The Many Benefits of Teaching Children to Swim at a Young Age
May 19 marked National Learn to Swim Day. And with summer officially right around the corner, many parents are thinking about swim lessons for their kids. But a recent national survey reveals that over half of American parents are unaware that learning to swim has significant developmental benefits for children. EverydayFamily’s Shiloh Johnson spoke to Elizabeth Beisel, Olympian and National Learn to Swim spokesperson. She told us about the many mental and psychological benefits of learning to swim at an early age as well as offering several swimming tips. See the full interview here:
There are many benefits of learning to swim at an early age. Beisel reflected that learning to swim is not just about water safety and important lifesaving skills, it’s about celebrating water play and getting in the water to have fun. SwimWays is encouraging children and their caregivers to get into the water.
A recent national survey by Wakefield Research reveals that more than 4 out of 5 parents understand that learning to swim by age 5 increases a child’s self-confidence, while 88% of parents were unaware that learning to swim before age 5 can also help with mathematical skills.
Additional findings from the survey of 1,000 parents under the age of 18 who live at home, also found:
- Only 14% of parents understand that swimming can help develop oral expression and less than half of those surveyed understood that swimming can also boost children’s social skills
- 82% of all parents overwhelmingly agree that children should learn to swim at least by age 5
- 28% of mothers are far more comfortable with children learning before they turn 1 year old vs 14% of fathers comfortable with the same age group
A comprehensive four-year study by the Griffith Institute for Educational Research found that children who were taught to swim by 5 years of age had statistically higher IQs because of their early sensory/motor simulation in the water. Additionally, the study showed that these children were more advanced in their cognitive and physical development than non-swimming peers.
According to a SwimWays survey, only 17% of parents aware of the additional benefits of swimming. The survey also showed that if you’re a child who lives in a household with parents who have little to no swimming ability, you are 70% less likely to learn how to swim yourself. That is a staggering number!
Beisel and Swimways are urging children and caregivers to get into the water. Learn the lifesaving skills you need to be safe in the water, become confident in your own ability to swim, and experience all the fun there is to be had in the water. As Beisel said, “You’re going to be on the boat, at the beach, at the pool anyway. Get confident in your skills and be safe!”
There are so many different ways to get swim lessons for your child: Parent taught, group lessons, individual lessons. So where should you start? Beisel recommends you start by visiting USAswimmingfoundation.org. There, you can put in your address or zip code and it’ll tell you the closest swim lesson provider to you. They recommend lessons with no more than 6 children per instructor. Then you can go to SwimWays.com to find fun toys and training aids to help improve your little swimmer’s experience.
So get out there! Find a swim lesson near you, some cool water toys, set some goals, and get your children excited about getting in the water.