Swimming Increases Cognitive and Language Development
As a parent you want your children to do well in school, but what can you do to prepare them for success? A study from Griffith University in Australia has uncovered an easy way to give your child a head start – swim lessons! Researchers found that children under five years who participated in swim lessons reached cognitive and language development milestones ahead of their non-swimming peers.
Cognitive development is, simply put, thinking. Counting to 10 while floating, or asking a child to jump in three times allows a swimmer to decipher numbers in a way that is more applicable, and therefore better understood, than simply teaching him to count. The act of “doing” while learning cements the knowledge, connecting new neural pathways in the brain. In the same way diving for a blue ring helps a child identify colors and experiment with spatial relationships. The combination of listening to directions followed by action spurs language development as children learn to understand what is being asked of them. Language is further advanced as swimmers are encouraged to express their feelings. “What do you like doing best? What is scary?” You won’t find many people, outside of blood relatives, that have such focused conversations with your child as his or her swim instructor.
Ultimately, we want all children to learn to swim because it is a survival skill, but the fringe benefits more than double the value of lessons. What more can you ask of a sport that develops language and concepts, memory, mathematics – and could save your child’s life.
To read the study go to www.griffith.edu.au and search for Early Years Swimming. For more information on swimming lessons and water safety, visit Academy Swim Club at www.swim4life.com.
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