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Ballantyne Magazine covers news, events, real estate, restaurants, shopping, health, schools and business in the upscale Ballantyne Area of Charlotte, NC.

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Get in the Swim Now is Prime Time for Lessons, Teams for Kids By William Keith NOTHING SAYS SUMMER QUITE LIKE A DAY AT THE POOL, especially for children. So many memories are made poolside. While pools are always places to have fun, teaching children to swim can often be a daunting task for parents. Balancing fun with water safety will always lead to the most enjoyable pool experience for parents and for children. Here are a few tips. Exposing Kids to Swimming When to start? This question is often the most challenging for parents of young children. The best answer remains simple: the sooner the better. While stroke instruction may not occur until later, comfort in the water is valuable to children of any age. It's important to remember that learning to swim as a child is similar to learning to walk. Not every child develops skills in the water at the same rate; the sooner they are exposed to the water the more comfortable they become. Swimming is great for cardiovascular health even in infants and toddlers. Water safety is key. Children in swim lessons must be taught the importance of water safety in the most stress-free environment possible. Children should learn survival and safety techniques, while understanding that no swimmer is ever completely safe in the water. There is never a substitute for parental supervision, especially in the water. Lifeguards are in place to keep all swimmers safe, but parental supervision is always the first line of defense. Lessons: What to Expect The best lessons for children occur individually or in small groups. Children should have lessons limited to approximately 30 minutes in length. The best results happen in comfortable water temperatures, so starting lessons for young children in June is ideal. Beginning in June also allows for continued teaching throughout the summer. As a parent you are there to support the instructor and offer comfort to the child. However, it's important to remember that the best instruction happens when the child is focused on the instructor. You should be in view to younger children, but not involved in the lesson. Learning to swim is not an event; it's a life skill. It's important to cultivate the swim-lesson process as consistently as possible and make it fun. The risks posed by drowning are not limited to the warmer seasons. Year-round lessons (even as limited as twice per week) build skill development and are vital to children under 5 who are just learning long-term skills retention. Charlotte is a wonderful area to be a swimmer. Not only is there top competitive swimming for Olympic-caliber athletes, many clubs and neighborhoods have summer swim teams that provide a taste of the sport in a fun, social environment. Those teams offer the ability to learn advanced strokes, build proper technique and experience the joy of swimming. For most competitive swimmers, the love of swimming began with participation on summer swim teams. Charlotte is a top swimming city in the country; explore what it can offer your child! Children should learn survival and safety techniques, while understanding that no swimmer is ever completely safe in the water. BALLANTYNE MAGAZINE 57 SUMMER 2014 Ball Summer 14 - 2.indd 57 5/21/14 4:31 PM

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