Swimming lessons for my child?

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Swimming lessons can prevent accidental drownings in young children. Non-profit organizations and private instructors offer lessons, but parents should supervise young children and consider their interest level before enrolling them. Children four and older can enjoy the social and competitive aspects of swimming lessons. Parents should also be aware of scheduling and enrollment terms. Swimming lessons can build confidence and survival skills, but parents should also consider teaching their child the basics on their own.

Considering the number of accidental drownings and near drownings involving young children every year, swimming lessons may be one of the best things parents can provide for their children. There are a number of non-profit organizations such as the YMCA that offer regular swimming lessons to the public, as well as private swimming instructors who can offer swimming lessons in the privacy and comfort of a home pool. The key is to teach very young children not to be afraid of water and older children how to improve their stamina and confidence.

There is some question about the minimum age requirement for swimming lessons. While some parents may feel comfortable supervising a child in the shallow end of a pool, experts like the American Association of Pediatrics suggest that children under the age of four aren’t developmentally prepared for formal swim lessons. Parents who enroll their youngest children in aquatic programs should not be lulled into a false sense of security. Drowning is still a leading cause of death among infants, regardless of their experiences with formal swim lessons. Parents should still be within reach of their children while they are at the pool or beach.

With kids four and older, swim lessons often combine one of their favorite recreational activities with a natural need to compare their abilities against those of others. A child may enjoy meeting other swimmers their age and learning about all the different strokes associated with swimming. Swim lessons often include opportunities to measure personal growth, such as time trials or informal peer competitions. For those kids who enjoy spending time in the water, swimming lessons can be enjoyed just as much as any other organized sport or outdoor activity.

When it comes to choosing appropriate activities for your child, however, you should always consider your child’s interest level. Swim lessons often involve visiting a local aquatic center several times a week, which can involve changes to a parent’s daily routine. It is not unusual for popular pools to limit the hours for private swimming lessons or to open the pool for competitive swimming very early in the morning. Swim lessons can be scheduled over a number of weeks or even months, so it pays to know precisely what the terms of enrollment are before signing any sort of instructor agreement.

Swimming lessons offer children the opportunity to participate in a sport they love and to build more confidence should they have to survive in unfamiliar waters. For parents, however, formal swimming lessons are like any other type of structured activity such as music lessons, dance practice or gymnastics. Make sure your child has expressed a significant interest in taking swimming lessons before enrolling them in a program. Learning the basics of swimming through formal swimming lessons can be enough for many children, so parents might consider taking an introductory class or teaching their child the basics of swimming on their own.

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