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Learning to swim is an ongoing and long term process and consistency is crucial to the development and maintenance of swimming skills. Swimming has been proven to improve cognitive skills, increase confidence levels and build stronger immune systems in children.
Finding your local swim school and keeping children in lessons all year round will not only improve their swimming abilities but will reap the benefits of swimming throughout their overall development. Taking a break in swimming lessons during the year can result in a decline swimming ability, reduced energy levels and resilience to stress and illness.
If you’ve got a little one with a passion for splashing, here are the 5 reasons you should keep your child in swimming lessons all year round.
Some parents take their children out of swimming lessons during winter to avoid illness. It’s an old wives’ tale that children who have wet hair or who go out in the cold get sick.
However, children’s health specialists Thinking Families states, “Higher fitness levels gained through year-round swimming build stronger immune systems that can make your child more resilient to stress and illness”.
During the colder months, children can often get restless and be less inclined to be active. Keeping them enrolled in lessons is a great way to keep children active indoors while ensuring their energy levels are maintained throughout winter.
A healthy body through regular exercise can help fight off illness during flu season and increase their resilience to stress.
If the idea of swimming in cold pools in cold weather is a worrisome prospect, rest assured that most Swim School pools are heated to a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius. Indoor pools have the added advantage of protecting children from the cold while also having filtration systems that provide clean and healthy water which prevents the spread of germs. It’s likely children have a higher chance of catching a cold from someone sneezing nearby in a shopping centre than in pools!
For children, particularly under the age of five, consistent lessons throughout the year is key to the maintenance of their swimming skills during this crucial developmental time of their lives. It is during this time they begin to develop muscle memory and long-term skill retention, both essential skills to have during their schooling years.
A break in lessons will not only result in a loss of these skills but may mean a waste of money spent on previous lessons. Additionally, months of summer lessons will likely result in children losing their ‘feel for the water’ both physically and psychologically.
“Staggering your child’s swimming progress to several months every year isn’t going to get them very far. They may forget many things they had practised, meaning you’ll need even more summers of lessons before you’re comfortable just watching them from the side”, says the nutrition and body experts at Get A Healthy Life.
Missing lessons will also slow children’s progress in climbing up the levels compared to children who make a consistent effort to stay in lessons throughout the year.
Swimming has a range of benefits for children as it plays an important role in their development of motor skills, coordination, balance and concentration. Scientific studies in Germany have shown that children who received year-round swimming lessons are significantly stronger and more coordinated compared to a control group of children who did not.
According to child health expert, Janine Brundle, the health of little ones should always be a priority, with swimming lessons just one aspect of a healthy lifestyle, saying “many medications contain heavy metal toxins, which negatively impact kids’ health. By promoting healthy leisure activities like swimming you reduce the need for excess medication and reduce the influx of nasty toxins too. It’s a win-win.”
Children who swim year-round also have higher competency to cope emotionally with evidence to suggest they are more self-disciplined and have more motivation and confidence to succeed.
Bruce Paul, Director of Swimming at City of Sydney agrees, “Regular weekly swim lessons help develop confidence in students by encouraging them to overcome fears and achieve goals. Swimmers become more calm and comfortable in the water, and build confidence through overcoming challenges, increasing their belief that they can do it!”
Keeping children in lessons all year will likely help them improve their academic performance. According to scientific studies, year-round swimmers score better in intelligence and problem-solving tests and perform better academically in school compared to their non-swimming peers.
An Australian study on the effects of swimming lessons as a way of supporting school transition has shown children who swim year-round are better prepared in the classroom to
strengthen their skills in literacy and numeracy; core measures of academic ability in primary schooling.
Robyn Jorgensen, an Australian psychology researcher and conductor of the study stated, “the swimming cohort were better positioned in these two very important cognate areas of formal schooling, and would have dispositions, skills and knowledge that will help in their access to literacy and numeracy”.
Water presents a real danger especially to Australian children and it is not just a danger in the summer season. Unfortunately, drownings occur all year round regardless of the season. A study conducted in 2011 stated 21% of deaths by drowning happened in winter.
A consistent effort to stay in lessons will help build a healthy respect for water and prevents the risk of drowning. In addition to pools, bodies of water such as creeks, river beds and bathtubs are hazards so children who stay in lessons have an upper hand compared to those who don’t when it comes to drowning prevention.
Children who are confident in the water will be in a good position to handle potential hazardous events and emergencies in the water.
It’s important to know that swimming is not just a seasonal recreation, but an invaluable life-saving skill. Swimming can be a huge benefit and can make a real impact in your child’s life. By keeping children in lessons all year round, your child will acquire all of the lifelong benefits of swimming putting them in good stead for their future.
Thomas Wright is a freelance writer. He is a university student based in Sydney. A Computer Science student, Thomas is also fond of going to the cinema. When not on his desk, he is often at the cinemas watching his favourite shows.