Who benefits when you teach kids to swim when they are young? Everyone! Swimming is not only a great skill for any kid to have, but it is also a fun family activity that everyone can enjoy no matter what their age. And there are many other benefits to teaching your child to swim besides the life-saving aspect, although that’s the main reason everyone should know how to swim. Here are a few good reasons to invest in swimming lessons early on.
Obviously teaching your child to swim is the first step in preventing drowning accidents. Because of how easily and quickly kids can drown, enrolling them in swimming lessons is a must. Learning to swim is a safe and healthy activity for a child, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that every child over 1 year old should learn to swim. The basic swim skills of entering the water, coming to the surface, turning around, propelling themselves through the water for at least 25 yards, and being able to exit the water are all required skills. These skills do not “drown-proof” your child, according to the AAP, but they do add a layer of protection against drowning. Drowning is the most common accident-related cause of death for children ages 4 years and younger according to the CDC, so it’s essential that your child learn to swim from a certified swim instructor to prevent any accidents.
Body and Mind Benefits
Aside from the safety benefits, there are many other physical benefits to swimming as well. Swimming is one of the best exercises that anyone can do. For kids, the benefits include better motor skills and an exercise that hits all of the major muscle groups in the body. Beyond the physical benefits, one study in Australia surveyed 7,000 children and found that children ages 5 and under who swim showed better cognitive skills. Lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen said, “The children were anywhere from 6 to 15 months ahead of the normal population when it came to cognitive skills, problem solving in mathematics, counting, language, and following instructions.” So not only is it a great physical activity, but it may also improve your child’s cognitive skills as well. Swimming – or any exercise for that matter – is also a relaxing activity that can provide relief from stress, anxiety, and depression.
Swimming as Sport
Swimming is also considered a low contact sport that is very easy on the joints. This makes swimming one of the lowest injury risk sports available to children and adults. It’s also an activity that can be done throughout your life, so it’s not age-dependent like some other sports. Competitive swimming may be of interest to children as they learn more techniques beyond the survival basics; there are a multitude of skills to learn for both competitive and leisure swimming. And team sports create a camaraderie that enriches the child.
Think about the sheer number of recreational activities in the world that involve water. You can swim in a hotel pool, hang out by a lake or creek, play near the surf at the beach, go diving, sailing, surfing, fishing, and more. Beach and lake activities are prevalent all over the USA because water is everywhere (including community landscaping and municipal infrastructure that often attract kids as “swimming holes” that aren’t safe), and water discrimination comes best with the ability to swim. Coastal regions are very popular both to live in and visit on vacation because of their proximity to the beaches and water. In addition, vacations are easier to plan when the whole family can swim – you can even make a weekend staycation at home and use the local community pool or a nearby resort. The United States has thousands of water parks, many indoors and heated for a weekend getaway any time of the year. We also have thousands of miles of coastline and shorelines, so it’s a vacation paradise for anyone who can swim.
Swimming as a Bonding
For many parents, swim lessons can be a great time to have a bonding experience with their children. In most swim schools, parents remain in the water with their child until they are 3 or 4 years old so that they have the opportunity to be their child’s first teacher with the help of a qualified swim instructor. In addition, swim lessons are a great chance for a child to develop good social skills as well as develop a camaraderie with others. By enrolling your child in swim lessons, your child learns to interact with their peers, children of other ages, adults other than their parents, and teachers. All of this helps in their development and maturity as they approach school age.
Overall, swimming is not only a great activity and exercise, but also a skill that your child will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Humans love to live and visit the shorelines and coastlines of the world, because we love to be around water. And as long this is true, swimming lessons will be your first step to keep your young children safe, and the next step to venturing into the world.