Although it is never too late for your child to learn how to swim, there are quite a few reasons why your child should learn as early as possible. Diana Goodwin, founder of AquaMobile Swim School shares her top reasons:
1. It’s easier to learn at a young age.
It is much easier for a young child to pick up the skill of swimming than it is for an older child. Younger children tend to absorb the knowledge faster and will have an easier time picking up the skill. Also, the likelihood of a child developing a fear of water is reduced if they are exposed to swimming at an earlier ago.
Research shows that non-swimmers are unlikely to learn how to swim after Grade 3.
2. Social skills development
Swimming is a great activity for children to meet others their age. They learn to follow directions from their instructor and learn to share and play with others. According to the German Sports College Cologne, young swimmers are less shy, more independent, and more comfortable in social situations than non-swimmers.
3. Health benefits
Swimming is a great form of exercise that can keep a child’s heart and lungs healthy. It can improve their strength and stamina and can even improve their balance and posture. This could eventually benefit them in other activities and sports they may choose to participate in later on in life. Swimming builds a good foundation for skills that they will learn later on in life.
4. Peace of mind for parents, reduces risk of drowning
Whether your child is attending summer camp near a lake, playing at the local community center, or attending a pool party, there are many opportunities where they can come in contact with water. In Canada, drowning is the number-one cause of unintentional injury deaths among children ages 1 to 4. It is also the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years old.
In a study done by Dr. Ruth Brenner of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, it was found that swimming lessons may help to reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88%.
During formal lessons, kids will also learn water safety skills and pool safety rules. It’s natural that parents are constantly worried about their children’s safety. And knowing how to swim and be safe around water can save your child’s life.
5. Boosts self-confidence
With every new swim technique children learn, more confidence is gained. Children become quite proud of their new skills, and love to show them to family and friends. Also, swim skills act as a stepping-stone to being able to participate in other water-based activities thereby allowing for more opportunities to socialize and confidently interact with their peers.
There are many reasons why swimming is an excellent activity for kids to participate in. It is an important life skill and the earlier children begin to learn it, the sooner they can reap the benefits!
Diana Goodwin is Founder & President of AquaMobile Swim School, a private swim school that offers high quality swim instruction at clients’ home and condo pools in over 30 cities across Ontario. For water safety tips, games and more, follow AquaMobile on Twitter: @aquamobileswim
PHOTO: NORTH CHARLESTON/FLICKR CC
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This article was first published in November 2012, updated in September 2014.