The Life Lessons of Swimming
Life is full of lessons, and parenthood is full of teachable moments. That’s why surrounding your children with activities that hit as many facets of character development as possible is equivalent to hitting multiple birds with one stone (although we don’t condone hitting actual birds with actual stones). While swim lessons may not immediately seem like such an activity, there are many life lessons and day-to-day benefits readily available in the pool.
Few things require the amount of trust that swimming requires. Trusting a swim instructor or caregiver in the water is a way for a child to begin to let their guard down and overcome apprehensions that may exist around the water, while bonding with people they may not have readily bonded with in other activities.
Swimming takes practice, repetition and consistency to master. This commitment to multiple lessons per week develops perseverance in a child who is setting goals and achieving them in the water. For children who have not had the opportunity to commit to an activity, developing the means to stick to something until a skill is achieved is a character trait they will carry into adulthood.
Confidence & Self-Esteem
For children who may feel bombarded with feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, swimming can often provide a way for them to excel. Valuable one-on-one coaching, social interaction, the ability to advance in an individual sport and personal development without direct comparison to others are all areas in which children can build confidence in and out of the water.
Focus, Routine and Structure
The childhood of Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps was marked by more than hours in the pool. It was shaped by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to Michael’s mother, swimming provided a routine that helped him develop time management skills and valuable parameters. “The pool itself helped Michael. ADHD children need parameters,” she says. “There’s nothing better for that than two lane lines! Even if Michael’s mind was all over the place, he could focus on going up and down the pool. Plus, water itself has a calming, soothing effect.”
Brain & Body Benefits
Children experience stress just like the rest of us, and childhood stress often occurs in situations that require change, such as new homes, new families, new teachers, new friends, new study loads, etc. Swimming for just 30 minutes, three times a week, can lower stress levels, improve mood, lower incidences of depression and anxiety, and improve sleep patterns. The gentle stretching of muscles, the repetition of strokes and deep breathing are all meditative in nature and have been compared to the de-stressing attributes of yoga.
Additionally, swimming is an excellent workout, and exercise releases endorphins in the brain. These natural feel-good hormones increase positivity and bring about a sense of well-being and happiness. The health benefits of exercising regularly have long been known to improve math test scores and reading comprehension, and children who have a healthy outlet for their vivacious energy are more likely to sit through classroom instruction with less distraction.
At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, we are focused on more than teaching children to swim for the summer. We are passionate about creating lessons for life – for their safety, their enjoyment and their character. Enroll your children in year-round swim lessons, and let us come alongside you to raise happy, healthy and fulfilled children.