When kids are little, most parents prioritize swim lessons and teaching their kids water safety. After all, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 among preventable injuries, according to safekids.org. But what about once kids can successfully float and swim back to the wall? Swim lessons are beneficial for your older kids too. There are many benefits to kids continuing in swim lessons and learning the four swim strokes—freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breast.
Reduces the risk of drowning
Like we mentioned, most people think of preventing drowning as the top reason for enrolling their three-year-old in formal swimming lessons. But as kids get older, they become more independent and more fearless. You might drop them off at a pool party or allow them to go on a beach vacation with another family. Having them in swim lessons as they approach these milestones can give you confidence that they are safer in the water, even when you aren’t around.
Improves their endurance
Older kids are usually completely fine and able to get back to the wall or float on their back, but at this age it’s important that they can swim for longer periods without getting fatigued. If they go boating, are at a swim party, or go swimming in the river they will likely swim a longer distance. Swimming freestyle with side breath is an important safety skill so that kids can swim for longer periods of time and not get too winded.
Reduces risk of injury
Different strokes work different muscles. For example, the butterfly is a great core and upper body workout, while the breaststroke tones your back and legs. Practicing different strokes makes it so you aren’t using the same muscles each time. Not only will swimmers get a total body workout by switching up their strokes, they are also less likely to injure themselves by putting repeated pressure on the same muscles.
Keeps you competitive
Knowing different strokes can keep your swimmer competitive, especially if they want to be on a swim team. Freestyle will usually give them the most speed but then backstroke can help them if they are tiring and need a quick recovery while still moving.
Helps them do better in school
Swim lessons can help your kids achieve better academic performance. Studies have found that kids who participate in swimming are more likely to get better grades in math. Swimming can also help with language development, reading and writing.
Provides new challenges
Once a swimmer masters a stroke, sometimes swimming isn’t as fun. Learning the four strokes—and practicing each of them—gives swimmers variety within the sport and offers new challenges as they learn each new stroke. Learning new strokes can also help performance of other strokes. For example, as swimmers gain balance for backstroke, it will help as that balance carries over to freestyle.
Good for the soul
Learning new swim strokes and progressing in technique can build confidence in swimmers both young and old. Swimming helps lower stress and can be a great way to boost your mood, gain aerobic activity, and have fun while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.