NEW figures show swimming lessons helps with children’s confidence and behaviour.
New YMCA Victoria data show swimming lessons improve confidence, sleep patterns and mood among children.
For parents with children younger than four years old, 62 per cent believe swimming increased their child’s confidence, 24 per cent said it improved their sleeping patterns and 36 per cent said it improved their mood.
The report shows that in 13 to 17 year olds, swimming also improved energy and stamina and helped with stress relief.
Horsham Aquatic Centre children’s program co-ordinator Kylie Zelley said swimming gave children more confidence on and around the water. “This comes through learning their abilities and limitations and what to do if they find themselves in trouble,” she said.
Ms Zelley said swimming also helped with social skills.
“It helps children learn to mix and socialise with other children and adults in a safe and nurturing environment,” she said. “Socialising in the water environment is also a great way to explore and develop gross motor skills.
“In turn, children learn tolerance, patience, compromise and taking turns.”
Ms Zelley said even smaller actions, like bubble blowing was helpful in speech development.
“Bubble blowing focuses attention around the mouth and tongue,” she said.
Ms Zelley said swimming helped with healthy lifestyle choices.
“Learning to swim leads on to a multitude of water sports and activities,” she said. “Being safe around the water can lead to increased confidence and willingness to try such water-based activities as fishing, boating and skiing.”
Ms Zelley said the Wimmera had rivers and lakes within easy access, so learning to swim was a must.
“To really be comfortable and confident around these environments and to enjoy the experiences of activity at our waterways sound swimming knowledge is a must,” she said. “Learning to swim should not be just about learning strokes, it’s learning to be comfortable in the water and being able to keep yourself safe.”