teach_kids_to_swim_main.jpgThe significance of swimming has been debated over the years, yet hasn’t reached a unified resolution until now. Some say it’s best to learn swimming early in life; some say otherwise—it’s best to wait for the right time. But when, really, is the right time?

According to Bayani Gavino Jr., a swim coach at Normis Beach Resort in San Juan, La Union, and member of San Fernando La Union Swim Club, the basics of swimming can be introduced to infants as young as six months old, so long as the infant responds well to water and is enjoying the experience. Gavino says, “Kids are different, eh. May ibang kids kasi na may fear.”

However, he suggests that “to learn the formal and competitive swimming strokes, the preferred age is six years old, because you also have to consider the learning pace of the kid.”

Swimming lessons can be obtained through private sessions with a swimming coach, enrolling in swimming classes which are very popular during the summer, or coaching from parents who know how to swim and have an understanding of water safety, Gavino says, and after having trained many kids to regional, national, and international competitions, he’s one to know. “Though kids are more likely to be encouraged to take swimming seriously when they see other kids in the same activity,” he admits.

Several researchers agree that introducing swimming to your children early on is a good start to teaching them to love the water and not be afraid in later years, but forcing them to do so at once is still a no-no, as most swim experts believe that the experience should be one that is safe and pleasurable to the child.

Then why consider teaching your child to swim when he or she fears the water? For one thing, the Philippines is an archipelagic country, and virtually every major area is really more water than land, so the ability to swim make sense for anyone who wants to guard against catastrophe during natural disasters or in case of air or sea travel accidents. Apart from that, swimming has health benefits to young and adults alike. Here’s a quick peek at some of them.


- enhances lung health, especially for adults and children who suffer from asthma attacks.

- is a good cardiovascular exercise that improves heart rate and circulation, builds up muscle strength, and tones muscle mass.

- supports weight loss, when accompanied with proper dieting.

- prevents developing conditions among children like obesity, because it promotes a fun physical activity.

- promotes discipline, motivation, confidence, and social interaction among children.

- boosts kids’ alertness and excellence in school.

- is a good de-stressor or cool-down activity that relaxes the mind and body from a hard day’s work.

- is simply a wonderful bonding activity for families whether in the pool or at the beach.

Now if these health benefits cannot convince you to teach your kid how to swim, these statistics might:

- The Philippine Coast Guard Board of Maritime Industry and Marine Protests confirmed that there were maritime incident counts of 338 from 1990-1999 and 395 from 2000 to 2003 where majority of deaths were due to drowning.

- Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng badly hit the Philippine archipelago last year and left us mourning over hundreds of deaths—adult and children alike—most of which were drowning-related. A disaster security expert suggested that casualties could have been decreased if most people only know how to swim to safety.

- In the United States, the second leading cause of accidental or injury-related deaths of children is drowning.

Physical fitness, social confidence, and life preservation—all great reasons to persuade you to teach your children how to swim. Why not let them learn this summer?

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