This week I wanted to look at not just an experience gift but a potentially life saving gift as well.
According to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report for 2016 a total of 280 people drowned in Australian waterways for just the 2015/2016 financial year. Of those recorded deaths a total of 21 children were between the ages of 0-4 and the cause was predominately them falling into the water. There were an additional 11 deaths recorded for children aged between 5-14.
If interested in reading more on these statistics please click: Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report
When I was a kid I didn’t learn any swimming until I reached school age and then it was the required 1-2 weeks of 1/2 hour swimming lessons. I can’t say that I’m a fantastic swimmer because I’m not. Truth be told I quit swimming lessons around the age of 12 (year 7) as it clashed with my musical instrument lesson and to be frank – girls at this age can be nasty and cruel if you’ve started puberty before they have (even back in the 90s).
With my two kids I wanted them to have the basic skills in place much earlier for three main reasons.
- I wanted them to learn to love the water and not fear it
- I wanted them to be prepared by knowing what to do if they ever did fall into the water
- I wanted them to be prepared to follow instructions from others
My twins began swimming at age 3. Lessons are commonly held for babies as well but you need to have 1 adult per child – so I was outnumbered with no volunteers to assist. At age 3 they were able to begin lessons in a small group of 3-4 children with the local Swimskool.
Now my kids adore their weekly 1/2 hour lesson with their instructor. I get to sit back and enjoy watching someone else teach my kids and see how well behaved they are (including following instructions).
This is the type of gift that keeps giving. You are teaching a life skill: a survival skill.