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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do you think it is important enough of a skill for all children to learn how to swim, even if they complain sometimes about going to swimming school? Or do you see it more as optional, only if the child wants to take swimming lessons?

DH says he doesn't think it is as important as I do and he wouldn't care if our children stop taking swimming lessons. I on the other hand, insist swimming is important and comes first (before any other sport) -- at least until I am satisfied that they can swim should they ever find themselves in trouble in the water. Am I being too rigid in my thinking?
 

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There are has been some research that shows that children who take swim lessons are more likely to drown. Some people believe that this is because it causes parents to relax around water, when the reality is that swim lessons do not make children safe around water. Only the watchful eye of a parent makes a child safe around water. It's quite common in swim lessons for children to be forced to do things they are afraid of, and I wonder if this teaches children to ignore their own fear instincts. A child's fear instincts are there for a reason.


I didn't insist on swim lessons, yet both my DDs became fantastic swimmer. One loved it from the time she was little. The other hated water until she was about 9, and then in a water of a couple of weeks went from not being able to put her face in the water or swim at all, to completing in swim meets. She was ready.
 

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Not essential but important imo.
in my experience the people who can't swim (and I know many) stay away from deep water. From what I've read people who can swim
but are overconfident can get in trouble.

However I insist on swimming lessons because it's not fun being the only one in a group who can't swim.
 

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What age child?

I agree that all school age should learn to swim. It is safer if they fall in accidentally to a body of water.

I do think kids forced to swim too soon as toddlers are the ones most at risk for drowning because their family figures "oh, they had lessons so I don't need to watch the pool, lake or beach" Supervision is always, always a must.
 

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We did a series of 6 swim lessons every summer from age 5 till 8 or so... the first couple years he didn't get very far then suddenly it just clicked and he was swimming strong. I was also that mom that did child-led weaning (at 2.5 yo) and potty training (at 3 yo) though, so... ;) I think kids are ready when they are ready and pushing them to do something they don't enjoy before they are ready is just a waste of time and money...
 

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learning to swim "at some time during childhood" is something i was keen for my children ... ideally, learning to ride a bike too .... that is before other sports ... although right now, we are not living in an environment where i would be happy to know that my kids are riding a bike by themselves so i let that one drop from my "to do list" of what i thought essential life skills ....
 

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I was not on top of this one, and my son is not a strong swimmer. I didn't take him for lessons until the summer after kindergarten, and he had a hard time learning to swim. I took him for lessons for about three years, on and off. He does know how, but he doesn't enjoy it. I think he'd be safe in a water safety emergency, but that's about it. That's my bad. I should have started him when he was younger and made it something we did every summer. I love swimming.

The problem was that my ex doesn't care for swimming. He didn't support my interest in having the child learn to swim while we were married and he doesn't now that we're divorced. When he decided to leave the marriage, he took our son on a trip with his family to Key West, where he didn't take him in the water a single time. There was a pool and a beach near where they were staying. It was like adding insult to injury!

I'm very sad about this one. There are many advantages to splitting the parenting down the middle, but this is a major disadvantage.

My kid also had a lot of trouble learning to ride a bike. He's not the best with large motor coordination--he was a late walker, also. He needs extra time and learning strategies to master these kinds of things. But my ex was into the idea of him learning to bike. We actually hired someone to teach him when he failed to learn from us teaching him in the ways we had learned. (We did the old training wheels method, but he did better with the method where the teacher takes the pedals off the bike and the student learns balance first.) That seems very spoiled and ridiculous, but the child rides a bike!

Anyway I think swimming is something worth pushing the children to do. Don't make it optional. You want them to have a variety of physical things they can do for fun later, and that means building the skills now. Swimming is something people can do and enjoy all their lives, so it's worth learning more than just the dead man's float and how to tread water.
 

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Personally, I think it is extremely important. This doesn't mean you then relax around water with a small child, but that the child learns the basics. Also, that the child learns to keep water out of their lungs. Many drownings occur with the inhalation of very small amounts of water- even once away from that water (in their sleep later that night), so it is important for a child to know how to avoid inhaling water. I was taught at a very young age to swim, but even before that to how to float, dog paddle, etc. I've always valued having that knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the thoughts, heads ups, and sharing of your personal stories. I appreciate them all! It confirms that I want my children (7 and 4) to learn to swim, and always being watchful, never letting my guard down.
 

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I know a few adults who can't swim, which means a lifetime of being tense and uncomfortable around bodies of water. I also had a classmate who went away to college who drowned in a hazing incident because he couldn't swim. I live in Florida so obviously it would be a miserable existence to not enjoy water. I say, push swimming skills. It's a safety issue. Of course you still need to watch young children, but give your children the gift of confidence near water.
 

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I agree on the learning to swim is super important. I know an adult who nearly drowned because he fell into a water-filled ditch during a rainstorm. He was rescued at the last minute. Amazing how little water he nearly drowned in. *shudder at the thought* I think it's great they learn to swim. Plus perhaps in time they will be more comfortable in the water and like it more.
 
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