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Our Favourite Reasons for Children to Learn to Swim From an Early Age

Getting children into the swimming pool can be as simple as "1, 2, 3 jump" and as difficult as squeezing orange juice from a stone, but learning to swim is not only a great family activity, it's a skill that sets your child up for other water sports and could save their lives

 

Being able to swim isn't just about being able to get to safety or handle yourself in choppy water, it's also about gaining confidence, learning a new skill, keeping fit and facing what for some can be a big fear!

With the inspiration of Britain's swimmers last summer, names like Tom Daley, Ellie Simmonds, and Rebecca Adlington, are familiar to children and interest in the sport is gaining ground.

We've teamed up with Better, a health and fitness organisation who offer swimming lessons to children and adults of all ages, to understand why it's important to get your children into the pool at an early age!

Better's favourite reasons to teach your child to swim:

Amazing bonding experience between you and baby/child

Learning the basic skills and holds allows you to both develop awareness of the water and how it effects the limb movement of your child.

Trust is built up in this new environment as you are in charge of guiding your little one through their aquatic journey, building communication using signals, commands, facial expressions and songs to build up water confidence for you both.

It makes you focus on their reactions and emotions to specific tasks and leads to a boost in confidence for your little one. For example, when your child progresses from a manually assisted jump to being able to jump in safely on their own with your constant support and praise throughout. Your journey will vary depending on the age of your child but its never too soon to start!

Development of water confidence

Water confidence is not just about being comfortable under the water, it is about being comfortable getting in and out, floating and understanding how the body moves as well as coping with being splashed. It is an area you will encounter day in day out from washing your child's face, bath time and washing their hair, sprinklers in the garden etc.

Developing these skills opens doors when they get older and are invited to to attend school trips, going on holiday, scuba diving, going on a boat, etc. Water confidence must be developed gradually, and at the child's pace to ensure that no fear is instilled. This can be done by using something familiar such as a drinking cup, small bowl or sponge that the child knows and bringing it into the session for water confidence games.

Understanding of water safety

As a parent the one thing that is most important is that your little one is safe and is aware of the risks. When your child becomes independent and able to pull themselves up off the floor it is vital to engage this type of movement in the pool guiding you child how to get in safely by twisting and lowering and how to get out, if they are unable to get out as they do not have upper body strength e.g. fell into pond, lock etc., you can teach them to move along the wall like a spider or crab until they get to a point they can climb out (steps/stairs).

Before teaching your child to swim it is vital that they understand, every pool or natural source of water is different. Showing them a point of entry every time they get in the pool, or arrive at the beach helps to ensure that if they were to fall into water, they would know where to return to get back to a safe place.

Child development

Professionals claim those who receive an early introduction to water are more alert with better eating and sleeping patterns due to the regular exercise and social interaction with other children. What your little one learns on land they will perform in the water such as rolling over. The benefit of doing this in the water is that the pressure is taken off the muscles giving baby the freedom to move weightlessly.

Development of movement literacy skills

Swimming allows for a range of movement literacy skills to be developed that can be transferred to other aquatic disciplines and sports, enabling them use swimming to their advantage, be it to pursue a sporting dream or take a job saving lives.

Skills that are taught in the aquatic environment enable your child to move more freely and in a co-ordinated way, some children even learn to walk in the pool first before they do on land due to the support the water gives.

 
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