Five Benefits of Teaching Your Child to Swim

There are numerous benefits of teaching your child to swim. Children are naturally drawn to the water. Pools, lakes, rivers and oceans beckon them to jump in and cool off. They long to splash in the ocean waves or jump into the pool cannonball style. Here are the top five reasons all children should learn how to swim, including the most important reason of all–the ability to save oneself from drowning.

1) Swimming is a lifesaving skill

It’s important that all children learn how to swim, so they can enjoy the benefits of water play without putting themselves in danger of drowning. Even the most diligent parents and caretakers can have an oops moment when a little one falls into the deep end of the pool or wades into the waves too far and is pulled under. In Canadian children under five years old, drowning is the second leading cause of death, which is a statistic that can be altered greatly by introducing children to swimming lessons at an early age.

2) Swimming is a healthy low impact sport perfect for growing children

Swimming is exercise that places very little stress on a child’s joints or muscles. Some sports, like baseball, can overuse young joints or muscles causing injuries like “pitcher’s shoulder.” However, swimming is a sport that when executed correctly strengthens a child’s musculature and encourages fitness and healthy habits. Even children who suffer from asthma are encouraged to improve their lung health by swimming because it not only improves asthma symptoms, it increases lung volume and general fitness.

3) Swimming is a lifetime sport that deters obesity

As childhood obesity statistics continue to soar, it’s important for children to find a lifetime sport they can participate in and enjoy at the same time. According to the Childhood Obesity Foundation, over 30% of Canadian children are considered either overweight or obese. Regular exercise will reduce that number and ensure children start off life with healthy habits including ways to burn up calories like swimming.

4) Swimming is both an individual sport and a team sport

Knowing how to swim is a great skill for children who want to be part of a team sport, but swimming is also a very rewarding individual sport. In either case, children learn to increase their motor skills, develop endurance and learn that exercise can be fun and enjoyable.

5) Swimming is an affordable sport

Some sports are cost intensive like horseback riding, golf and hockey, but swimming is an activity that can be enjoyed for free or at a very low cost. There are no expensive uniforms or sports equipment needed to participate in swimming. Even pool or fitness club memberships that give a child access to a pool year-round are often highly affordable. Also, many organizations and communities offer pool access to the public for free or for a small fee.

When you consider the many benefits of teaching your child to swim, it should be high on every parent’s agenda.