Swimming – Are we doing enough?

Swimming as we all know is a life skill that everyone should have, but nearly half of all children cannot swim the length of a pool by the time they leave primary school. Why is this? Budget cuts? Maybe. Fewer swimming pools? Could be? That doesn’t stop us parents from taking our children swimming ourselves. There are some fantastic pools in Sefton from Dunes in Southport, Formby Pool, Bootle Leisure Centre, Meadows Leisure Centre in Maghull and Crosby Leisure Centre. We just need to use them more.

1 in 3 children say swimming is their favourite family activity but are we as parents taking them enough and are we teaching them properly?

Swimming is great for child development. It is a unique sensory experience, which accesses all five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste.

Swimming even encourages a baby to meet physical milestones more quickly e.g. sitting up, crawling, and walking. As well as being fun, swimming can aide in mobility and cardiovascular functions, increasing fitness especially in babies, enabling then to move and breathe better resulting in significant improvement in overall language and communication skills. With improved coordination, children can pick up other activities quicker like riding a bike, horse riding or even skateboarding.

Research has also found that swimming encourages a connection between the mind and body, stimulating brain development and increasing intelligence. I should go more myself!

It’s a great way for improving fitness without putting stress on the skeletal form as it works the large muscles of the body, honing in on gross motor skills and building coordination.

In babies, swimming has also been accredited with improved eating and sleeping behaviour immediately after a lesson.

It’s never too early to start swimming lessons as Tracey from Puddle Ducks says; “Swimming from a very early age encourages a lifetime of physical activity and wellbeing, providing an early introduction into other sports and activities whilst also highly benefiting baby development. A child who has swimming lessons from an early age will develop a lifelong confidence and enjoyment of water.” “At Puddle ducks we teach life saving water safety and survival skills that will stay with children forever. Most importantly, our swimming programme is lots of fun!”

With drowning now the third highest cause of death amongst children in the UK, we as parents should be doing our best to give our children this life skill. You never know when they will need it!

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