It’s getting closer. That time of year when the weather warms up and everybody is flocking to different waterways like, beaches, lakes, rivers, and pools. Just this past weekend it was in the mid 70’s where I live. Many of my friends and their families enjoyed time this weekend in a water and sun basking location. Some have their own pool in the backyard all ready to go. What’s the big significance of all of this? Well, people flock to these locations to go swimming, and already I have heard of at least two drownings on the fast flowing rivers around and within the area I live in. It breaks my heart, and it can be prevented. Below I will give my advice on almost everything involving swim lessons and swimming.
1. Reasons Why Early Childhood Swim Lessons Are Necessary
A) Confidence & Social Ability Building – this is huge. Our children are always learning every second of every day. Putting our children in swim lessons helps build their confidence in and around the water. Swim teachers want to make every person they have feel comfortable in the water. Most start slow. From sitting on the steps just kicking to holding on to the teacher while they sway them through the water.
B) Eventual Job Opportunities – I grew up around the water. I was a competitive swimmer and my love of the water took me to my first job. I was a lifeguard and swim instructor at the local YMCA near where I grew up. I knew that I wanted to help people feel comfortable and safe in the water like I did. So many people are afraid of the water because of reports of drownings. It’s understandable, but with the right help, everybody can feel comfortable around the water.
C) Sports & Recreation – As kids we all start with the recreation aspect of swimming. We go to pools, lakes, rivers, and the ocean to go swimming and get some reprieve from the hot weather outside. At times, some people go swimming in the cold too. I was one of those people. For me, I started on a swim team when I was about 9 years old. I was on that team until I hit high school because I was in other sports at school. I did join another team for a short while and then once I was in college, I joined the college team. I also ended up playing water polo in college. There are all different sports or recreational activities to do in the water.
2. Basic Water Safety
According to the American Red Cross website, there are three basic things to remember is basic water safety.
A) Ensure every member of your family learns to swim. At the very least, to achieve skills of water competency. To be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance then get out of the water safely.
B) Employ layers of protection including barriers to prevent access to water, life jackets and close supervision of children to prevent drowning. You should always watch children in and around the water. Don’t let your children, even if they know how to swim, be around water alone. I was taught to always swim with at least one other person. The buddy system is what it was called.
C) Know what to do in a water emergency. Know what to do in the case that somebody falls into a pool who doesn’t know how to swim. Know who to call when somebody is in trouble in the water. If you can get certified in CPR and first aid, that will help in saving a life. You can help the person in trouble once to the shore or on the deck of the pool until first responders arrive.
3. Swim School & Pricing & Types of Lessons Available
There are SO many swim schools out there. Everywhere from the local pool in the summer to the year round indoor swim schools to the people who take time to offer their services as private swim lessons in their own backyard pool. The first thing you want to do when looking for a swim school is to look at their certification. Make sure they are a certified swim school. That they have the basic first aide, CPR and they are a true business through the city or county you are in or near. Look at the ratio for teachers to kids. Where I take my son, they offer private (one on one teacher to student), semi-private (teacher to 2 students), parent tot (teacher and 6 students with a parent each), adaptive (teacher and one student), adult (teacher and one student), and they also offer sessions (private and semi-private 4 days a week for two weeks). With the acceptation of the session lessons, all of the lessons are once a week and all lessons are either 20 or 30 minutes. Pricing is from around $72 a month all the way up to $432 a month. The highest being during the sessions as a private 30 minute session. For the parent tot classes, the ages are from 4 months old to 2.5 years old. Private lessons are from 4 months to adult. Semi-private lessons are 4 years to 16 years and paired by age and skill. Adaptive lessons, (for people with move, learn, communicate or behave differently) are for the ages of 4 months to adult. Adult lessons are from 16 years of age and up and the sessions (the 4 days a week for 2 weeks) are for ages 4 months to adult. Every swim school’s priming’s are different, but usually around the same range of around $70-$450. It all depends on what you want. Around where I live, the local park pools open in the summer are around $50 for a class of up to seven kids or adults.
With all the different places to take your child, or yourself, to learn to swim, you should definitely find the one that fits you and your child. We started during the summer sessions at the local pool when my son was 2 years old. I had wanted to get him in sooner, but because of my medical issues, that was delayed. But, I still got him signed up. We started at the local pool last summer in the parent tot classes. He wasn’t old enough for a regular class yet through the park pool, so I was in with him. I hadn’t really looked into the different private swim schools, thinking they were too expensive for us. After the summer was over, I saw that my son absolutely loved the water and wanted to keep swimming. That in turn made me so happy and searched for a school that fit our needs. See, my son is on the autism spectrum and thrives best with the one on one classes. So, I searched out swim schools around, talked to other moms on their recommendations and read about the different places online. I came about the place we chose because:
1. It was highly recommended by several friends and other moms
2. Pricing was where I was looking and
3. They specialize in working with kids and adults of all levels and even on the spectrum.
I signed up my son during the late fall with a special the school was running where their private lessons were offered for half off. After that month was over, and I saw the hard work my son put in and how he leveled up in that first month, I decided that the school we chose was for us. We took the month of December off (because December is just too busy as it is alone) and started back up in January. The teachers love what they do, the owner takes pride in the business and what they are offering and the facility is very clean. My son gets so excited on Saturday mornings when we wake up because he knows he gets to go swimming, rain or shine. He is also sad when lessons are over because he wants to keep swimming. I can relate. I too was like that when I was younger and honestly, I am still that way. Water is my therapy. I am happiest when I can swim. Whether pool, lake, river, or ocean. I am at peace around the water and am so thankful I learned to swim at a young age. Honestly, any age you decide to learn to swim is a good age.
My wish is for everybody to know and learn the basics of water safety. To know how to get to the side of the pool or back to shore on their own. I also wish for more swim schools, because you can never have too many, that can offer assistance for those whose income doesn’t allow for them to send their kids to lessons. If everybody were able to learn to swim or had the ability to go to a swim school, I truly believe that there would be less reports of drowning. So, check into the different swim schools in your area. Whether it’s the summer pool at the park, the year round city pool or a more private school, check out what fits best for you and your little swimmer. Get them in a lesson that is right for all of you and help your child, and yourself, learn the basics of water safety.