Every parent gives their child essential life skills. There are many including emotional fulfillment, cognitive & intellectual growth, physical fitness, and of course safety. Swimming and swim lessons provide all four, some in ways that can surprise parents and benefit young children outside the pool.
First, swimming is fun. There is pure joy in getting in the water, whether it is the pool, the ocean, a lake or other swimming venue. It is a break from the regular daily routine. We see this happiness in our daily bath or shower ritual. It’s a time for our youngest kiddos – as well as Mom and Dad – to get away from the many screens that command our attention (for n ow). Kids and parents alike benefit from the intimacy that comes from skin-to-skin contact. It is a nurturing and simple human expression of love and affection.
Next, swimming is a super healthy and physically gratifying activity. It allows kids and adults to move their whole bodies in a supportive, buoyant environment that reduces impact and risk of falls and other accidents. Every swimmer enjoys limb extension, body propulsion and the challenging invigoration that comes with swimming’s necessary coordination.
For all kids, swimming enhances fine motor skills, gross motor skills and overall strength and flexibility. Kids will find better results in other sports through swimming. They can also experience a complement to activities which require sitting or standing still.
Swimming provides a third benefit that is surprising. This benefit is largely unpublicized and has only been researched in the last five years. Australia’s Dr. Robin Jorgensen performed a multi-year study with Aussie children as well as kids in New Zealand and the United States. She and her team looked at learning milestone data of kids who took structured swim lessons and kids who didn’t. Her work found a remarkably high acceleration in learning and cognitive development among those children who took swimming lessons. Some of the differences were as much as 50-60% higher in kids who swam versus kids who didn’t.
Of particular interest is the fact that Dr. Jorgensen does not come from the aquatics world. Her objectivity lends additional credibility to her work. She hopes these meaningful findings will attract other research professionals. You can read about her research by following this link
Finally, swimming has a unique safety aspect. The US Centers for Disease Control finds that formal swimming lessons reduce drowning risk by 88%. In other words, children that pursue and enjoy progressive swimming skills are safer when around water. Few other sports and activities can actually help save a life in an emergency.
Not every swimmer needs Phelpsian feats to reap swimming’s many rewards. This includes children, but also their parents and grandparents. Learn more about swimming and you will find it irresistible. You may already be fan. Enjoy the springtime and think about swimming as we head towards summer. To find out more about our swim program, from 2 month olds to adults, please visit our website, swimjim.com