In a couple of my other posts, I have stressed the importance of teaching your children how to swim, mainly because I feel that the ability to swim is an important skill to have for safety reasons. I also feel that for many the process of teaching your child how to swim will help to develop or strengthen the bond between parent and child. Well, I came to find out that learning to swim actually aids in the development of a child’s mind.
A recent study was done by Australia’s Griffith University over a period of three years to validate or refute the belief that young competent swimmers become more confident, articulate, and intellectual as they grow. Researchers at the university surveyed the parents of nearly 7,000 children under the age of 5 who were learning to swim to determine when their children were reaching important developmental milestones such as counting, walking, talking, etc. They then compared the results to those of a group of non-swimming children. In an effort to keep embellishments by the parents out of the equation, the researchers put about 200 children through a series of tests designed to confirm the results. What they found was surprising. They discovered that children with the ability to swim achieved physical feats sooner than those who could not. Also, they were more cognitively advanced. Children who can swim were months, and some even years, ahead intellectually than those who could not swim. They were able to read and write better.
They were also able to count and build with blocks better than those who could not swim. In addition to that, one test group was ahead of the curve by more than 15 months in understanding direction. Children around the age of four were ahead by seven moths in grasping. What I found to be remarkable is that children over the age of four were particularly strong in language being ten months ahead and eleven moths ahead in oral expression. They also discovered that those who did not learn to swim had a tendency to fall behind in spelling, and also showed signs of weaker motor function by having more a difficult time catching throwing and kicking a ball.
This information definitely makes a strong suggestion that teaching your young ones how to swim will not only serve them in emergency situations related to water but will also serve them in their overall development. This could be due to the fact that learning to swim requires detailed instruction, visual cues, and concentration. These are things that will prove to beneficial outside of the pool as they transition into school.
This information was obtained through the February 28th issue of Pool and Spa News Magazine.