For any child living in Wilmington, NC, surrounded by so much water, learning to swim should rank as highly as learning to read. The great news is that since the YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina took over operation of the three city pools, there are now five locations your children can get affordable swim lessons (see end of article for locations).
And get this—use promo code “SUMMER” for $5 off swim lessons! Register your children now to take advantage of this limited time offer.
Personally, I think it’s a good idea to introduce children to water as early as possible because the longer you leave it, the more likely they are to develop a fear of water. I was a water baby from a young age and became a swimmer by accident. Apparently, we were at the beach when I was two years old and I was playing in the shallow water. During a moment when my mom was distracted, a big wave swept me off my feet and pulled me deeper. As my mom rushed to my rescue, she saw my head pop up and noticed I had a big smile on my face and was paddling my arms like crazy! I had learned to swim!
I was lucky. Many kids are not so lucky and may not live to tell their tale. Despite my luck, my mom quickly enrolled me in swim lessons to build up stamina. I soon learned how to hold my own in the water and then swam for many years in a life-saving club where I learned all there was to know about water safety.
When I had my own children, I followed my mom’s advice and took them to the pool as soon as they’d had all their early vaccinations. Each child was different: I took my eldest daughter to the pool every week from the age of six months yet she was five before she could swim solo. I followed the same pattern with my son but he didn’t take kindly to my guidance so he ended up having lessons and was swimming at four years old.
The process was more complex with the twins but it was made a lot easier by using the childcare at the YMCA. Even with flotation devices, I was nervous with two of them in the pool so I would put one in the YMCA’s child watch while I took the other in the pool and then I would switch them over. The one-on-one time meant I could take off the bubble floats and focus on teaching each child.
Despite our weekly swim sessions, progress was slow and I wanted them to be swimming early so I could relax a little at the pool and the beach. I enrolled the twins in swim lessons and they thrived; they were swimming independently at three years old. My kids all responded more favorably to instruction from other people, whatever stage they were at.
The YMCA offers classes divided by age and skill level. There are parent-child swim lessons to introduce babies and toddlers to water from the age of six months. From the age of three upward, children can learn how to swim in structured yet fun classes. Not only will kids have fun; according to YMCA swim lessons coordinator, Kate Norwood, they will learn how to use their swimming skills to become better swimmers. She says the Y keeps its class sizes small so the kids feel comfortable with the instructor.
People often ask if there’s a tried and true technique for learning to swim. Kate says, “Recognizing that every child is different and knowing that what ‘trick’ works for one child may not work for the next one.”
So, don’t delay; teach your children how to be safe around water. Check out the YMCA pool and city pool schedules and register your child for this necessary lifelong skill.
The YMCA’s prices are very reasonable too. When you register, remember to use promo code “SUMMER” for $5 off swim lessons! (Prices & schedules vary according to pool)
Wilmington Family YMCA Pools
2710 Market St. Wilmington, NC 28403
Oleander Rehab Center
5220 Oleander Dr. Wilmington, NC 28403
Robert Strange Pool
401 S. 10th St. Wilmington, NC 28401
750 Bess St. Wilmington, NC 28401
Legion Stadium Pool
2139 Carolina Beach Rd. Wilmington, NC 28412
I am happy to say that, thanks to swimming lessons, all my children are now good swimmers and my youngest daughter says she wants to be an Olympic swimmer when she grows up!