Do your kids know how to swim? Do you?

Katherine - posted on 06/13/2011 ( 69 moms have responded )

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I was just thinking about this. A lot of my mom friend's kids DON'T know how to swim! How important do you think this is? Do you think it depends on the age? Do you think they should know from birth? 6 months? What about the parents? Should they know how to swim too? This is shocking to me the number of parents who don't know how to swim.


I think it's vital.

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Krista - posted on 06/13/2011

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I also think it is absolutely crucial for people to know how to swim. Even if you're completely land-locked, you never know what situations your kid will be in, or where life will take them, and swimming is a very important safety skill.

As far as I'm aware, in early years, swimming lessons are more about making sure the child is comfortable in the water. My son already has that down pat -- the kid is utterly fearless and loves the water. Once he's 2 1/2 - 3, I'm going to put him in formal swimming lessons.

And yes, the parents should know how to swim too, especially if you live near water. My husband does not know how to swim, only to dogpaddle, and considering that we live on a river, that makes me nervous. Fortunately, I'm an extremely strong swimmer and used to be certified as a lifeguard.

Karen - posted on 02/13/2012

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Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under 4 yrs. old. It is important that a child have survival swimming lessons. Check out www.safestartusa.org or www.infantswim.com.

Vicki - posted on 06/23/2011

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I think it's vital. Having said that I haven't taken my son to lessons yet. He didn't really enjoy being in water when he was a baby. He'll be 2 next week and liked splashing in the pool last time we went for a swim so maybe I'll try him on lessons soon. I had lessons when I was young (maybe from age 4? Can't remember) and can swim fine.

My partner grew up here in Australia as well, but his family were immigrants from Burma. They didn't see the point in swimming lessons as it wasn't what they did. Also his family didn't have much money and swimming lessons weren't a priority. He was forced into learning when he joined the army but still isn't a strong swimmer now.

Charlie - posted on 06/19/2011

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It is vital for everyone to know where to swim furthermore it is pretty important for Aussie parents to be able to read and navigate the ocean , see the rips , sandbanks and undertows it doesnt matter how well you swim you you can still get taken under , smashed on a sandbank or taken out to sea if you can't read the ocean.

Claire - posted on 06/19/2011

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I think it is very important to be able to swim. Children as young as possible (some take to it quicker than others) and adults who can't it's never to late.

Both myself and my husband can swim. I believe that you should take babies on a regular basis as soon as they are old enough to give them water confidence. I have taken both our children to baby classes from 5 months. I find we are more likely to go if it is already booked and paid for. Austin 23 months has just been through a resistant/crying stage (apparently quite common at some point between 1 and 2 years) but we kept going and he his now back to swimming off on his woggle by himself.

Evelyn has been having swimming lessons from 3 years and at 3 1/2 is nearly swimming. She can swim just below the surface and on her back a little. Although I think she was ready to swim earlier ( Most places don't teach children till they are 3 years) I think the baby classes helped to prepare her. They also teach children to hang onto the side of the pool - I once read a newspaper article where this saved an 18 month old child's life. The classes are also great for social and language developmental (all the singing and listening) as well as the obvious physical benefits.

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/22/2012

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****Old thread. Locking it. Feel free to start another*****



DM MoD Little Miss

Desiree - posted on 11/22/2012

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I live in South Africa, where the majority houses, complexes and apartment blocks have a swiming pool or 2 if they are bigger. Most of the schools in the citys have swimming pools too so most children are taught from very young to swim. Even those in rural areas know how to swim as they live on the riverside and spend much of our very hot summer in the water.

