Swim all year round!
Common questions when talking about the importance of learning to swim is “Why should children swim all year round? Surely it is only important to swim in the warm summer months? Won’t my child get sick?” These assumptions are completely incorrect!
Learning to swim is a long term, ongoing process, and consistency is the key to the development and maintenance of swimming skills. Attending swimming lessons makes up an important part of a child’s weekly routine throughout their infant, preschool and early school years, and should not just be limited to the summer months, as the skills and behaviours taught in lessons need to be practised all year round to allow children to develop at their own pace. Unfortunately the risks posed by drowning do not go away in winter, so neither should the lessons.
Learning to swim is the only sport that can assist in saving a life. Many parents make an informed decision to enrol their children in swim lessons as a part of their child’s water safety education so, with this in mind, any subsequent decision to postpone or replace these swim lessons in the winter months should be considered carefully. It is important to remember that learning to swim is not just another option on the list of sports and activities available to children – it is an invaluable lifesaving skill – not a seasonal recreational activity, and as such should be given priority in the family schedule and budget.
Apart from the safety issues, discontinuation of lessons typically results in a decline in a child’s water independence, technique and stamina within a period of several weeks or even less. Children under 5 are just beginning to develop muscle memory, and need constant reinforcement to retain skills previously learnt, so a break in lessons often results in a loss of skills. By taking a break in the cooler months, you may be wasting all the time and money spent on lessons previously. Children need maintenance and reinforcement of existing skills to build to new levels and to continue to progress and develop.
Plus, swimming has been proven to assist in brain development and, for school-aged children, is regarded as vital for the development of academic performance, and for the development of attributes including coordination, motor skills, balance and concentration.
By swimming all year round children remain confident in the water, and remember, regular exercise helps to keep the body healthy and fight off winter illnesses. Of course you must attend a swim school with indoor heated pools, and the best air and water quality available (we have Neptune Benson Ultra Fine Filters installed which
allows us to filter down to 1 micron, and our water is sanitised using a combination of chlorine and UV disinfection). Be sure to use common sense and remove wet clothing, towel dry and cover wet hair, and get warm (a hot shower is a must!) and dry before leaving the swim centre.