YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health Spring 2017 - Page 18

WHAT AGE SHOULD CHILDREN LEARN TO SWIM ? YMCA offers swimming lessons for all ages. Here’s what you need to know. recent report by Royal Life Saving revealed that last year 280 people drowned in Australian waterways and unfortunately, 12 per cent were children aged 0 to 14 years. Despite the ongoing education and awareness around water, we still need to ensure children are kept safe around and in the water and one of the best ways to improve a child’s water safety is to teach them how to swim. A So at what age should this start, and how many lessons should they have? Janelle Falkingham, Aquatic Development Specialist at YMCA Victoria says, ‘parents can introduce their young children to water through positive bath experiences and water play in the home.’ At the YMCA, formal swimming lessons are available to children from as young as six months of age. Janelle adds, ‘these parent and child classes involve activities, songs and games that you and your child will love, and these classes are a fantastic way to bond with your baby.’ Lessons are also available for infants, pre-schoolers, teens and adults, and in each instance they are a lo t more than just learning how to move through water. ‘We offer a well-rounded approach 18 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE SPRING 2017 with a focus on water safety and personal survival along with learning the traditional skills of swimming,’ says Janelle. YMCA programs use repetition to ensure that your child practices their skills over and over again – every time they participate in a class. You can make a big difference to their progress and overall experience by just being there. Janelle offers these helpful tips to parents and carers: ‘give them continuous positive feedback as they achieve goals, and don’t compare your child’s progress to others, as every child is different and will evolve at different rates.’ Swimming lessons teach essential life skills and Janelle recommends that families take a long-term approach for your child’s development. You can maximise your child’s learning by offering experiences outside their lessons by regularly visiting the pool, beach or other waterway. Just remember to always supervise your children when they’re around water. xxxxx to try a swimming Keen lesson at a YMCA centre? Did you know that 57,562 children were enrolled in YMCA swimming lessons last year? YMCA is the leading provider of swimming and water safety classes in Victoria, and works hard to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn essential skills in a friendly and supportive environment. For full details or to find your nearest aquatic centre visit victoria.ymca.org.au