Most kids can’t wait for summer and the chance to spend their days splashing around in the pool. But learning to swim is the first step-and parents play an important role in helping their children achieve this goal. Recognize readiness. Children who are ready to swim typically exhibit eagerness to learn and are also willing to put their faces in the water. Around age four, children are developmentally ready for solo lessons. They have a longer attention span than younger children and can follow instructions.
Their physical coordination is improving, and they may be more comfortable in and around water than their younger counterparts.
The Armerican Acadamy of Pediatrics supports swimming lessons for children age
four and older, and the American Red Cross offers its preschool aquatics program
for children ages four to five. (Both groups also support parent and child dual lessons
as a way of acclimating younger children to water.) Choose a program. Instructors should hold certification in lifeguard training, first aid and CPR. If your child is taking group lessons, look for a ratio of no more than three children to one instructor. Make sure you’re comfortable with your child’s instructor, and his or her maturity and experience. And check out other factors such as water temperature: Young children need warmer water to feel comfortable, usually about 85 degrees.
Many of the exercises in beginning swim programs are designed to build confidence in the water. Children will learn to control their breathing, follow simple safety rules and use their arms and legs in basic swimming motions. Other early lessons can include floating, jumping in, and paddling to a nearby wall. Know safety basics. It’s harrowing to note that 26 percent of all deaths of children between the ages of 1 and 4 are due to drowning-even when a parent is nearby according to statistics from the U.S . Center for Disease Control(CDC). Whether children are learning or already know how to swim, they should be within arm’s reach of an adult at all times. Keep children from running on the pool deck or roughhousing with others. And restrict them to shallower water until they become competent swimmers.