As I cleaned up the yard and swimming pool recently, which included organizing the rafts, I thought about our pool “toys” and how they have changed over the years: no more masks, floaties, or swim goggles. In fact, the kickboards and pool noodles have gone virtually untouched this summer. Now, when my kids – all teenagers – “play” in the pool, it’s strictly with their bodies: diving competitions and contests to see who can swim the length of the pool underwater the fastest are the two most popular ways they pass the time.
That got me thinking about how all those years of summertime swim instruction have paid off. Now between the ages of 14 and 17, my kids are all comfortable in the water, to the point that I don’t even think twice when they announce they’re heading to the pool. My comfort level is high.
Others have said it best so first, here are some resources that will explain in further detail all of the benefits of swimming lessons for kids:
There is just no doubt about it: Experts and parents agree on the value of swimming lessons, not just for tiny tots, but children of all ages. But there are many reasons not to stop after basic swimming strokes are mastered. My kids stayed in lessons until they were 12. From there, we left it up to them to continue into lifeguarding classes if they wanted to. Two opted to continue, and they now have summer employment as lifeguards at our local small-town pool.
Swimming Lessons: The Basic Benefits
Still not convinced? Here are just a handful of facts and ideas to consider regarding the importance of swimming lessons for kids.
1. Reduced chance of accidental drowning
With drowning as the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death among children under the age of 14, it’s no wonder why affordable swimming lessons can be found in nearly every region of the country. The American Academy of Pediatrics announced in 2009 that according to their research, children who have been enrolled in formal swimming lessons had an 88% less chance of drowning than children who had not participated in formal lessons.
2. Lifelong Recreation
Swimming is one of the great, lifelong activities that can be practiced and enjoyed throughout one’s life—right through childhood and into adulthood, including during pregnancy, and on into old age. In fact, the importance of swimming as one ages is well documented, and it all begins with lessons.
3. Swimming Builds Strength and Eases Stress
Due to water’s natural resistance against muscle movement, swimming is one of the best low- to zero-impact exercises that one can partake in that concurrently builds muscle, increases muscle tone and decreases body fat. But benefits to the mind, especially for today’s over-busy kids, is equally great. Swimming is a relaxing form of exercise that quiets the mind and eases tension—even for children!
4. Swimming Lessons = Better Students
The type of sensory learning that goes on during swim instruction has benefits that carry over to the classroom. There are studies showing that students who participate in formal swim instruction during their early childhood years achieve academic and physical milestones earlier than their peers.
5. Individual and Team Sport Opportunities
Ask any swimmer and probably learn that he or she enjoyed both the team and individual aspects that swimming offers. While surrounded by peers during swim instruction, and thereby gaining a sense of being on a team, children are also challenged with the opportunity to achieve a personal best, or improve in an individual way as they learn and refine strokes. Formal swim instruction often leads to joining a swim team, for those children who enjoy competition.
Stay safe, mamas!
Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside and discovering interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint with watercolors.
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