4 Surprising Benefits Of Swimming Classes For Young Children

You're ready to sign your child up for swimming classes. Maybe you want to lower the risk that she'll drown. Maybe you want her to get in a high-energy workout. Or maybe you just want her to have fun. Whatever the reason, swimming lessons have benefits galore. Along with the obvious advantages, learning to swim also comes with a few not so well-known pluses. What else can these lessons do for your child? Check out what the research on learning to swim early on says.

Visual-Motor Skills

Children who start swimming lessons before age 5 may have better visual-motor skills than those who don't, according to a study from Australia's Griffith University. This study looked at 7,000 children in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. What did they find? Many things. One of the top findings was that the kids in the early swimming group had better abilities to coordinate motor tasks such as drawing lines and shapes, cutting paper and even doing some kinds of math tasks.

Communication and Expression

Along with showing higher scores on tests of visual-motor skills, the young children in the Griffith University study also had better oral expression abilities. What does this mean? Oral expression is the ability to go beyond simply talking. It includes a set of complex intellectual and communication skills that allow children (or people in general) to effectively get what they're feeling inside out.

Problem-Solving Abilities

A study of young children out of the German Sports College in Cologne found that swimming may actually improve problem-solving skills. When started early, swimming lessons were linked to higher scores on problem-solving task tests. This type of critical thinking ability may translate into improved academic performance later on when the child gets to school. In this study the benefits were found when children took year-round swimming classes and started the lessons in infancy.

Self-Control

The German Sports College study didn't just find that young children do better cognitively after taking year-round swimming lessons. It also found that the kids in the swimming group had higher degrees of self-control. Even though self-control may need seem like it has anything to do with childhood academics, it's an essential part of your little one' schooling success. The more self-control a child has, the more likely it is that she'll be able to focus on academic tasks and learn during her school day.

Swimming classes provide much more than exercise. While these lessons obviously offer physical benefits, they also offer young children the chance to grow cognitively, socially and emotionally too. 

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