The Importance of Swimming Skills

Swimming was always one of my favorite activities as a child, which is why so many of my childhood memories from mysummer swimming chicago summers off of school take place at the neighborhood pool or at one of Chicago’s beautiful beaches. Aside from the fact that spending a day at the pool is a fun way to pass the hot days of summer, swimming has many other benefits for your child’s development. Below is a list of the top reasons why learning to swim is so important for your child.

Reasons Swimming Skills are Critical for your Child:

  • Strengthening: Negotiating the water requires your child to use all of her muscles. From her core to her arms and legs, your kid will become stronger while playing against the resistance provided by the water.
  • Coordination: Swimming requires a lot of coordination! While each swimming stroke is different, they all require simultaneous movement from your child’s arms and legs in different directions. As your child learns how to swim using a variety of swimming strokes, she is learning how to coordinate multiple movements from multiple body parts at the same time.
  • Sensory input: Swimming is a great way to get a lot of sensory input. The water itself provides deep pressure input to the whole body. The constant sensation of the water can help to decrease tactile sensitivity that your child may experience out of the water. The water also provides proprioceptive input to the body, which can help your child’s body awareness and the body’s position in space. Lastly, the changing position of your child’s head that is required with swimming provides vestibular input, which will help your child strengthen that sensory input both in and out of the water.
  • Safety: Being able to negotiate the water safely is an extremely important skill for your child to learn. While you can never predict what situation your child may encounter in the water, being able to swim, as well as being able to tread water, is the best way for your child to be prepared in challenging and potentially unsafe  water situations. However, it should be emphasized that no matter how strong of a swimmer your child is, all swimming and play activities around the water should be supervised by an adult.

Happy swimming this summer!

Colleen Kearns

Colleen Kearns graduated from Marquette University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She spent many years working in pediatric physical therapy at Penfield Children’s Center in Milwaukee, serving both as a volunteer and as a student PT, serving children from low-socioeconomic areas in Milwaukee with a wide variety of physical therapy needs. During her physical therapy education at Marquette, Colleen took part in the Advanced Pediatrics elective, which provided her with opportunities to observe and work with pediatric patients at a number of local inpatient and outpatient pediatric physical therapy clinics. She was also able to complete a research project on the effects of music in pediatric physical therapy, and was given the opportunity to present her findings to a group of physical therapists that work in the Milwaukee public schools.

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