Summertime fun is some of the most memorable. Every year I rode my bike to a friend’s house, where the sprinkler in the front yard watered the Slip-n-Slide, and brought hours of escape from the heat. We went to the playgrounds and ball fields, spending our time outside and away from school. Stopping at 7-11 for a Slurpee and a box of Nerds or a pouch of Big League Chew. The public pool opened the week after school let out and was overrun on the hottest days. Unfortunately, I was never a good swimmer when I was young. A few bad experiences at the public pool gave me a fear of water that has been a struggle to overcome. Now that I am a parent of two children, I want them to not fear the water as I had and swimming lessons overcome it.
In Florida, many homes have pools, and having children in swimming lessons as toddlers or earlier becomes extremely important. One of the first lessons a child learns is getting to the side of the pool and crab walking to the steps to get out. Getting acquainted with the water is another lesson for young children. Splashing, playing, and even getting a lung full, coughing it out are ways they learn a healthy respect for water.
Swim lessons are not easy to attend, especially with work asking for longer days and all of the vacations during the summer. Lessons become a commitment from both parent and child. Eventually, the kids drive the commitment because they love swimming and being in the water. But, when they are young and screaming in your arms, panicking because they are not familiar with the water, its up to parents to persevere. I went through this ordeal with my kids and I know a lot of people and their children would kick and scream and cry the minute they touched the water. There were days when I did not want to go, and it was OK to skip a day. But, it was my goal to have them swim and enjoy the water because I never could.
It took years of going to swim lessons at the local public pool for my kids to swim on their own. My youngest has another year before she is a strong enough swimmer to be on her own, but in time she will be a fish because of her love of water. They love to swim and play in a pool or the ocean. Watching my kids swim is a joy for me, and through it all I’ve learned how to swim and enjoy the water.
Michael Leo Premo
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