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Staying Afloat: Why Kids Should Learn to Swim

Staying Afloat: Why Kids Should Learn to Swim

Learning to swim should be easy. It seems so simple. Bodies will stay afloat in water because they’re buoyant. But, in some areas, children and adults never get exposed to the water to learn to swim. A surprising number of adults in the U.S. can’t swim, and many are petrified of the water as a result. How sad! These adults then don’t teach their children to swim, and the cycle continues.

Learning the skill of swimming can be taught in a few lessons.

Saving Lives by Learning to Swim

In some communities, access to swimming pools and other bodies of water is difficult. But, when the time comes, not knowing how to swim can be deadly.

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In states like Arizona with its deserts, it would seem unlikely that children would drown, but some children drown in canals and irrigation ditches, as well as swimming pools. Arizona children drown at twice the national average for children under age 15.

In Florida, surrounded by water, children drown because their community doesn’t have the community pools and other resources where children can learn to swim. In 2014, Florida led the country in child drownings with 50 children under 15 drowned.

Seeing these statistics, it reinforces just how important it is that children learn to swim. Acclimating children to water and teaching them to swim is not only a pleasurable activity, but it can be a life-saving one.

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Here are some strategies to save a child’s life, since all children are vulnerable to drowning:

Fence Your Pool

Make it difficult for a child to get into the enclosure. It is too easy for children to slip into a pool enclosure if there is not a lock on the gate. Pools need to be fenced, even if your yard is enclosed because children can slip in. And, make sure that anytime kids are in your pool an adult is supervising — and paying attention. Don’t let your pool be the source of a tragedy.

Enroll Your Child in Swimming Lessons

Be there for them and support them in the effort. Cheer them on and encourage them to succeed. If you decide to enroll your child in lessons, check out the program. If the program shows children how to start swimming by teaching them the “Dead man’s float” you might consider a different program.

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Get Involved

Participate in community efforts and partnerships to make swimming accessible to every child. Communities need partners from the business world to assist in this universal swimming project. By developing community pools and involving businesses, it builds a community. Businesses can sponsor swim teams, volunteer for coaching, and provide scholarships for swim classes. Children learn from example and by taking lessons, they have role models. They might even decide they want to be on a swim team, building physical stamina and self-confidence.

    Make Swimming Fun in Your Family

    A child who is fearful of the water needs role models to make the experience accessible. Take the kids to a pool or lake. Get your swimsuit on and be ready to stay with them for the experience. If you can swim, show them in easy steps how to begin. Begin with just getting in the water.

    For young children, use floats to give them a sense of security. Have them hold their breath out of the water, then make funny noises like a motorboat with most of their face out of the water. Ease them in gradually. Hold their arms and let them kick to get a rhythm. Make it fun.

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    Take Lessons Yourself

    If you are not a swimmer, take lessons with your child so you can be confident and know the skill you are promoting. A whole new world will open to both of you if you can share the experience of learning as well as the fun experiences of a day at the beach or pool.

    While swimming can be a pleasurable pastime, remember to stay with your child. Children need to be watched because an accidental drowning can happen very quickly. Once they are a confident and experienced swimmer, you can all relax and enjoy the water. And, the child will be comfortable around the water. On a hot summer day, you’ll be glad.

    Featured photo credit: Frank McKenna via unsplash.com

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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