Sink or Swim


My fondest memory of summer was the day the public pool opened. I still go ga-ga over the smell of chlorine and the sight of a glistening pool waiting for someone to take the plunge.

I spent most every day - all day - at the pool. I went through at least two bathing suits each summer and by the time the pool closed my skin was brown and my hair was nearly white.

I lifeguarded at that same pool when I was old enough. And I taught swimming lessons to hundreds of kids. When I tell people now that I used to teach swimming lessons, I am invariably asked for helpful hints about getting a kid to
a. get in the pool
b. get their face/hair wet
c. learn to hold their breath
d. learn to actual propel themselves through the water with their arms and legs.

The most important thing to know is that sometimes kids just aren't ready to swim. And some many never be ready to swim. Water is scary. If I had a child who refused to get in the water after two lessons I spared the parents, myself and the child the agony and told them to try again next year.

Swimming is all about the arms and the breath. If you put a child in water deeper than they are tall they will instinctively move their legs. They will not instinctively move their arms.

The first step to swimming is getting their face wet. The next step is learning to hold their breath. I started dribbling water on Adam's face during his bath when he was 3 months old. Now I pour bowls of water over his head when I wash his hair. He holds his breath and he thinks it's great fun. If you have young children you wish to swim, start with this.

Private swim lessons work for some kids because they like the one-on-one time and comfort of having someone to themselves. Group swim lessons work better for other kids. Peer pressure can be a positive thing in this case.

If your summer consists of some struggles at the pool, this may help. I'll be keeping you posted about our summer with a 1 year-old at the pool.


Tammy :

Hi Jill~
Our girls took swimming lessons last summer and are signed up again this summer. They are both at just the beginning levels, just getting more and more comfortable with the water. But it is such a great thing to learn- and though my oldest, actually, was a little fearful of the deeper water, by the end of the lessons they were both having a blast! :)
Great tips...Blessings!

Sandy :

Hi Jill - we had a ton of kids in our pool today. They all brought friends and I had my Faithgirlz group here.
Love the sun and pool.
All that swimming growing up .. did it harm your skin any?
I still love the sun!

Jillian, Inc :

Hi Tammy- I am so glad your kids have taken well to the water. Swimming is such a blast!

Sandy- You know, I think my skin faired pretty well, as far as I can tell now any way. I'm always amazed that I don't remember getting sunburned as a kid because there was no SPF 30 back then. I guess my mom had a handle on it. Did you ever put BABY OIL on and just bake in the sun? Oh my goodness.... :o)

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