How can I teach thee? Let me count the ways....
- Traditional swimming lessons - through your Y, park district pool, community pool, local swim instructor or any other well-regarded program. The classes should be fun and not at all threatening or frightening to your child. Start early and count on being in swim classes for a long time - but the benefits far outweigh the time and money you invest because swimming has been proven to make children smarter, more physically agile, and do better in school. That’s what I call a good return on your investment.
- Survival Swimming - it’s not so much learning to swim as learning how to survive in the water. In many parts of the world it’s not physically or economically feasible for a child to take a long series of swim lessons. Unfortunately, these are also the children most at risk for drowning. Check out http://swimsafe.org for information about a program that is cost-effective, sustainable, and proven to reduce drowning by a staggering 93%. Because during daylight hours, 1 child drowns every 45 seconds in Asia, where 2/3 of the world’s children live. The Canadians also have a great program, you can find out more here.
- Use social media - if you are looking to supplement formal lessons, or you aren’t able to put your child into swim or survival lessons for any reason, social media can help you teach your child basic water skills. Check out these two sites: http://www.learn2swim.org and www.uswim.com. Learn2swim.org has great, easy to follow videos - with an amazing instructor. Very basic things you can do, even starting with blowing bubbles in the bathtub at home. uSwim has iPhone apps, YouTube videos, and has even used their technique to teach children in an orphanage in Mauritius and paired with Nile Swimmers to teach basic skills. Using social media to reach as many people as possible, and helping those who need it most, that is a win-win.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning ended her famous poem, “I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life!! -- and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.” Beautiful poetry, but the worst thing that could happen to any parent is to outlive their child. We may love them after death as well, but we will do anything to keep our children alive. Embrace technology to help keep your child alive.