By Bob Hubbard
Hubbard Family Swim School
Water safety and ultimately the prevention of drowning are often the main reasons parents seek out swim lessons for their infants and children. These are critical reasons and are absolutely worth lessons on their own. But beyond this, there are numerous further benefits that swimming provides in early childhood development that parents may want to consider. Here’s a look at some of the compelling research that shows how consistent, ongoing swim lessons in the early years can help your baby grow into a healthy, smart, capable child.
1. More Advanced with Developmental Milestones
Griffith University researchers looked heavily into the impacts that swim lessons can have on baby growth physically, psychologically and cognitively. They surveyed 7,000 parents and closely observed 176 children (birth to five years of age) for three years, who were regularly attending swim classes. One of the most noteworthy results of this study was that children in swim lessons from an early age are, on average, seven months ahead on motor skill developmental milestones than the normal population.
This means that children in swim classes are far more adept at activities like drawing, using pencils and building with blocks. They also tend to have better balance and coordination than their peers who are not actively learning to swim. The earlier you start your baby in swim classes, the more pronounced this jump on child development may be.
2. Better Cognitive Development
Motor skills and other physical markers that signify the development of your baby might seem to have an obvious connection to swim lessons, since swimming involves the use of muscles and motor skills as well. But the same Griffith University study revealed that cognition is also significantly improved in young children who are active in swim classes. In fact, the study determined that swimming helps the cognitive aspect of child development, advancing it as much as 10 months ahead of the normal population. This means that parents can expect babies and young kids who are involved in swim classes to reach levels of reasoning in areas like reading, writing and arithmetic significantly ahead of their similarly aged peers. This can set the stage for a life of academic success.
3. Improved Language
Swimming lessons taken early and often are clearly a building block that can yield healthy and advanced child development stages. This also holds true in the area of language. As one of the pivotal researchers within the Griffith University study noted, swimming classes offer a language-rich environment.
One of the baby milestones that many parents look forward to the most is when a child says their first word. After taking swim classes, this may happen sooner than expected. After all, the instruction given throughout lessons helps further the development of language. Instructors commonly use phrases like swim under the water to the yellow triangle, which helps children to naturally absorb important tenets of speech like prepositions and useful words like colors, shapes and more. Simply hearing and observing these types of conversations throughout the duration of lessons can improve language significantly.
4. Social and Emotional Aptitude
Intelligence is clearly very important, but many parents also strive for their children to be well adjusted in a social and emotional sense. The Griffith University research study found that young kids involved in swim lessons are, on average, 15 months ahead of the normal population in social and emotional development. They tend to understand direction better, which helps them adapt to school as they get older, and they also are more comfortable interacting with their peers and other adults. Other research has shown a connection between emotional maturity and regular exercise, and swimming also provides an outlet through which young ones can expend their energy and release frustrations.
So while most people think of water safety as the most important benefit of swim lessons, it’s evident that the benefits in early childhood development are plentiful.
The earlier you start your child’s lessons, and the more regularly they attend, the more benefits you are sure to see.