Sandy: We want to buy a house with a pool in Reston and are concerned about our young children's water safety. They have never had swim lessons since they are both in pre-school. Can kids that are so young learn much? Are there any swim programs for children that young in Fairfax County?
SwimteamAnswerman: I hate to use negative motivation to encourage parents to get their children water safe at an early age, but you are right to be concerned. Whether you buy a home with a pool or not, you undoubtedly will go to the community pool, be around friends or neighbors who have pools or ponds, or be in or around water on vacation. Nothing can totally prevent disaster but you can go a long way to help protect your children by getting them trained as early as a few months old to float, hold their breath, and try to get to the pool side and hold on.
Sandy: Can really young children learn to do those things? I didn't learn to swim until I was 7 years old.
SwimteamAnswerman: Unless you have seen what really young children can do, you would not believe it. My wife and I took our children to the community pool most nights after work in the summer starting when the were 6 months old. By 2 years old they were holding their breath under water, picking things up from the bottom of the pool with their head under water and eyes open and floating on their back pretty well. At that time, we were amateurs in children's aquatics. Folks who are really trained well, can teach your children more at an earlier age. What our kids could do between ages 2-3 can be done by children from 6 months to 1 year old if they are given the right instruction. The best web site I have seen that demonstrates with video what your children can do is at : Infant Aquatics.com.
Check it out, if you have not been around children's swimming programs you will not believe what you see.
Sandy: That website's videos and program are awesome but I did not see that company's programs anywhere near here. Does such training exist in other places?
SwimteamAnswerman: Sandy, my observation is that most suburban areas with indoor pool access have infant and toddler water safety programs. Nationwide, the aquatics fraternity is very active and passionate about what they do... whether it is teaching swimming lessons, coaching summer swim teams or being involved in scholastic swimming up through college. Locally in Fairfax County you can check out program availability at the parks website: Baby Aquatics.
In Reston you can check out: Infant and Pre-school.
In addition to helping your children improve their water safety skills, they will have FUN! Should you decide to enroll them in a local swim team later, (most are a combination of advanced swimming lessons,stroke clinics and an intro to competitive swimming for kids 5-18 ...both genders) they will advance more easily due to their ability to control their breathing and comfort in the water.
Sandy: Really, what can 6 year olds do on a swim team?
SwimteamAnswerman: Sandy, once again unless you have seen it you will not believe it. Our daughter teaches a group of 6-8 year olds who are doing freestyle, backstroke, and a couple can do breaststroke. They swim around 500 yards in 25 yard increments in around 30 minutes. That is a beginners class. There are kids that young who can swim for an hour in 50 and 100 yard or more increments. You can follow a new blog for swim team parents that I am doing that will answer this type of question at: SwimTeamAnswerman.com. Both of our daughters were on a swim team by 5 or 6 and could do all four competitive strokes reasonably well by age 7. They were not athletic phenoms...this is common place. Your kids can do amazing things in the water regardless of their natural abilities. All you have to do is provide the transportation and pay for the training. Beginners training is usually very cheap for what you get. Go get wet!
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