Guest Contributor Post
If you think you’re giving your child a break from structure and not “over-planning” his weekends or vacation time by not forcing the idea of swim lessons, this message is for you: Swim lessons add freedom to your child’s life by opening the door to safer, more enjoyable outings to the lake, river, ocean or just the community pool. Swim lessons give children the knowledge they need to keep themselves and others safe, which ultimately results in less stress and more freedom—for both your child and you!
Swim lessons are by no means a green light to allow your child to swim unsupervised. Children should only be given the freedom that they are physically capable of handling. But when a child has experience with organized swim instruction program over the course of several years, everyone benefits: Children feel more confident in and around the water because they have learned skills literally at their fingertips, and adults have confidence in their kids. There’s no shortage of evidence supporting swim lessons, as the following resources will show:
Swim Lessons: Not Just for Summer Any More!
Year-round swim lessons are becoming increasingly popular not just for safety concerns but also due to the growing awareness of kids’ health and the importance of staying active. With childhood obesity and diabetes on the rise and an overall sedentary existence due to the popularity of technology kids need more exercise. Providing kids with the option to take swim lessons in the off-seasons of fall, winter and spring reinforces swim skills, lifesaving techniques and keeps kids moving all year long!
Benefits of Swim Lessons for Younger Kids
1. Swim instruction with very young children (babies and toddlers’ first “Mommy and Me” classes) encourages and increases the parent/child bond. Spending time together in the water not only reinforces this important bond but provides a comforting feeling for a baby’s first experience in the water.
2. Children as young as two months old can benefit from the social interactions of group classes in the water. Toddlers benefit greatly as well by watching others and potentially will learn how to take turns, gain self-confidence, learn independence and how to participate in community.
3. Babies who participate in swim lessons are shown to have better movement in both fine and gross motor skills such as grasping techniques; and, they have better balance than non-swimmers according to a study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Benefits of Swim Lessons for Older Kids
1. Swimming is a great whole-body workout particularly for teenagers who are experiencing rapid growth and accompanying “growing pains.” Keeping joints and tendons active and engaged and muscles challenged can ease the discomfort during the growing years. Because being in the water provides 600x the amount of muscle resistance than air, swimming is a perfect cross-conditioning activity that complements virtually all other sports.
2. Adolescence is a time when many young people experience natural dips in self-confidence. Mastering swimming is a confidence-boosting activity as kids not only learn important survival skills but become stronger and more adept in a physical situation. Swimming lessons keep the learning curve intact during this crucial developmental stage. As an additional confidence booster, advanced swimming lessons provide an early opportunity for employment as a lifeguard at a community or private club pool.
3. As children transition to adolescence and young adulthood staying active in swim lessons adds one more sport to their arsenal of healthy activities they will carry with them through adulthood and even into old age. Swimming is truly a lifelong exercise that can be done almost anywhere there is a body of water in any part of the world.
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 to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.
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Happy New Year to you too, Kaitlin. Thank you for a helpful post!
Thanks so much Tracy! It was really great working with you 🙂 I wish you and your family a Happy New Year, and all the best for 2015!!