Heather - posted on 11/21/2012

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Hey, we took our bub to swim today for the first time at 2.5months and it went so well. We only did 5 mins but this was the most important thing for me to teach him and I knew i wanted to start him young. Here was our little adventure. http://youtu.be/J-FBRJO3HoU?hd=1

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 02/13/2012

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Ah, that sucks Sherri for sure! Eesh, too bad, they really should offer more classes and for younger kids too. Although, I am not sure where you live or anything but I assume it must be a resource thing perhaps. A small town? They can start at 3 months or so here. It is a parent, baby class. Mom/Dad go in with baby and the instructor gives lessons to the parents on what to do for 50-65 bucks per 8-10 lessons (pretty reasonable)... I absolutely LOVE watching them when I take my daughter to her classes. She is always way in the deep end where I can't see, so I get to watch all the cute little munchkins;) mind you some cry to high heaven :(

Sherri - posted on 02/13/2012

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Wish we had swimming lessons that young our lessons don't start till 3yrs old and unless you have quite a bit of money and can afford a facility that is indoors lessons are only offered in the summer months for 8wks.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 02/13/2012

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I think swimming is very important. I have my life guarding badge, unfortunately have never used it but, I am a damn good swimmer.



I started my daughter at 2.5 years of age, she is 3 badges from her life guarding badge. I told her in 3 years when she is 16 she can do it a summer job. She likes that idea.



My son will start sooner, we will start him in our pool but by age 2.5 he will also get enrolled in lessons.



When I grew up we did not live around an ocean but we had lot's of lakes and rivers - I learnt for a couple years in a lake. We also learnt how to get free of undertows, probably because of all the rivers we lived around.



Now we do live around ocean and we enjoy spending time at the beaches. It is important they can swim. Even if it is only in a pool, lake or ocean... To me it is like learning to ride a bike, it is a part of childhood and is important. I don't want my kid(s) to grow up and have to tell their class they can't go swimming on their school outting because they can't swim! ;)



Again,. I haven't read anyone's post yet. So this is just my 2 cents and what I believe...

Desiree - posted on 06/23/2011

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It is the norm for children in South Africa to learn to swim or should I say at least in Urban areas. Most schools have a swiming pool and all children are taught to swim but it is also the norm for children to be taught from a very young age to swim. Many houses have pools and the beaches are packed with people so Black and white, pink or green we are taught to swim even if it is doggy paddle. But over and above that we have new laws regarding pools and all houses have to have fencing as well as pool covers. You get little devices here that goes on a childs wrist that when the child falls in it lets off a high pitch screaching sound. the same with the device for the pool so that if there is a certain displacement of water does the same thing applies.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/23/2011

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Thank you Laura for your kind words. It was horrifying. It was eerie how calmly I reached out my hand and raised him out of the water by putting my hand under his butt and lifting. It didn't hit me until he was safely in my arms. One of my scariest moments yet.

Merry - posted on 06/23/2011

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marina, that's awful to have to go through, just breathe and remember he is ok, you are a good mom for turning around in time, and he is lucky to have you! Your mommy instinct told you you should look at him just in time and you listened! Try not to beat yourself up about it :)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/22/2011

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Beings that my son was drowning in front of me 4 days ago, yes I am gonna make sure he takes swimming lessons. I keep getting flashes of him head underwater, flailing in the water, it turns my body cold and makes my heart stop every time I think of it. I am not able to fall asleep well at night, it was really scary. He was less than 2 feet from me. I had my back to him while he was getting out of the pool. I was talking with my SIL, and I literally just happened to turn around. Ugh, I feel like I am gonna be sick. I keep running it through my head.

Elisabeth - posted on 06/22/2011

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Swimming lessons for kids really is a MUST. Drowning is such a tragic thing considering that there are many situations where it could have been avoided if the person knew how to swim. Of course in a lot of circumstances even those who can swim do drown in flood conditions or bad surf conditions.

I have three children and when my two older kids were babies there were no baby swimming lessons available so I think they started at age 2. My third child started lessons at 6 months and I am so grateful because I just know she would have been a horror if we had started taking her when she was older, lol!

Kimberly - posted on 06/20/2011

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me personally i know how to swim really well i believe my son should just enjoy the water and learn how to swim on his own terms but in the mean time enjoy and have fun

Merry - posted on 06/20/2011

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Swimming lessons were mandatory in our house when I was a kid, we all had to lass through all the levels at the rec department. I adored swim lessons, my brother hated them. But since we went to my uncles house on a lake every year my parents weren't okwith us not knowing how to swim!
I agree, it's very important. My kids will all learn to swim.

