Swimming Lessons – yes it’s Winter and who is thinking of bringing their kids to swimming lessons. It’s cold, wet and raining, but nothing is more important than taking your child, whether they are 6 months or 14yrs, if they cannot swim they need to start now.
It is imperative that children are exposed to water safety/confidence classes as early as possible. This gives them familiarity with the water, the Swimming Teacher and both the child and parent make friends within the group.
There is nothing sadder than turning on your morning TV to hear that another child has drowned in their backyard swimming pool, dam or just the bath. It only needs to be enough water to cover their mouth and nose and they can drown, that goes for anyone, not just kids.
Drowning is silent, but the pain the family has to go through is forever.
Swimming lessons are “a gift of life”. Every child in Australia should be attending swimming lessons, not through their school, but one that their parents take them to. Any school swimming programs should just compliment the lessons they should have been attending since they were babies.
Many parents stop their lessons in Winter because it is too cold, but yet will take them to play soccer, netball, football in the pouring down rain, take them home wet and expect the child not to get sick.
As a Swimming Instructor, from about the end of March when it starts to cool down, I suggest that the parents bring their children’s PJ, beanies, dressing gowns, slippers etc give them a hot shower, rug them up in the PJs etc and take them home ready for dinner and bed. Most of the kids that do, don’t get sick. It is the ones that are just dried on the side of the pool, shivering with the cold, who usually end up sick and don’t come back. The pool is warm, it is the outside air temperature that is cold, and when that cold air hits your warm body from the water, you just can’t stop shivering.
I understand that many parents in this very difficult financial time cannot always afford swimming lessons into a very tight budget, but my suggestion to that is, when someone asks what to give their child for a birthday, Xmas or other present, suggest a gift voucher to the Swim School you wish to attend.
The other most important reason for attending swimming lessons, is when your child turns 8, they can participate in their school swimming carnivals. It is very sad to see kids just having to sit on the sideline, because they can’t actually swim. This is most embarrassing for the kids and is not something that should be.
At the Swim School where I teach, we use floatation as in armbands and back bubbles. Our program is extremely successful and the children whom have gone through our program have been very successful at their school carnivals. There are many other Swim Schools that choose not to use floatation, but my concerns are that it gives a child a false sense of security in thinking they can swim, and would be more likely to jump into a pool, and find themselves in danger.
I believe that if you have a pool and children, unless the child can competently swim freestyle (not do paddle), they should be wearing some form of floatation. This should be hung on the outside of the pool fence and placed on the child before they enter the pool area. This re-enforces to the child that they require this on before they enter the pool area and also gives the parent some peace of mind, that if the child was to fall in, they will at least come to the top of the pool not tragically be found on the bottom.