Q: [Toddlers] My husband thinks swimming classes for toddlers are just ‘wet playgroups’ and we are just as well off going to the pool as a family. I think they might help in some way if my baby falls in a pool. Are there actual safety benefits?
A: Orange County is a fantastic aquatic arena and a fun place for recreational activities. With opportunities like Stand Up Paddling, Surfing, Boogie Boarding, Boating and just enjoying the outdoors makes it crucial for parents to formally encourage their children to build their swimming ability at an early age. In Southern California we are surrounded by miles of coastline, lakes, rivers and most commonly backyard pools. With most kids viewing swimming as a fun and exciting activity, they may be unaware how quickly it can turn into an emergency situation.
When families choose to take the kids to the pool, it is all fun, fun, fun for them. When you sign them up for a lesson, it puts them in the frame of mind to learn, learn, and learn. There are so many benefits in learning to swim, and your child will get pleasure from the ability throughout childhood and into adulthood. Not only is it great for their health, but it could one day save their life. While taking your child to the swimming pool as a family and encouraging them to learn has its value, there are some things they will only learn in swimming classes. They are taught to swim long distances, different strokes and even lifesaving skills.
There are several benefits of placing your toddler into a swim class. The swim instructors are trained in techniques that apply to the child’s development level. Swimming classes are held in groups of children of a similar age and ability. Also they teach your child not only proper swimming techniques but also safety topics like floating on their backs, swimming towards the wall, holding onto it and climbing out to safety. These skills are important for a child that may accidentally fall into a pool. Your child will also be able to mix with children outside of school and learn valuable social skills.
Taking swimming classes will provide valuable experience in the water. This experience will come in handy if your child swims at an unguarded pool or gets pulled into deeper water by a rip current at the beach. Giving your child the opportunity to build these skills in a structured teaching environment will not only benefit your child’s ability to swim, it will also put the parent at ease knowing the swimming skill level of their toddler.
I encourage all parents to take the time and sign the kids up for lessons. Building that skill will have a positive lifelong effect for your kids. Keep them busy, whether it is jr. lifeguards, stand up paddling, swim lessons or outdoor summer camps. With the rise of gaming, it is even more important to keep the youth engaged physically.
Larry Jacklin is Director of the California Jr. Lifeguard Programs. He strongly believes in the positive message and experience all participants take with them from the programs. Local father of three enjoys promoting ocean safety, health, nutrition & environmental preservation. JrLifeguards.com