The fact that almost half of all children graduating from primary school can’t swim 50 metres or float for two minutes should be a wake-up call across Australia.
Those two milestones are the most basic of targets, they fall a long way short of the skills children need to be safer in and around water. Last year’s National drowning figures were a tragedy, 25 children (between 0-4) died from drowning, an increase of 108%. The increase for 5-to-14-year-old’s was 56%.
The most compelling reason to keep your children in swimming is, it SAVES LIVES.
Here are 10 reasons to keep your child swimming.
- Swimming saves lives. In Australia water is everywhere. The beach, rivers or dams, being able to “make” 50 metres in a controlled environment at the school swimming carnival does not mean a child can save themselves if they are caught in a current or fall out of a boat.
- Improves physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills. A four year research study by Australia’s Griffith University found that three to five year olds who attend regular swimming lessons were:
- 11 months ahead in verbal skills
- 6 months ahead in mathematic skills
- 2 months ahead in literacy skills
- 17 months ahead in story recall
- 20 months ahead in understanding directions
- Great fitness. Swimming is a skill which can help keep you fit for the rest of your life. It is low impact, provides a while body workout, is great for the cardiovascular system, has proven mental health benefits and helps improve sleep.
- Reduce stress and anxiety. Swimming has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety in children and adults. It assists with better sleep patterns, aids digestion, the calmness of gliding through the water is soothing and the physical activity releases endorphins which is the body’s natural way of making us happy.
- Improved motor skills. Children’s motor skills improve by learning to swim and the physical activity helps improve memory and leads to increased energy.
- Builds character. Swimming doesn’t just happen naturally, it takes work, dedication and discipline.
- Time management. Children who go on to be competitive swimmers learn great time management skills and often excel in many other areas of life. Carlile swimming alumni includes many business leaders, judge, academics and successful media personalities.
- Builds confidence. For a child, being able to swim well is great for confidence. It could be as simple as doing well at the school swimming carnival or taking part in any other water- based activity. They will approach these things without apprehension, knowing “I’ve got this”.
- Swimming is a gateway. Learning to swim provides benefits well beyond doing laps for enjoyment and fitness. It opens the door to competitive swimming, water polo, surfing, surf lifesaving, and a host of other activities.
- It’s fun. For kids swimming is fabulous fun. With the right nurturing approach, even hesitant children learn to love and respect the water.