Mercury is soaring and we are all looking for some respite from the heat. If you live in an apartment in a city, chances are you have a swimming pool at a stone’s throw distance. You already know swimming is beneficial for your child at many levels (especially in the hot summers) but you are worried about risks, accidents, chlorine levels and what nots. This article will equip you with everything you need to know about swimming – what is good, what is bad, what precautions you can take to avoid the bad and what factors you need to know to zero in on a good swimming coaching class.
Toddler swimming

How Can Swimming Benefit My Child?

Wow! Where do we start! Swimming is definitely a fun thing for your child to do. It is also a great escape in this hot weather. But the benefits of swimming are much more than that:

  • Physical fitness: This is the most obvious one. Swimming uses the entire body – thus it is a fantastic aerobic workout for your child. It needs some skill – so it improves the posture and balance. It also uses all the limbs – so it improves the flexibility. And the best bit? It is not a monotonous exercise. It is lot of fun to do. And it can be done with friends
  • Better health: Swimming is great for cardio vascular health – this means it is great for a healthy heart and lungs. It keeps obesity at check, thereby promoting better metabolism, lower risk of juvenile diabetics and overall better health
  • Safety: It is absolutely necessary for any individual (child or adult) to know how to stay safe if fallen into a water body. Whether your child likes swimming or not, it is a vital skill to master so that he can remain safe in and around water bodies
  • Coordination: While a good swimmer would make swimming look gracious and effortless, in reality, it requires a lot of coordination and synchronization between your arm movement, leg movement, overall body movement and breathing. The coordination skills your child masters while swimming will help improve his overall motor skills
  • Confidence: It gives your child a lot of confidence to know that he can jump into the pool with his friends and swim! Moreover, research shows that the buoyancy in water can promote calmness and better emotional health

Are There Any Cons Of Swimming For My Child?

The pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to swimming.

  • Sometimes, your child might be too small for the pool. While there are coaching classes for kids as small as 6 months, experts believe that a child cannot be an expert swimmer until he is 6 or 7. So the ideal time to start classes would be 4 or 5
  • Another problem is barring summer, the cold pool water can cause some diseases like cold and cough. Temperature controlled pools solve this problem – but it is not very widespread
  • The chemicals in pool water and the ones used to clean pool (mainly chlorine) can result in toxic gas that swimmers breathe in just over the surface of pool water. This is known to lead to asthma
  • Finally, when we put multiple children into a single pool that is often cleaned only once in a week, it can lead to spread of contagious diseases

Swimming benefits for kids

What Precautions Should I Take When My Child Goes To Swim?

Here are some precautions you and your child need to bear in mind while going for a swim.

  • However confident you are, do not let your child go for a swim alone. There has to be someone (adults or friends) to watch over
  • Follow the pool rules. No exceptions
  • Ensure your child wears proper swimming gears. A swimwear is absolutely necessary. Be wary of fancy swimming floats. Many of them are not as safe as they look and can lead to avoidable accidents
  • Teach them about how swimming in a pool is different from the same in an ocean or a river. For instance, the river bed will not be flat as a pool. Also, there might be rocks underneath making diving a not-so-good idea
  • Learn CPR. Whether your child knows swimming or not, there can still be accidents and you need to know CPR in case of an emergency

How Should I Choose A Swimming Class For My Child?

While we all agree that swimming is great for your child, it is not a skill that can be mastered in few classes. A lot of lessons and practice is required to make your child a competent swimmer. Here are some tips to choose the right swimming class for you.

  • Make sure the classes are categorized based on skills that need to be taught. If there is a single class with multiple age groups and at different levels of training, then it might not be a good idea
  • If your child is small, or is scared of water, then pick a class whey allow parents to be in the pool at the same time.
  • If you have access, it is a good idea to pick a class with a temperature controlled pool
  • Inquire about the cleaning frequency and chemicals used
  • Ask about the experience and credentials of the instructor. Ask specifically if he/she has experience teaching small kids
  • Ensure the class size is not too much so that your child can hope to get individual attention. Make sure your child spends more time swimming than waiting for his turn
  • Take 1-2 trial classes and watch how the coach is able to maintain the class decorum and manage the kids

Swimming is equally great for pregnant women as well! Read here.
Good luck!