Sara - posted on 06/19/2011

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I don't know how to swim. I was almost drown at 11 and I am TERRIFIED of water over my knees. I SO wish my kids knew how to swim. But swimming lessons are so expensive and I can't teach them. My husband works too many hours to be able to. I absolutely think it's crucial just not sure how to go about doing it here. I have total panic attacks in the water so it's just not going to happen if I have to do it. :(

Amanda - posted on 06/19/2011

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my mother is terrified of water and so am i and now so is my son not that i have showed him how terrified of water i am but he just is...i can swim i taught my self to swim at 13 in a friends pool but i will not swim in deep water or water in which i can not see the bottom and both my parents do not know how to swim and their parents did not know either...i am not sure if i will ever be able to teach my son to swim or my little girl but i do make sure they will know about water safety as i did...we do go to the beach but its pretty shallow and yeah i agree it should be something that everybody knows how to do...they do have swimming lessons here in my home town but i do not have the money for that...my sister and her husband can swim and i have one aunt and some cousins who can swim beyond that hardley anybody in my family can swim...

Amanda - posted on 06/19/2011

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We live in Australia and I think it is vital that my kids learn how to swim. I started lessons with a swim school at 7 months with both my kids and they love it. At the moment we have taken them out coz it was getting really expensive and it's winter but we are looking at putting them back in in a few months so they are confident come the summer. Although they have been taken out of lessons they have still spent alot of time at the beach and in the pool with us and are very confident.
When my daughter first learnt to walk she decided that at the start of her lesson she was going to run and jump off the side, I told her to stop and she did and waited for me to get in first so I could help her in but she didn't quite wait long enough and as I went to catch her she slipped through my hands and sunk to the bottom of the pool. Luckily she had learnt enought that she pushed off the bottom turned herself round and reached for the side without me having to help her too much then asked to do it again. She scared the life out of me but had she not had the lessons and the confidence to be able to help herself it could have been devastating.

I can swim my husband can swim.

Amanda - posted on 06/19/2011

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I can't swim but my son will. I do believe it is important to give him the tools to protect himself from drowning.

Louise Faith Donelan - posted on 06/19/2011

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I think it's extremely important for a child too know how too swim, at least to the stage where you know they won't drown and are strong enough to swim to safety. I can swin and when my little boy is old enough he will be going to swim lessons too, I already take him swimming to get him used to the water and he's 5 months old. If the parents don't know how to swim too, it's a lovely bonding thing to do, go to tots and parent swim classes, your children will love it, I did when my mum did it with me and my brother.

Dana - posted on 06/19/2011

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That's very true for Lake Erie (or any of the other Great Lakes) also, Loureen. It's definitely imperative that you know how to read open waters.

Jennifer - posted on 06/16/2011

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I think is is ESSENTIAL all kids learn how to swim. We live in AZ where there is a backyard pool in almost every yard. The dangers are staggering. I put both my girls in swim lessons when they were 2 1/2 yrs old. They both "caught on" when they were about 4 yrs old. My oldest is 8 yrs old and on swim team, my youngest is 5 1/2 yrs and moving forward all the time. They both LOVE swimming. My husband was a swimmer himself and I know how to swim, although don't enjoy it much anymore. I read that if a child does not learn to swim by the time they are in 3rd grade, they likely never will. It's like riding a bike, a must skill all children must learn. It could save their life one day. If you can't afford a swim school then put them in your city's public lessons which are often much more affordable. Don't delay, do it now!!

Tracy - posted on 06/16/2011

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I think knowing how to swim is hugely important for kids and adults. My husband and I are both strong swimmers and love the water. Having my son learn to swim has always been a top priortiy for me so I put our now 4 yr old son in swim lessons starting at 10 months. I assumed if I got him started early he would learn at a young age however he hated to get his head wet so it has been a battle for him to learn to swim. He is about to turn 4 and each year we see some progress. He is doing a little better this year with getting his head wet so I'm hopeful by the end of the summer he will be comfortable going underwater and on his way to swimming.

Kimber - posted on 06/15/2011

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Yes both my hubby,and i know how to swim. We have 2 boys one is 9 and he knows how to swim,and the other one just turned 3 this pass April,so he does not know how to swim yet. we don't have a pool,or any that are around us,so we have not taught him yet. But yes i do think that it is very inportant to know how to swim yourself,and to also teach your kids how to swim. Not only is it GREAT EXCERCISE,but it will always make you sleep sooo good,and it is just plain fun!!!

