29 May 2023
Most of us know that swimming is one of those all-important life skills that everyone should have.
After all, it may sound like a cliche, but being able to swim might save your life one day!
Besides its unquestionable life-saving qualities, swimming also enables participation in a range of other physical activities such as surfing, synchronised swimming, water polo, diving, snorkelling, sailing, and so much more. The NHS advises that a baby can learn to swim at any age from birth, so swimming as a toddler should not be a problem for your little one.
Quite the contrary. The benefits of swimming for toddlers are many.
In March 2022, the Royal Life Saving Society UK reported that ‘only 30% of parents surveyed said they were ‘very confident’ that their child knows how to stay safe in and around water.’
Swimming and lessons naturally develop water safety awareness as toddlers explore their environment, take supervised risks and find their limits.
As with everything, education improves knowledge, and learning to swim and respect the water will significantly reduce the risk of drowning.
Sleep and food: part of the routine daily battles with toddlers that every parent faces.
Compared to their weary parents, kids have endless energy and little inclination to sleep! They also have very clear ideas about what they like and don’t like eating!
Swimming uses all their muscles, burns up excess energy, and afterwards, many of their meals suddenly seem much more appetising.
Furthermore, tired little bodies and minds are going to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
Toddlers won’t know that exercise and activity releases endorphins, which improve mood, but parents do.
Once they’ve eaten a hearty meal and caught up on all those extra zzzz they’re going to have, they will wake up happy and refreshed.
Swimming is renowned for its positive impact on muscle growth, development and maintenance. Think then how much more beneficial it is to a toddler who grows up using all these muscles and developing body fitness, stamina, strength, and flexibility.
What your toddler does now lays the groundwork for what they can achieve later.
The heart is also made of muscle that grows stronger with use. The exercise that swimming provides strengthens the heart muscles that pump the blood around the body, and improves the levels of oxygen in the blood.
Heart disease has for many years been the leading cause of death worldwide, so by taking your child swimming as a toddler, you are providing the basics for a healthy cardiovascular system and forming good habits for life.
A 2009 research paper entitled, Baby swimming: exploring the effects of early intervention on subsequent motor abilities, found that babies who participated in regular swimming classes from as early as two months old, were noticeably more advanced in the areas of balance, and prehension (skills such as grasping, seizing and holding as used in ball skills etc) than those who did not.
The benefits of swimming for toddlers are extensive, both physically and mentally. Evidence indicates that the earlier children start swimming lessons, the better for their health in the present moment, and for their future selves. Find your nearest swimming pool and book some lessons!