Happy 4th of July from Lumiere Children’s Therapy! Let’s celebrate a relaxing weekend filled with friends, family, barbeque, fireworks, and swimming! With the 4th of July and summer in mind, this week we are discussing the benefits of swimming and everything you need to know to get your child in the pool!
What are the benefits of swimming?
- Strength Training: Swimming works every muscle group, so it is a great exercise to build and develop muscles. Swimming specifically targets leg, core, back, and arm muscles, which are all extremely important for gross motor development
- Low impact sport: Unlike soccer, basketball, or football, swimming is a low impact and no-contact sport. Swimming increases flexibility in order to improve balance and posture. Swimming decreases the chances of many sport-induced injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries
- Cardiovascular benefits: Swimming promotes good heart and lung health at an early age
- Coordination: Swimming requires great coordination in order to successfully synchronizing arm and leg movements while keeping a steady breathing pattern
- Water safety is extremely important for children to learn. Swimming, lessons will help prepare your child for any dangers that may occur in the water
- Mental and emotional benefits. Due to the natural buoyancy of the water, swimming may improve mental and emotional health. Swimming is much more relaxing than other types of exercise
When should my child start swimming?
- 6-18 months: American Red Cross recommends taking a baby swim class together with your child starting as early as 6 months old. The class will teach parents/caregivers ways to safety handle your child in water. Between the ages of 6-18 months, children should slowly begin to explore water. Once they are comfortable and with the assistance of a parent/caregiver, they can begin basic kicking and pulling movements, blowing bubbles, and floating
- 18 months- 3 years old: Continue to practice basic arm motions and kicking. Continue to take swim classes together until at least 3 years old. Stay in arm’s reach of your child at all times, but allow them to practice jumping into the water and submerging their head
- 3 years – 5 years: Between the ages 3-5 years old, children begin to fully learn how to swim by using their arms and legs to propel forward. Formal swimming lessons may be appropriate for your child around this age. Be sure to select a class with no more than six children per instructor
- 5 years and up: Time to piece it all together! Children will begin to implement the rhythm of swimming involving leg and arm movements coordinated with breathing. They may learn to jump or dive into the pool. Your child will slowly become a proficient swimmer, but be sure to have an active eye on him/her at all times.
Be sure a lifeguard is present before your child enters the water. If swimming is challenging for your child, contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for more information from our occupational and physical therapists. Enjoy some much needed sun and fun!
Hopkins, Melissa. “What Are the Benefits of Swimming for Kids?” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 June 2017.
Lewis, Lisa. “Baby Swimming Lessons.” Parenting. N.p., 30 June 2015. Web. 29 June 2017.
“Top 5 Benefits of Knowing How to Swim (for Kids).” Goldfish Swim School. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2017