Amber - posted on 06/15/2011

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I live 10 minutes from 4 small lakes, and 20 minutes from Lake Michigan. Swimming is important for us. We spend most of our weekends during the summer out on the boat.

Chad and I can both swim, and our 4 year old is getting there. He was doing great unassissted, then the stupid swim instructor let him go underwater because she wasn't paying attention. He's a bit leary of water now, but it's been 6 months and I almost have him back to where he was before.

April - posted on 06/15/2011

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i took swimming lessons starting with Mommy & Me when I was 6 months old and continued on to more formal lessons until around age 7 or 8. I loved it and wanted to continue. When my instructor passed away (he was really really old), my mom just didn't sign me up again. I was heartbroken. I loved it so much. I would have liked to go into competitive swimming. Maybe Mom could see where that was going and felt we couldn't afford it or just plain didn't feel like driving me to lessons all the time!

My son is 2 and has been in Mommy and me since his 2nd birthday. He cannot doggy paddle on his own yet, but I have to say he is a slacker. He likes to play with the toys in the pool and do his own thing. It has been very difficult to get him to stay on task, he's been very stubborn! At his age (2 1/2) I DID swim independently. I actually snuck out while my mom was taking a nap or doing dishes (cant quite recall). Anyway, she was busy and i decided to go for a swim!! I wish my son was more motivated in the water. He does love his baths and doesn't mind pools and spray parks but he really only likes to fool around!

Katherine - posted on 06/15/2011

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@ Casey when I was little I had a problem with ear infections from swimming too. I had to eventually get tubes in my ears because the darn water wasn't draining out of my ears. If he continues to get infections I would definitely look into that.

Casey - posted on 06/14/2011

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I think it's very important to teach your kids to swim, we started swimming lessons with our son when he was 6 months old but after a few sessions I stopped cause he kept getting colds and ear infections so I decided to wait a while and try again when he was a bit bigger, so now he is 2 and a half and we have just signed up again for swimming lessons after winter, so now poor mummy has to work her butt off over winter and loose some of this baby weight (I had another one a month ago) so I can wear a bathing suit lol.

Jane - posted on 06/14/2011

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We have known way too many families who have lost toddlers to drowning so drown-proofing was one of the first things we insisted on. In addition, my parents had a pool that was open to the backyard, so as soon as possible I signed my guys up for drown-proofing classes. These are classes for babies that teach them how to turn on their backs and float.

My kids went on to take several years of summer swim lessons because they both loved the water. Until the kids were in middle school we took them swimming every evening because both are ADHD and the swimming got them ready to go to sleep.

The only problem we had was that my son had so much muscle and so little body fat that he swam very well but was always about a foot under the surface.

And my husband and I both can swim. My husband was in the Navy and was required to be able to swim because of his job, and my parents made sure all of us kids could swim by the time we started school. Besides, my dad wouldn't let me crew on his sailboat if I couldn't swim 100 feet.

I started crewing for him when I was in kindergarten.

Carmina - posted on 06/14/2011

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i cant swim that well, i could probably only go a few metres lol my son hasnt learnt yet but i definetly want him to learn! i dont have a car and havent for a while so until i get one it wont be happening unforutunatly. i agree, it is vital and i wish i learnt! im never in water these days though and if i am i wont go deeper then my hip haha so i dont think i have a chance of drowning :)

Sherri - posted on 06/13/2011

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2 of my kids do, 1 my youngest not yet but he certainly will. I also know how to swim. I have an uncontrollable fear of one of my children drowning. Although really I don't think kids really get down the concept of actual swimming till around 5ish.

Alison - posted on 06/13/2011

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This doesn't seem like much of a debate. :O) I think it's vital too. The apartment complex I used to live in had a gate that was always getting played with by older kids and thus would never shut right...I was scared that some kid would wander in and drown. I was surprised when I visited Tanzania that the people I met there didn't know how to swim. Granted, I didn't see any swimming pools but they live right by the ocean and were terrified of water.

