This post is in partnership with Goldfish Swim School, however, all opinions expressed are my own.
Our boys started swim lessons last fall. We took a break for a few months over the summer and started up again in September with Goldfish Swim School. It’s been a unanimous decision to put off soccer, baseball and all the other things little kids can do in order to make swimming lessons a priority for us right now.
Firstly, we don’t want our kids to have a jam packed schedule. I know that some people thrive on that, but it’s just not for us. After reading so much research and gaining more knowledge on what is good developmentally for small children, having them be in a ton of activities, running from this to that and back again tends to be more of a disservice to them than anything. We thrive on family time and time spent at home to grow our family dynamic and our strengthen our bond. If we’re running around several days a week to get to a game or a practice or a lesson, this just won’t happen. So for us, one to two activities per season is enough. And since I missed the boat on t-ball (apparently you’re supposed to sign your kid up 6 months in advance for them to run around a field aimlessly…) it was a no brainer that we’d be doing swim again anyway.
Secondly, having children who can swim independently and safely is a top priority for us. No matter if we’re in summer season or not, it’s inevitable that we’ll be around water again at some point, so we want to make sure these babies of ours are safe.
This one hits close to home. Five years ago my nephew drowned. He was four years old. His name is Casen John.
It’s still hard to talk about it because frankly it changed my life forever, and changed my family’s life forever. You don’t go through something as tragic and horrible as this without it doing something deep inside of you. Life is unfair, and losing Casen was a perfect example of this.
Since the day we lost him my view on most things in my life have changed. I value things differently because I know how quickly they can change. I value relationships over material objects. I value time spent with the people I love versus trying to have a jam packed schedule (now do you see where I’m coming from here?). Because at the end of the day, it won’t matter how many things your child did, but will matter how much time you spent with them. Time is everything. Just ask a grieving parent who has lost their child. I guarantee they will give you the same response.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children 1-4 years old. Can you even wrap your brain around that? I know people may think, “Well, we don’t have a pool,” or “We live in a colder state where summer only lasts only a few months anyway.” Trust me. It doesn’t matter. My nephew lived in Montana where the average temperature throughout their year is 60 degrees. He still died in the water.
Needless to say, I do not want to be part of that statistic any more than my family already is. I’ve seen the pain and the agony his parents have gone through every single day since then. And it’s because of him that we have made swim lessons a number one priority and will continue to do so.
One piece of advice I tell everyone is to start your babies right away! Carter has been in swim lessons since he was 6 months old. And just over the last 4 weeks at Goldfish he has excelled and improved drastically due to their unique program.
They offer hands on, very personal instruction. Their instructors are caring, fun and developmentally appropriate for each child. The class varies from week to week, adding in different elements, but working toward the same goal: to make your child a safe swimmer.
All three boys are in three different levels (due to age and swim ability).
Kaiden is in the Glider 1 program where he has learned how to kick efficiently, swim with pulling his arms, he can now swim independently for 10 feet with controlled breath, can easily get to the edge of the water and pull himself out. He is working on perfecting his back float and his swim to a rollover. The last two are things that will help him be a better independent swimmer and will keep him safe if he were to get into water where he cannot reach the bottom.
Cameron is doing similarly well in the Junior 2 program and is working on the exact two things Kaiden is. I personally love that they put such an importance on them being able to get to the edge of the water and pull themselves out, as well as being able to float independently on their backs and swim far distances. It’s those things that will make a difference if they’re unexpectedly in water, and again makes learning to swim a life skill.
Cameron already can swim 10 feet with controlled breath and no assistance. Makes my momma heart so proud and comforted.
Carter is in the Mini 2 program and is still working on the basics, but the basics don’t change because of his age! He can nearly get himself out of the water independently (we’re THIS close!) and is doing exceptionally well on his back float with very little assistance from me. If you decide to go to Goldfish Swim School for your baby or toddler, they ask that a parent be in the water with them (up to age 3). At first it may seem like an inconvenience, but I promise you it makes a huge difference for your child. You want them to feel comfortable and safe in the water. No fear of it. And who best brings out comfort and safety other than mom or dad?
If your children do not know how to swim I implore you to find a Goldfish Swim School near you and sign them up. Soccer can wait. Dance can wait. Gymnastics can wait. Learning how to swim is a life saving skill. It is well worth the money and time spent.
Find a local Goldfish Swim School here: LOCATIONS