Let’s face it, even in our warmer climate, swimming through winter isn’t always appealing. Add in children who are snotty and grotty and it may seem easier to hang up the towel. But here’s why you should jump in and keep your kids swimming through winter.
Swimming is a lesson for life (literally)
Swimming is a survival skill; one that could, quite literally, save your child’s life. Children can drown any time of year. Accidental drowning is the leading cause of death in children under 5. Participating in formal swimming lessons throughout the whole year is associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in children between 1 and 4 (although this is just one step in building the layers of safer swimming).
Grow skills and confidence
Repetition is key to the process of learning to swim. A break over winter can result in a plateau or even a regression in skills. It’s all about muscle memory and muscle memory is all about consistent, long term skill retention. A sustained break may lead to children having to relearn skills that they lost over winter, and for those children who took a little longer being comfortable in their lessons, they may need to rebuild water confidence and a love for the water.
Health and fitness
This one is fairly obvious. There’s a reason why people who are undergoing rehabilitation will often have a significant swimming component in their program. It is low impact and accessible to people of all ages; it provides a great cardiovascular workout as well as a workout for the whole body including the arms, back and shoulders. As swimming builds fitness, stamina and strength, it can also help your child excel at other sports such as soccer, football, gymnastics and dance.
Physical and intellectual gains
Several studies, including one by Griffith University, investigated whether young children gain more than just swimming skills if they participate in early years swimming lessons. The results were impressive. Not only are swimming children more physically able, they also score significantly better on oral expression, literacy, numeracy and socially.
Be summer ready
Winter is the perfect time to progress your child’s swimming skills so that when the warmer months roll around, they are ready for hours of fun playing in the pool, at the beach and enjoying water-based family holidays. The progress your child will make in the winter months, quite simply, cannot be made up in a matter of weeks.
It’s warm in and out of the water
If your kids are going to be taking swimming lessons in winter (which they should!), make it as comfortable as possible for them. The water should be warm; 32 degrees may sound too warm but for little bodies it is the best temperature for learning. The air around the pool should be the same temperature so that they can concentrate on learning.
So go on, get [your kids] wet!