What are the most important lessons we teach our children?
Don’t talk to strangers. Look both ways before you cross the road. Don’t tell lies.
How about learning to swim?
As the weather (finally!) starts warming up again, and Whit Monday and the summer holidays inch ever closer, we’re likely to be making the most of our beaches with our little ones.
And with all the fun to be had by the shore, it’s easy to forget just how dangerous it can be.
Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death of children in the UK. More than 400 people accidentally drown in the UK every year – that’s one every 20 hours.
So for me, making sure my boy is water confident is every bit as important as him learning to wait for the green man.
I grew up on Canvey – an island surrounded by water. We now live in Leigh, with the beach just a stroll away.
And I feel I’d be failing as a mummy, if I didn’t make every effort to make sure he’ll be as safe as possible growing up here.
Sonny Jim started swimming lessons (with S2S, based in Rochford in a hydrotherapy pool) when he was six months old.
I would have taken him earlier (it’s a myth you have to wait for their jabs) but I struggled to find a swim school that had space in it.
At the moment age one he, obviously, isn’t much of a swimmer. But much of our classes are spent teaching him to float, to hold on to the edge of the pool, to kick his legs, to spit out any water he gets in his mouth. These are all things that could one day, quite literally, save his life.
I don’t care if he becomes a “good” swimmer. Or if he gets older and doesn’t share my love of the beach and the water.
All I care about is that he can swim. And that, should he find himself in deep water one day, he knows how to survive.
This was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, May 12 2017: www.echo-news.co.uk