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Category: Leisure
Leisure

Teach Your Child How to Swim

One of the most enjoyable things to do during the hot summer months is to cool off with a dip in a pool, lake, or even the ocean. Not only is this summertime treat refreshing and fun, it is one of the best forms of exercise. When you are swimming you are using every muscle in your body to paddle, push and wade through tons of water, which can give you a great workout.

Although there are many benefits to swimming, the deep water can be intimidating to any parent, with nearly 4,000 deaths occurring each year from drowning it would seriously cause anyone participating in the sport concern. Yet, nearly 80% of those deaths could have been prevented, with more than half due to children swimming unsupervised, and one-third of drowning victims were overconfident in their ability and swam out too far in deep waters.

Children should not begin swimming lessons until they are four years old, as stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, therefore it is encouraged to keep a life jacket on your children until that age and possibly until six or seven.

Preschool
Remember to keep a well-fitted life jacket on your child while you are teaching them to swim, if you are planning on training a younger child to paddle it is still highly recommended that they keep a life jacket on until they are around six or seven years of age.

For safety reasons teach your child how to roll over in the water and float, first. If there should ever be a water incident with your children having the knowledge of this, it will save their lives and give them the ability to scream for help. It is important for children to understand that panicking in a water incident will only hurt their ability to be safe while retrieving help.
 
Main points to address:

  • Remind your child to never panic.
  • Teach them how to roll over and float first.
  • Keep a life jacket on them at all times.

Grades K-3rd
One of the easiest swimming techniques to teach your child is the “doggy paddle Eso starting with this one first will make the other techniques easier. Hold your child, with both hands, in the water placing the palm of your hand on your child’s stomach. Hold them vertical on the water top. Tell them to bring their arms up to their chest, their hands bent over in front of them to create a dog type stance. Ask them to push the water, (not sporadically, but fast enough to create a movement in the water) with their hands, almost as though they are pushing the water to their chests.

Only introduce one procedure at a time with this group of children and do not move on to the next lesson until children have practically mastered one.

There are a number of videos on the topic that should be able to help you including; http://www.swimlessonskidslove.com/ and http://www.makeasplash.org

Main points to address:

  • Until your child has three or four years of swimming experience they should keep a life jacket on.
  • Teach them how to doggy paddle first.

Grades 4th-6th
As children get older and have a few solid years of swimming under their belt this is when parents should really be worried. Did you know the second leading cause of death for teenage boys was drowning?  It’s true! They feel overconfident and swim beyond what their bodies can handle, it is important to go over safety precautions with your children as they get older until they understand that.

Main points to address:

  • Explain the importance of respecting the water.
  • No matter how great they can swim let them know overconfidence can hurt them, and has done so to many swimmers in the past.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Leisure.

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