Swimming is one activity that each and every child must be taught. It provides a great range of benefits to children. It is an excellent activity for recreation, fitness and most importantly safety. Swimming serves as a full body workout because almost every major muscle group is utilized in swimming.
What is the best age to teach a child how to swim?
A toddler as young as six months can be given swimming lessons. This is actually done in west and slowly India (Bangalore) is also introducing this age swimming classes. It is not exactly swimming lesson as children just move their hands and feet and are unable to remember or follow instructions. It is necessary for a parent or guardian to be with toddler while water activity.
The risks involved outweigh the few benefits. Baby may swallow water from pool, holding breath is risky; chances of water poisoning and adjusting to water temperature pose greater threats for babies under age two.
So practically speaking, in India the instructing class specifies 5 years as minimum age to teach a child how to swim. If you see readiness in child you can even start at 4 years of age.
Why 5 years age is best?
This age is best because
- Your child is accustomed to water and its changing temperature.
- The immunity is built well enough to overcome poisoning by water.
- Child can understand the instructions and follow them.
- Child has good ability to focus on learning.
- Hands and feet movements are coordinated.
Five years age is considered best to start but you need to consider the fact that your child must have readiness to learn swimming and face waters. Although, swimming is one activity that every child must learn for safety against drowning. But, if child is not ready, then it is better to wait for few more months or years before starting.
What factors should I consider before starting my child’s swimming class?
- The child must be able to listen and follow directions and retain what he has learnt.
- The child is curious and wants to learn swimming.
- The pool must be built according to specified guidelines.
- The teacher to student ratio is important to know.
- Life guards must be around the pool.
- The child must be in your sight.
- The water used in pool must be cleaned and changed at regular intervals.
- Avoid eating immediately before a swimming class. It may result in development of cramps and might also increase the risk of drowning. It is recommended that a person should swim at least an hour after eating.
- Always use proper costume along with goggles.
Benefits of swimming:
- It is workout for whole body as all muscles are involved in it and water does not cause strain on bones or muscles.
- As it is an aerobic activity it strengthens the heart and lungs.
- It reduces the chances of diabetes and high cholesterol.
- It reduces stress causing hormones and relaxes the mind and body.
- Hand feet coordination improves and helps in development of physical and mental strength.
- It engages people of all ages and is a good recreational activity.
Safety is one of the major goals of teaching children swimming. It makes a child self sufficient and confident in case of any water related mishap especially drowning.