Five Reasons to Teach Your Child to Swim

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Expert Author Susan Leigh

In a survey of 3501 schools in the UK it was discovered that 51% of 7-11 year olds could not swim 25 metres, the length of a swimming pool. That’s 1.1 million children. Only 2% of schools delivered the recommended 22 hours a year of swimming lessons. Clearly the cost of lessons, transport and the upheaval on the school day all act as a deterrent to incorporating swimming lessons into schools’ timetables.

With those facts in mind let’s look at 5 reasons why it would be beneficial for you to teach your child to swim:

– One in three children leave school unable to swim and yet drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death in children. When you think that 200,000 children leave primary school unable to swim it makes the decision to spend time with your child remedying this situation a real consideration for their future safety.

– Learning a new skill helps a child feel more confident and capable. Being able to swim, ride a bike, do something physical allows a child to feel that they can confidently join in and play with other children. They are readily able to engage with others and feel sure of their own abilities. A child can also feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as he or she perhaps sets themselves new goals to develop further, maybe aim to increase the distance they can swim or learn new strokes as they progress.

– Finding positive ways to spend parent/child time together, maybe as a family, is important, as is engaging in activities that include everyone. Water sports, exercising, developing trust as you teach them new skills, enjoying water based activities can provide enjoyable family time and, as children get older, being able to swim can add an extra dimension to family holidays.

– Swimming is a sociable and relatively inexpensive form of exercise for children. Being able to swim means the freedom to go to the local pool, lido or country club with their friends, join in and happily spend hours of free time, weekends and school holidays together, developing good friendships and relationships.

– Swimming is a great form of exercise; many people recommend it because water supports the body’s weight whilst it is being exercised. Finding positive ways to exercise is an important consideration when educating young people about the benefits of a healthy diet, better health and exercise. Teaching children to swim helps them to learn a skill that can be readily incorporated into their lives, hopefully done regularly and with enthusiasm. And swimming is something that can be continued throughout one’s life; age is no real barrier.

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