When my son turned two in the spring, I knew I needed to start seriously thinking about swimming lessons, as summer was quickly approaching. This might come as a shock (not really though), but my toddler did not turn into an Olympic swimmer, nor did I become a high-level swim coach after taking swim lessons. What I did learn, however, were some handy tips for taking the plunge with a little one. Let’s dive into three lessons I learned from taking swim classes with my two-year-old this summer:
1) Swim lessons are all about safety
My son loves water. Like really, really loves playing in water. My main motivation for putting him in swim lessons was to teach him the basics about water safety. Thanks to swim lessons, my son now knows the fundamentals – he can float on his back, keep his head above the water and (his personal favorite) blow bubbles in the water. These safety skills seem simple, but are essential to creating a strong foundation for positive (and safe) interactions with water.
2) Swim lessons are not about fear, but knowledge:
According to the CDC, drownings are a leading cause of injury and death for young children ages 1 – 14. As a parent, this stat scares me. However, it also drives home why swim lessons at a young age are important.
Let’s be clear – I don’t want my son to be afraid of water. It’s the opposite – I want him to know how to act around water. Thanks to his lessons, he knows why he should not enter the pool without an adult and he knows what happens if he lets go of the side of the pool – he will sink, but (spoiler alert) I will also be right there to catch him, which brings me to my final point.
3) Swim lessons aren’t just for your toddler – they are for you, too
The toddler swim lessons we took were very interactive and I was right there in the pool with my son. In between helping your kid float on their back, you play games in the water, sing nursery songs and jump up and down. All of this activity is designed to help your little one become comfortable in the water.
You don’t realize it at the time, but it also helps you as a parent establish a comfort level with being in the water with your kid. Teaching my toddler how to swim also taught me how to act around him in water and how to reinforce the basics of water safety.
My son is only two, so I know I will need to continue to reinforce what we learned when we are around water as he grows. But learning the basics has empowered me to keep water safety top-of-mind any time he has access to water.
Thinking about swim lessons? Ochsner Fitness Center offers a variety of kid and adult swim lessons options – click here to learn more!