01 May Why Your Kids Should Keep Swimming In Winter
It’s hard to get the kids to a swimming lesson during winter. But did you know there are many benefits to regular swimming lessons during the cooler months?
“Higher fitness levels gained through year-round swimming build stronger immune systems that can make your child more resilient to stress and illness,” says Manager Marina Burley from Kingswim Carindale in Brisbane.
“Some parents withdraw their children from swimming classes when the temperature drops, believing it will help avoid illness – it is an old wives’ tale that children who have ‘wet hair’ or who ‘go out into the cold’ get sick.”
“From experience, children who swim throughout winter are far less likely to catch colds and flu.”
To keep kids and babies comfortable, Kingswim swim schools keep a constant water temperature of 32-33 degrees.
Stopping Lessons in Winter Sees a Drop in Performance
Marina notes that a discontinuation of lessons through the winter months typically results in a decline in a child’s confidence and independence in the water, as well as a drop in technique and stamina, within a period of several weeks or even less.
“Here’s the thing: when you enrol your child in swim lessons only during the warmer months, they may not have the skills already set up for that current year’s water activities. Sure, lessons in the summer are fun but let’s face it – staggering your child’s swimming progress to several months every year isn’t going to get them very far. They may forget many things they had practised, meaning you’ll need even more summers of lessons before you’re comfortable just watching them from the side.”
Children need to maintain and reinforce existing skills to develop their ability in the water. Months of summer lessons end up ‘going to waste’ as swimmers lose their ‘feel for the water’ both physically and psychologically.
Such maintenance and reinforcement is particularly important for infant, toddler and pre-school aged children when long-term skill retention and muscle memory are starting to develop.
Swimming Improves Cognitive Skills
Swimming has been proven to assist in brain development and for school-aged children, is regarded as vital for the development of academic performance, as well as coordination, motor skills, balance and concentration.
A Griffith University study found a link between swimming classes and improved cognitive ability, literacy and numeracy, and social skills.
“Six months out of the water across the winter’s break can lead to problems such as fear of the water and a decline in performance,” says Marina.
Continued participation in swimming lessons across winter is the best way to prevent otherwise unwanted outcomes that may include being scared of the water, worried about the depth of the water, or just feeling uncomfortable in and around water. By not continually attending swimming lessons, it leads to a child being unable to perform at their previous level and, in turn, to a decline in confidence and performance.
Marina agrees that poor weather makes it hard to get out of the house and be active.
“Many families look for indoor activities for their kids during winter. Look no more! Winter swim lessons burn off energy, cure cabin fever, and gets kids ready for nothing but fun by the pool in the summer.”
Photography by Raphael Biscaldi and Jeff Dunham.
This story is sponsored by Kingswim. Kingswim offers swim classes to children of all ages from just 12 weeks. It operates across Melbourne, has three locations in Canberra, two in Brisbane and one in Robina on the Gold Coast, and a location at Macarthur Square in Sydney. All teachers hold nationally recognised qualifications. Spare nappies and goggles are on hand in the changerooms when you need them!