Is Swimming Good for Toddlers?

Is Swimming Good for Toddlers?

Drowning is known to be one of the most common occurrences of accidental death in children. The statistics are overwhelming but potentially can change with more accessible swimming lessons nationwide.

Learning to swim is a life-saving skill that should be encouraged for early learners in preschoolers, kindergarten, and first grade.

Swimming can be enjoyable and create multiple opportunities for summer activities, vacations, and time with family and friends. Still, it promotes health and fitness and is one of very few sports activities that can save a life.

Is there a time or age that is best to start swimming lessons? Are there risks to teaching toddlers how to swim?

Are there more benefits to knowing how to swim other than saving a life?

Can swimming lessons be started too early?

Can a parent teach their child swimming lessons? What other activities is swimming recommended for?

If you have ever asked yourself or anyone else these questions, continue reading to uncover answers, tips, and tricks to determine if swimming will be good for your toddler.

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What risks are associated with swimming?

First, let’s start with potential risks and the recommended ages for starting swimming lessons. Recognizing that swimming lessons for toddlers and young children can save lives from accidental drownings is an essential step to helping your child understand water safety.

However, as children begin swimming lessons, they may become overconfident in their skills.

Overconfidence can be risky when a toddler believes they are an excellent swimmer but underestimate the depth of a pool, are unsure how to gauge the strength of a wave or current, or try to swim without supervision and ask permission to alert an adult where they will be.

Another risk, but on the other side, is when an adult assumes a toddler appears to be water and swimming confident but is not as competent as believed from first impressions.

When Should a toddler be able to swim?

Swimming lessons are recommended for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Infant lessons under the age of 1 can be purchased by parents wanting to teach their children floating techniques, but these lessons do not include swimming since infants frequently struggle to raise their heads high enough out of the water to breathe.

The classes for infants can be hard to watch as infants are put in situations where they must learn to float to the top of the water, turn on their backs, and stay floating until help arrives or they reach the edge of a pool and can hang on or pull themselves out if on a gradual incline or steps.

Classes such as these are entirely at the discretion of the parents and instructors if circumstances make it worthwhile for all involved.

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Toddlers can generally learn and understand basic water survival skills such as swimming, floating, and treading water through the age of four. Between five and seven, skills are further practiced, and most swimming methods can be mastered.

How do you get a reluctant child to swim?

Do not feel discouraged if your child has not taken swimming lessons before age 5, 6, or 7. There is no wrong time to start toddler swimming lessons as every child has different developmental milestones.

Also, families who do not frequently visit pools, beaches, water parks, rivers, or lakes may not emphasize swimming and water safety as those who have home pools, go boating, stay in waterfront properties, or maintain annual waterpark memberships.

Next, we will discuss the benefits of using instructor-led swimming lessons compared to parent-taught classes. When teaching water safety and swimming lessons, some parents may feel they have enough or more knowledge than necessary to teach their children.

While that is a great feeling, sometimes we exaggerate the skills we think we have and can potentially cause more harm than good through our expectations.

Unless you are a parent who has received swimming instructor certification, most children will benefit more from professional lessons.

Why are swimming lessons good?

Children signed up for professional swimming lessons are less likely to push back and show resistance to training.

Parents only want the best for their children, but even as toddlers, they tend to tune out parental instruction when they feel pushed or doing something a parent is more excited about than they are.

When parents set high expectations, toddlers can become anxious if they think they are not meeting them.

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Parents may be fantastic swimmers and know what they do for themselves while swimming, but sometimes proper techniques can be forgotten. Instructors trained and certified ensure the correct forms, positions, and movements are used.

Even at toddler ages, a child must show competence with each instruction before moving on to the next level of any lesson.

When visiting community pools and recreational centers, children must test out for lifeguards who issue colored wristbands to indicate the depth and part of the pool each child is approved to use.

Instructor-led lessons will familiarize toddlers with this process so they are more aware and comfortable with pool procedures.

And finally, it’s time to talk about the benefits of toddlers and swimming.

What are the Benefits of Swimming?

Swimming Health Benefits

  1. Muscle Development (physical exercise)
  2. Cardiovascular Health (strong hearts, lungs, and blood vessels)
  3. Better Sleep (encourages healthy sleep patterns)
  4. Coordination and Balance (improves strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance, and puts less strain on joints and bones while in the water)
  5. Improved Appetite (expect appetites to increase due to the energy required to swim and stay warm in the water)
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Why Swimming is a Life Skill?

  1. Determination (hard work and effort will result in goal achievement)
  2. Teamwork (swimming can be done alone but is usually a social activity that promotes cooperation, accountability, and communication)
  3. Fine and Gross Motor Skills
  4. Cognitive Skills (swimming helps develop heightened vocabularies and mathematical skills through improved concentration, neurons in the brain created through improved coordination skills, and increased endorphins to relieve stress and anxiety)
  5. Social Skills (group settings such as swimming lessons encourage interaction and communication between other toddlers and the instructors)
  6. Confidence and Overcoming Fears
  7. Improved Memory
  8. Water Safety Skills

Activities That Benefit from Swimming Lessons

  1. Surfing
  2. Scuba Diving
  3. Boating
  4. Kayaking
  5. Canoeing
  6. Rafting
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