• TheConfused Father

Why you should take your kids swimming?

We took the kids swimming today, and my two-year-old daughter jumped off the diving board all by herself for the first time. My wife and I were both pool rats as kids and lifeguards as teens. We both swam competitively throughout high school so naturally, we want our kids to love the water as well. We took Gabs swimming at our local YMCA for the first time when she was about 5 months old and she has loved the water ever since. Before the outbreak of COVID 19 shutdown the YMCA I would take her swimming every Monday afternoon that I was not out of town for work. Today was the first time that the boys went "swimming" (more so splashing) and they both seemed to enjoy it as well. Or I should say after they got past the initial 15-minute phase of, this is different and that is awful, that babies have; they enjoyed it. But more than wanting our kids to enjoy swimming we want them to know how to swim if they ever need to.

In a survey done by the American Red Cross in 2014, they found that 54 percent of people don't know how to swim. From 2005 to 2014 on average, there were 3,536 non-boating related drowning deaths in the US each year. 20 percent of these deaths were children less than 14 years old. The younger that children are exposed to water the more likely they are to enjoy swimming as an activity and more likely they are to learn to swim competently.

The most common response that I get when I ask others why they have never learned to swim is that they don't enjoy swimming and never think they will need to know-how. So, I have a story in that regard. A few years ago a friend of my family, a fellow Kansan, took his family to the beach on vacation. While there his kids went for a swim in the ocean and his son's leg cramped aways offshore. He did not personally know how to swim but faced with the panic of watching his son drown, that must not have crossed his mind. He dove into the ocean and tried to save him. His daughter, who was a trained lifeguard followed in not far behind. She was able to save her brother but by the time she made it back to try to help her struggling father it was too late.

Swimming is not a necessary life skill but it is a skill that may save your life one day. Arming your kids with information and skills to help them succeed in life is one of the most important things we can do as parents. Swim lessons are a great way to get kids outside, active, and interested in swimming. Swimming is a great source of exercise and due to its low impact, it can be enjoyed throughout the entire life. If you are an adult there are plenty of places that offer one on one swim lessons for adults. It is never too late to learn and there is no shame in asking for help if you need it. Probably the best feeling I experienced the entire time I was a lifeguard, was teaching a father how to swim one day before the pool opened. He was taking his 5-year-old daughter to the lake and wanted to be prepared so he could start teaching her to swim. He wanted to better himself for his child and that was/is a beautiful feeling and I got to be part of it and I will never forget that.

Water is necessary for all life on the plant, but it is also one of the most powerful forces. It can carve great canyons over millions of years or move part of a mountain in a matter of minutes. Whether it is an ocean, lake, river, or just a back yard pool your kids are going to be around water. Help them be know how to keep themselves safe while having fun. Take your kids swimming, it will be fun for all of you.

I hope this message finds you in good health and with a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering...



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