When I was little, my brothers and I would spend every day swimming at a neighborhood park. It was a lake, and it was FREEZING, but we always had a ton of fun in our inner-tubes & jumping from the high-dive. My mom made sure we knew how to swim well, and it wasn’t until later that I realized that not all kids swam like we did.
My mom was a certified lifeguard for over 10 years. Over the years I have heard her tell countless stories of the horrors that can happen at a pool when no one is watching, or even when they think they are watching. I won’t go into the details but a lot of them involve moms, just like you and me, who are talking with friends and not necessarily keeping their eyes on their children. In fact, a couple of close friends of mine have had a couple of similar swimming scares as well.
What can we do? My mom believed the best thing she could do for us to be safe was teach us to swim at an early age. My brothers and I would take swimming lessons every day, all summer long, every year. I didn’t know that it wasn’t typical for kids my age, and it didn’t really cross my mind until I got married (one of many other previously undiscovered differences between my husband’s upbringing and mine).
We started our oldest son in lessons when he was 3. Our goal was to get him used to the water since he was a sensitive child, and hadn’t yet grown into the coordination he needed to truly swim. At age 4 he started taking lessons more regularly, could float by himself, and glide underwater. At age 5, he took off! He started swimming by himself, and we kept him in lessons as much as we could. Now at age 7, I would still never leave him unattended, but he has the basic skills down.
With both my children, it just CLICKED. Once they realized they could actually SEE things under the water with their cool goggles, they were hooked. It was getting them to that step. Then they spent half their lessons scoping out the underwater view and sneaking up on their classmates! Learning to swim is a necessity in my home. It may be different in other homes, and that’s okay.
For me, I feel much better knowing my kids have been taught water safety in a controlled environment. They know not to go in without an adult. They know what to do if someone falls in the water. They know what it feels like to wear a life jacket. The more I can prepare them the better off they will be and I can’t think of a better way to prepare them than by giving them the opportunity to swim at an early age, in a safe environment, as often as possible (and it’s amazing what you can teach in a bathtub).
I am so grateful to my mom for the countless hours she spent with us swimming at the park (amongst a million other things my mom did for us) and I can only hope I am being a pinch of the mother she was to me, for my children. I am grateful my children have had the chance to get to know her, swim with her, and laugh & love her.
About the Blogger:
My name is Alee, and I am a stay-at-home mom to three kids. I love to make crafts, scrapbook, and help out at my kids school.