It’s now officially summertime, but people have been hitting the pools and beaches for weeks in many parts of the nation. Not surprisingly, the media has already been busy reporting on some of the many tragic drowning incidents that have occurred thus far, and Facebook profiles have been full of commentary from worried parents. And, as usual, there are businesses offering infant and toddler swimming lessons costing hundreds and even thousands of dollars per course, some of which come with claims of decreasing the risk of drowning in the young participants.
I decided to enroll my little man in the Diaper Dolphins class at The Miller Swim School here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You see, I was one of those kids in the 1980s who was thrown in the water to fend for herself. However, I didn’t want to use that technique for my son. I like the idea of being in the water with him, learning together and teaching him to enjoy and respect the water.
Did you know that research indicates there are advantages to beginning formal swimming lessons at an early age? In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its previous recommendations to advise that children as young as 1 can benefit from swimming lessons, depending on individual maturity and ability. It was a significant change in AAP’s longtime recommendation that children commence lessons at age 4.
My son, Briar and I loved the teachers and exposure he got especially with regard to safety techniques! Safe entry was a focus from the start: waiting to have parental permission to enter the water, and how to return to the wall and hang on. I feel so much safer having taken Briar to these classes and the teachers were full of life and treated each child as one of their own.
I encourage all parents to branch out and take their littles to a swim safety class. As children learn to achieve goals and independence in the water, their self-confidence blossoms. Self-confidence and attaining of goals fosters a wonderful lifelong pattern of learning, a great way to give your child a head start!