As warmer weather approaches and the days grow longer, you and your kids are looking forward to spending more time outdoors. One favorite summer pastime is that of cooling off at the local swimming hole. Whether you have your own personal backyard pool or are members of a community pool, swimming is an excellent activity to keep your kids cool and active this summer.
Since the CDC list accidental drowning as the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children 1-14, should this be a reason to avoid the water? Not at all! The best prevention of accidental drowning is for children to learn how to swim and to float. This is actually a life-saving skill. There are many local swim schools that can teach your children basic swimming skills for beginners and programs for older children offering lifeguard training. Some schools will teach babies as young as 3 months of age. And of course, the best safety tip is to always closely supervise your children when around water.
Children who learn to swim have increased self-esteem and confidence. No child likes to admit that there is something they don't know how to do. And with summertime invitations to pool parties, a child who has the skills of navigating the water can feel included.
Swimming helps kids stay fit. Swimming can burn 500-650 calories an hour and is a low impact fun way for kids stay in shape. As rates of childhood obesity rise, swimming is a great way for kids to increase their activity level without even realizing that they are exercising. Another perk is that for children who are overweight, swimming will not tire them out like land activities as they will feel lighter and stay cooler in the water. Swimming also improves children's flexibility, posture and balance.
A study reported on by Science Daily concludes that children who learn to swim at an early age actually reach developmental milestones earlier. The children in the study scored higher in visual-motor skills and mathematically-related tasks as well as achieved physical milestones faster.
Being part of a swim team is an excellent opportunity for your children to grow stronger as a swimmer, learn to play with others and forge bonds with teammates. The sense of accomplishment as they reach personal goals and contribute to their teams success will result in lasting memories for years to come.
When they tire of Marco Polo, you can extend pool time by including inflatable pool toys, balls and games in their playtime. If your child is a strong swimmer, they can also participate in water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, surfing, scuba diving and more.
For parents fighting to get their kids off the couch and away from their electronic devices, swimming is the perfect diversion. Even if your child needs a little convincing at first, with the right gear, and an inviting swimming environment, the summer will fly by before you know it. But swimming doesn't have to be only a summertime activity and can be enjoyed all year round if you have access to an indoor swimming pool. You can reap the same health benefits of swimming as your children, so why not jump in and give it a splash.