Learning to swim early in life has its benefits. Here are a few of the reasons to give your little one a head start on swimming like a fish!
1. Lessons Prevent Drowning
Unfortunately, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury deaths among children aged 1 to 4 in Canada. Dr. Ruth Brenner of Shiver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%. Some swim programs teach infants self-rescue skills like floating on their back. This technique keeps little ones above the water until help arrives.
Alongside lessons, there are other ways to keep your child safe during pool playtime. Supervising young children in the pool is essential to keeping them safe. According to the Mayo Clinic, children who are under the age of 4 should be no further than arm’s length from an adult in the water. It’s also recommended that parents and caregivers become certified in CPR. This ensures everyone is prepared for an emergency.
2. Innate Infant Comfort
Toddlers remember information quickly. Introducing them to the water at a young age will make swimming something to look forward to. It also reduces negative attitudes towards swimming when they get older too. According to research, children are unlikely to learn to swim after the third grade.
Gradually introducing your infant to the water promotes comfort and reassurance. Signing up for parent and tot lessons is a way to grow closer and teach little ones a new skill. Lessons are meant to help infants get a feel for the water and become more enthusiastic about the pool. The American Association of Pediatrics states children can start swimming lessons at age 1. However, the decision of when to start is up to the parent. Whether their children are physically and emotionally ready are some of the factors that come into play.
3. Early Physical Development
Did you know an infant can swim before he or she can walk!? Swimming is a low-impact sport that helps toddlers develop coordination skills. According to a study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, babies who know how to swim balance and grasp objects better. Swimming requires infants to use their muscles more than they do on land!
Swimming keeps children in shape too. As an exercise that involves a large amount of movement and endurance, it keeps children fit and active at a young age. Griffith University’s study in 2012 demonstrated that swimming plays a significant role in child development. Children who had taken swimming lessons at a young age had better fine motor skills. Examples included: cutting with scissors as well as colouring and drawing lines and shapes.
4. Social Skills
Swimming lessons taught in groups have babies constantly interacting with others. Some of the skills they learn are following directions, playing and sharing and listening to their parents. German Sports College Cologne suggests children who take swim lessons are less shy, more independent and more comfortable in social situations.
Social skills are naturally learned by kids when they are around other people. This is why when children learn to swim together, they get to know each other and make friends. Learning from an instructor also encourages discipline and confidence. This helps in other areas in life such as in school and at home. Researchers from Pennsylvania State and Duke Universities studied the social skills of kindergarteners and how they affected their adult lives. Children who had better social skills were more likely to get full-time jobs and obtain college degrees.
Swimming is stimulating for infants and encourages self-discipline. Learning to respect the rules of the water and those around them are taught when learning to swim at a young age. New skills instill confidence into infants and build a good foundation for skills outside of swimming as well!
Learning a new skill is ideal for building confidence and diminishing insecurities at a young age. Swimming lessons let children set and achieve goals. With each new skill or task, kids develop confidence in themselves and have something to get excited about. Enjoying swimming also helps them like physical activity more and continue to exercise. This leads to a healthier and more active lifestyle!