Becky - posted on 06/13/2011

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I think it's very important. I'm not a great swimmer, but I can swim well enough to get by and I can tread water for over 45 minutes. My kids have both been in swimming lessons - Cole has been since 11 months, I think, and Zach just started last month (20 months). Cole will be in his first unparented lessons this summer. I think it's critical that your child learn at a minimum, how to float, how to hold their breath in water, and how to tread water. And water safety, of course.

Teresa - posted on 06/13/2011

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I know how. My parents thought it important as we lived right near a body of water. My kids know how and I think it is a regular part of an education to teach them to swim and be comfortable in the water.

FYI Trivia: When we were in Jamaica our tour guide for the Negril Beach trip would not get in the water with us. When I asked her why she didn't swim she said she didn't know how and that most Jamaican's do not learn to swim. Man, if I lived on a Island I would want my kids to know how to swim.

Caitlin - posted on 06/13/2011

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I was a self taught swimming who went on to be a certified lifeguard and to teach lifesaving and swimming lessons. My girls can't swim yet, at 2 1/2 and 15 months we work on water safety and moving around safely in a pool. They are both fearless. Sadly I don't have much time to bring htem to the pool right now, but when I do I work on some basic skills, and am pretty happy with how they are doing. I feel it's incredibly important that everyone knows how to swim. Here, more that 50% of homes have a backyard pool, so swimming, self rescue and those skills are very important. I've saved ocuntless kids from drowning at pools (when I was a lifeguard) and the parent has been oblivious that the kids wasn't just "splashing with his face in the water" but that he was drowning. The issue here is that most people toss a PFD on their kid and think that's enough, but i've seen toddlers especially lose their balance in the water, go face down and look like they are "swimming" when in fact they can't stand up and are drowning. I love those handles on the back of those things..

Erin - posted on 06/13/2011

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Ok, I will also agree that being competent in the open water is very different to swimming in a pool. Understanding the surf is important for most Aussies (since the vast majority of us live on the coast).

Erin - posted on 06/13/2011

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Posting before reading the other replies...



Not knowing how to swim is not an option in Australia. Yes, I can swim. I actually got my Bronze Medallion (preliminary lifeguard certification) when I was 15. My 2 yo can swim unassisted. This kid was jumping off the side of my mum's pool when she was 10 months old. She is a total water baby, and has never had formal lessons. Given my backgroud, I feel totally comfortable teaching her.



Parents need to know how to swim. If not, they are either putting their kids at risk (by supervising them in the water when they have no skills to rectify an emergency situation) or depriving them (by never taking them swimming).



Edit to add: Swim unassisted = dog paddle. Obviously she is not doing butterfly across the pool lol.

Jenn - posted on 06/13/2011

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That's not a bad idea Tara, but the problem is Brian works long hours in construction and doesn't get home until close to bed time for the kids, and it's just too much for me with all 3 kids. We do live only a 5 minute drive from Lake Erie (yep - I'm another one on the lake LOL), so we do go to the beach, but the kids just splash around and play in the sand. I actually have a job interview on Wednesday and I'm really hoping to get it so that we can have a little bit extra around here for once, and if that happens, I'll probably end up enrolling Phillip in lessons. I'll wait until the girls are a bit bigger - they're only 2.

Johnny - posted on 06/13/2011

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Both my husband and I can swim. My daughter is just about to turn 3, so she can not swim on her own yet. She can just float on her back with someone nearby. She has been in swim lessons since she was 4 months (not continuously) and we go to the pool every few weeks for a swim. She adores it. I plan to make sure she has a good grasp of the basics. If she wants to pursue swimming more, that's great, but I will insist that she takes lessons until she knows how to handle the water. In the summer they also have ocean lessons, so I'll put her in those when she's older.

Recently there have been a spate of drownings in my province of teenage/young adult international students who did not know how to swim. In a couple of cases, they drowned at beaches in remote parks without lifeguards in water that most of us would consider very safe. But they had no experience in the water at all and no idea how to deal with it. A couple of them also drowned on canoeing expeditions. (the schools should really check first and enforce life vests, etc, but I digress). For me it really illustrated the huge importance of teaching kids how to swim. You never know when they might need it.

