Today is one of the summery fall days, with a high in the mid-80s. On the last warm weekend we had a few weeks ago, my tween daughter attended a pool party. One of the 11 year-old guests did not know how to swim. I found that frightening, especially because when we arrived no adults were supervising the pool. I know the other girls were keeping an eye out for her, but tweens are not permitted to be official lifeguards for a reason.
The adults moved out to the pool deck where a good time was had by all and everyone safety exited the pool. But I left thinking about the importance of teaching children how to swim.
Summer's over, but there is never a bad time to learn how to swim. Randall Barba, owner of Goldfish Swim School Naperville, IL and the parent of two little swimmers, is today's guest poster here sharing why swimming lessons are beneficial throughout the tween years.
You probably know that your kids need to learn to swim. Drowning as the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in summer 2012 there were 137 child drowning deaths in the United States. Enrollment in swim lessons in the best thing parents can do to prevent drowning. In 2009, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children enrolled in formal swimming lessons had an 88% reduced risk of drowning.
Despite those statistics, an estimated 37% of adult Americans cannot swim, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Learning to swim means more than just being able to doggy paddle across the pool and float around on your back a few seconds.
If your kids had some swim lessons when they were little and are generally confident in the water, why continue with swimming into the ‘tween and teen years? There are plenty of reasons to get AND keep your child involved in swimming. Here are our top five.
1. Swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning.
You read the stats above, right? This is serious stuff and as your child gets older, they are more likely to be around water when you might not be present (say on a trip to the beach with friends). Swimming in essential life skill and you want to be confident that your child has mastered it.
2. Swimming builds whole body strength.
A swimming workout is a great total body workout, strengthening everything from the core to the legs to the arms. In swimming, a whole lot of muscles are working together as your kids are pushing, pulling and kicking their way through the water. Swimming is a full-body workout. It's simultaneously works muscles from triceps and biceps to abdominals to hamstrings and everything in between. Wow!
Swimming is also fantastic cardiovascular alternative to running, and is much easier on your children’s joints because there isn’t that constant foot-to-cement impact. Basically, muscles have to work harder to perform aerobic activity with the water resistance. As a result, they get stronger, lengthen and gain flexibility.
3. Swimming helps kids do better in school.
You heard right: your kids’ time in the pool translates to higher marks at school. Swimming has been scientifically linked to an better academic performance. Studies have found that children who swam during their developmental years achieved several physical and mental milestones faster than their non-swimming counterparts. Researchers found that the type of instruction and sensory learning kids are exposed to early on in swimming lessons translates almost seamlessly into the type of learning they’ll do in the classroom.
4. Kids who swim get the benefits of participating in an individual AND team sport.
For example, at Goldfish Swim School, the Recreational Swim Team is perfect for young swimmers that are proficient in the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly stroke techniques, but are interested in either pursuing swimming competitively or enjoy swimming as an afterschool activity. Aside from the obvious benefits of continued exposure and experience with the water, kids who participate in a swim team get instruction and encouragement from instructors who are in the water with them during practice. They have the opportunity to compete against the other swim teams and learn about the world of competitive swimming.
5. Swimming is something they can do at any age!
Swimming is for everyone, both young and old. This activity is something that lasts a lifetime -- and you can always improve at it! Expose your child to swimming now and they will have a recreational, aerobic activity that they can continue to enjoy throughout the rest of their lives! What a gift!
About Goldfish Swim School: Goldfish Swim School is 100% dedicated to teaching kids how to swim and everything about the facility and program is tailored to that objective. They provide swim lessons for children ages 4 months to 12 years-old with highly trained instructors, small class sizes, warm 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. They are also proud to offer swim classes for children of different ages at the same time so that families with multiple kids can get everyone in the pool for a lesson at the same time each week. Goldfish Swim School has over a dozen locations throughout the Midwest with three Chicago-area locations: Naperville, St. Charles and Roscoe Village.
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