Most parents know that swimming is a great skill to teach your kids, not least because of the safety aspect. When we live in a country with so much water, it seems almost irresponsible not to teach your children to swim. But in case you need a little extra motivation to patiently sit beside that pool (with multiple children!), here are few of the lesser-known benefits you’ll be super pleased come with learning to swim.
Your child rocks it on cross-country day.
Because swimming strengthens your stamina and a range of the body’s core muscles, your child will have a higher chance of doing well on cross-country day or at any other activities that require running (think athletics and soccer), even if they are not a natural or don’t train specifically. During swimming lessons, your children will learn to effectively use oxygen through breathing techniques. This typically increases their endurance capacity, which is crucial for school athletics and cross-country days.
Better academic performance.
Science has spoken, citing swimming as a reason children perform better during classroom tasks and other cognitive exercises. Through learning to swim, your child will be taught to coordinate their mind and body, something that is both beneficial in the classroom and everyday life. This is because swimming often demands the complete focus of a child during lesson activities.
Go away, asthma!
Asthma can sometimes hold children back from exercising and keeping fit, but swimming is an alternative way your kids can stay active in a low-impact environment. Because swimming helps lung function and breathing-control, kids with asthma will strengthen their breathing abilities and eventually feel 100% comfortable in the water, which will transfer into other sports.
Knowing how to swim opens up a wider world for kids, both now and when they are older. Exciting experiences like snorkelling, scuba diving, boating, kayaking, fishing, and surfing require swimming skills for all-round safety. During their school years (and beyond), children who swim are able to get involved with a whole range of sports like water polo, water skiing, wake boarding, surfing, rowing, sailing, surf lifesaving, and triathlons. Children might get bored of swimming laps (as parents might get bored of sitting poolside), but having this skill under their belt can lead to so much more!
Confidence, confidence, confidence.
Whether its submerging for the first time or learning to swim without a board, swimming is a confidence-building activity. At each lesson, your child will learn something new, or push themselves more than they did in the previous lesson. From this, they will feel good about what they are achieving and as their water confidence builds, their on-land confidence will develop as well. Because NZ is surrounded by water, this confidence is important, as no one wants their child feeling panic-stricken about the nearby waters on a lakeside picnic. We want them to enjoy adventure when it comes their way!
By Finn Jelicich