to master are the sidestroke, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Seeing your child accomplish each of the movements will delight you as a parent.
Ready, Set, Compete!
If your child decides to begin competing when they reach a certain skill level, it’s important for all concerned to understand the hard work involved. Entering a competition event means they will have to work hard to focus on their skills. Not only that, but they will also have to develop an understanding of competition and teamwork. The camaraderie among teammates is a true benefit among swimmers. Swim instructors can help children to more finely hone their skills when they decide to compete.
Benefits of Swimming
Not all kids want to enter into competition, which is fine. They can still receive benefits from continuing to swim regularly. Swimming is one of the best exercises, and all the major muscle groups in the body are worked in a low-impact environment. While the arms, shoulders, tummy, back, and legs are being worked out, your child won’t realize it because they are having too much fun! This is the same experience for adults because there is lower stress on joints. It’s just fun to spend time in the water. It’s also a great way for families to spend time together swimming, playing games, or just goofing off in the pool.
During swim lessons, students learn the skills to protect themselves in the water. They can also use those skills to help others who are in trouble in the water. This is where the strokes they learned come into play. For instance, using the sidestroke can allow someone to grab another person with their free arm and bring them to a safer place.
Going Beyond the Basics
While swim students will learn water safety and respect for water, they also learn important skills to protect themselves in the water if they get into trouble. Even if they decide not to compete, they are learning how to safely have a blast in the water. Starting swimming lessons early develops important skills. Continuing them builds on those skills that will last a lifetime.