In the spirit of writing blog posts about independent children like I have been recently (you can read more of the posts here), I wanted to talk about one more way I’ve worked hard to give my kids independence and let them explore the world freely.
This time, it was with swim lessons. I placed my children in ISR (infant swim rescue) lessons at the ages of 10 months for my son and 2.5 years old for my daughter. They were both able to self-rescue and swim by themselves in the water after a few weeks of lessons. Here are some of the educational benefits I’ve found from placing them in these lessons, beyond just swimming and floating.
They learned they can do hard things. It’s hard to learn something so scary and different, especially in an environment like a swimming pool where you can feel so vulnerable. But once they mastered it and felt more confident in the water, they both realized that they worked hard to accomplish something really hard, and that’s absolutely worth noting. I saw them be less fearful and more willing to try hard things later.
They gained confidence in themselves. Because they learned something hard, they grew in confidence. Not only in the pool, but in other activities and learning environments.
They learned to problem solve. By practicing problem-solving in the water, I watched them apply it at the park on ladders and slides, at home in their play, and everywhere else they needed problem-solving skills.
They gained respect for water. They didn’t just learn how to swim and go run into any body of water they saw. They learned that water can be dangerous and fun, all at the same time. They learned to respect the nature of water and the consequences that can come with playing in it.
Giving my children the tools to be independent in the water without floaties or other swimming devices gave them more than just the ability to float on their back, it gave them multiple life lessons they will carry with them. It gave them another tool to grow into independent human beings, who are free to explore the world around them.