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Three Simple Ways To Prepare Your Child For Swimming Lessons

by Guy Jacobs

Enrolling your young child in swimming lessons is about more than just giving him or her the ability to have fun splashing the summer away. Knowing how to swim could very well save your child's life; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 20 percent of drowning victims are children under the age of 14. Even if your child seems excited about hitting the water for the first time, this feeling can commonly change to uncertainty and even fear on the day of the first lesson. While practicing splashing around in the bathtub can help your child's familiarity with water, you can be proactive by taking these three steps to further prepare your child for the water.

Show That Swimming Is Fun

From an early age, your child learns simply based on watching your actions. Whether you have a backyard swimming pool or enjoy visiting a friend's, do your best to always act in a manner that portrays swimming as enjoyable. Laughing, splashing, swimming and playing in front of your child helps ingrain that swimming has a valuable fun factor. Although it's useful to focus on fun, keep the horseplay to a minimum when your child is present; you don't want to demonstrate unsafe habits right off the bat.

Shop For A Swimsuit Together

Instead of bribing your child with a treat upon getting through the first day of swimming lessons, take action by shopping for the child's first swimsuit together. Let the youngster pick out the color or pattern that appeals to him or her and buy any other necessary accessories such as goggles and water wings. Let the child try on the swimsuit in the days before the first lesson -- practice wearing it in the bathtub, for example -- and he or she might feel more relaxed.

Make An Early Visit

New settings can be intimidating for children, especially if they're shy. Ease the transition into the start of the swimming lessons by visiting the athletic center or pool a couple days before the lessons begin. Allow your child to explore the facility and spend some time on the pool deck getting used to the new sights and sounds. See if you can track down the instructor to allow for a quick chance to say hello. When your child sees the instructor's familiar face on the first day of the lessons, the whole situation might feel more familiar and positive.

For more information, contact YMCA of Greater Cincinnati or a similar location.