It’s never too early to get children involved in swimming—it’s important for safety reasons, but swimming is also a lifetime sport and a great way to keep active and healthy. There are so many options for parents, but the best place to start is by learning basic water safety skills that help familiarize children with the water. The initial experience of learning water safety skills often continues with swim lessons, which can lead to participation in competitive swim programs and can even lead to a career.
Water safety became a signature YMCA focus area in 1909 in response to a rise in drowning deaths around the turn of the last century. Swim lessons were developed and first taught at the Detroit YMCA shortly thereafter. Since that time, Y’s across the country have encouraged parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming, beginning with water safety. Following are safety tips the national Y recommends to practice when in and around the water:
Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.
Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.
Children and adults should not engage in breath-holding activities.
In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, swimming is a great way to increase physical activity. Swimming also motivates individuals to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship so children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing.
As a nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for over 100 years. The Joplin Family Y is committed to continuing to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of swim lessons and water-based fitness classes to try. As part of the Joplin Family Y’s Swim, Sports and Play! family package, group swim lessons are included in your membership.
To learn more about the Joplin Family Y’s swim programs, please contact us at 417.781.9622.