By Nikki Miller
Most children participate in some form of swim lessons each summer. With bodies of water everywhere, and drowning the leading cause of accidental death for children 5 and under, it’s pretty much a cultural tradition. However, not all children learn to swim in a few short months, and most forget their skills once they are no longer in the pool regularly. Many parents just wait until next year and try again. This could be a fatal mistake. Drowning poses just as many risks in fall, winter, and spring, as in summer.
Also, after weeks of trying, a child or toddler could easily be on the precipice of swimming on their own, only to be abruptly halted because of the end of a season at any given pool. Every child learns at a different pace, and has a unique history of water experience. Add to that what the parents feel about water and the personality of the child, and you can see the many factors that contribute to learning readiness. When children are given consistent encouragement and skilled teaching, they respond positively, at a pace tailored to them, not to the “swim season.” How frustrating it must be for the child to stop lessons each fall, only to start all over again the next spring, thus robbing them of the opportunity to meet the challenge and succeed!
Not to mention, your investment in your child’s swim lessons is better off when sticking to it year round, therefore, producing better results and saving you money in the long run! Think about it. Would you ever enroll your child in piano or karate lessons for 8 weeks out of the year, each year, and expect them to learn much? That would just be a waste of money and your investment would take years. Just like any other skill, practice and repetition is required to grow and retain skills that are learned.
Swimming leads to confidence, self-esteem, fitness, an element of safety, and countless other psychological, emotional and physical benefits. It is a large part of our culture, in sports, recreation and socialization. And water is too intriguing to children of all ages to forget that it is our responsibility to teach our children to swim…for LIFE!