Don’t be so quick to pull your kids out of the water just because the temperature has fallen outside. “I’m a big proponent of year-round swimming, at least until it becomes like riding a bike,” says Coach Ruthie Zarren, a certified swim instructor, water safety educator, and owner of Little Fishes Swim School. “Being in the water and swimming safely should be second nature for every child,” she says.
Consider the following ways in which kids can benefit when they ‘just keep swimming’ throughout winter:
Winter swim lessons build the skills kids need to stay safe in the water. While summer swim classes will certainly help to build the strong swimming and water safety skills kids need, year-round swim lessons allow them to better retain those skills and move on to mastering more advanced skills faster. “I like to use the analogy of playing an instrument,” says Aquatics Director Kyle Fetick. “You wouldn’t expect to take piano for a few months out of the year and be a proficient pianist. Swimming is very much the same. While it may be a typical summertime activity, the more your child learns in the winter and Spring, the more prepared they are to be a confident and safe swimmer during the summer.”
Winter swim lessons keep kids active. You may struggle to keep your kids active during the winter when cold temperatures and fewer hours of daylight limit your children’s outdoor playtime and can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Weekly swim lessons for your kids provides built-in insurance that they are going to get moving (and splashing) on a regular basis. Swimming works most of the body’s major muscle groups and carries a low risk of injury, making it an excellent form of exercise for growing children. Since swimming is an activity that almost all kids enjoy, they are likely to jump into the pool without protest.
Winter swim lessons can cure cabin fever. Children (and adults) often become bored and restless during the long winter months. Indoor activities can only provide so many hours of entertainment before your kids feel the urge to run and jump and play, and you may begin to feel like you are losing your mind. When it’s too cold to head to the playground, a trip to an indoor pool makes for the perfect escape.
During swim lessons, kids get to expend all of that excess energy that builds up after too much time spent indoors. They have an opportunity to see their friends, interact with their swim instructor, and move their muscles as much as they need. Once class is over, they should be ready to rest - or at least play quietly - upon returning home.
The bottom line is, routine winter swim lessons keep kids moving, and also allow them to develop the strong swimming skills needed to stay safe in the water. Maybe even more importantly, swim lessons give your family a reason to get out of the house before cabin fever sets in.
Alyssa writes about parenting and family life. In an effort to avoid cabin fever, she and her children spend much of the winter at their local indoor pool.
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