Jayce - posted on 06/13/2011

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I'm a self taught swimmer, I grew up near water, but I'm not a strong swimmer. My husband is also a swimmer and he's a strong swimmer. We live in an apartmetn that has an outdoor pool, my son is terrified of it. When he visits his grandparents he'll walk out into the lake or ocean with no problem. But the pool he hates, we think it's because he can't touch bottom.

Each summer we take him out to the pool and let him sit on the shallow end steps and let him splash. Sometimes he'll come in to the water with hubby and I but he has a death grip on us the whole time. He hasn't been in yet this summer so it might be different this year.

Yes, I think swimming is important but I'm not going to make my guy get in the water if it makes him uncomfortable. I'm hoping it's something that he'll get over because getting to a lake or ocean isn't always possible.

Tara - posted on 06/13/2011

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@Jenn, contact your local pool and find out when the family swim times are, take the kids and teach them what you and Brian know.
Most pools have a cheap night where it's half price or a family price etc.
We can go for $2 a person on Wednesday nights at one pool and $2.50 a person at the other one.
You could teach them the basics, like treading water, dog paddling and then progress as your time and their ability allows.
Plus use the beach in the summer time.

Jaime - posted on 06/13/2011

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I agree that knowing how to swim is vital. But not just that, knowing the environment is also crucial. Pools are a pretty calm body of water when they're not being stirred by cannon balls, but lakes and oceans are very unpredictable. Undertoes, strong currents, waves...all contribute to the dangers of not knowing how to swim. I would say that above all, if a person doesn't know how to swim, being able to tread water and position your body so that your toes are pointed down and your head is above water is THE most important factor about being in the water. My son turned 2 in February and this coming fall I'm hoping to enroll him in swimming lessons. I've known how to swim for a long time and used to swim competitively. I'm extremely confident in the water, but always aware of potential dangers.

Dana - posted on 06/13/2011

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I've known how to swim for as long as I can remember. My son has also been in swim classes since the age of 6 months. We live on Lake Erie (one of the great lakes) and I spent every single summer day on the beach swimming as a child and I'm sure my son will. I want to know he's safe even when I'm not down there with him. So, it's always been important for me that he learns early and that he's a good swimmer.

Jenn - posted on 06/13/2011

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I know how to swim, and so does Brian. None of my kids do, because we don't have a pool, and I can't afford to pay for lessons.

Jenni - posted on 06/13/2011

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I LOVE swimming. ;)

Yes, I know how to swim. I basically learned on my own. I float so well, I can fall asleep on my back. Although, I wouldn't recommend it. lol

My husband and his sister received swimming lessons at age 4, his parents felt is was very important especially since they have a pool. My husband and inlaws feel it's very important for our children to take swimming classes and I agree. They feel 4 years old is a good age to start. It's especially important to our family because we spend so much time by the pool and at the beach.



My SD will be 4 this summer so they plan on signing her up. My son will be 4 next summer so we'll enroll him in swimming classes then.

[deleted account]

I think swimming is very important and should be learned as soon as possible. I don't know that there is a specific age, but asap.

My husband and I are not "strong" swimmers--we wouldn't win a race, but we can both swim well enough to get to J quickly, and we can stay afloat indefinitely.

J has had swim lessons every year since he was born. The youngest ones may not be learning how to actually "swim" but they do learn how their body distributes its weight in water--how they "float" so to speak, which helps them learn swimming later, and helps keep them safer until they can swim. You may not be able to tell that they are learning anything, but they are developing reflexes that will help them all of their lives.

September - posted on 06/13/2011

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Well I've never seen an infant swim independently but that would be a site to see! :) We plan to sign our son up for swimming lessons when he turns 3, so no he does not know how to swim but we do plan to teach him. I was taught to swim at a young age and grew up around water. I do feel it's important to know how to swim.

[deleted account]

I have a friend that teaches infants/toddlers to swim and they most certainly do know how to swim. I'm not into infant/toddler swim for anything other than comfort and familiarity w/ the water, but I've seen videos of her students actually swimming.... when tossed in the water.

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