Hello and happy February Floaties Family! It’s Michele back with another blog. I am super excited for this month’s topic! It beautifully intertwines with last month’s discussion on The Importance of Trust in Childhood Education.
With increased trust, you will begin to see several changes in your child physically and mentally. The most rewarding of these changes is confidence. Like swimming, confidence is a learned skill. It’s something that one develops through experience. This month, we will be discussing How Swimming Builds Confidence in Young Children.
It’s important to note that swim lessons go beyond teaching children how to swim. They also pick up on the importance of taking turns and sharing as well as building their communication and socialization skills. They will also learn social behavior and how to make friends, better preparing them for their journey into daycare, preschool, kindergarten, etc.
Physically, swimming will also help aid in your child’s body awareness and body control. It uses almost every major and minor muscle groups (even our face, fingers, and toes). This complex motor skill also requires you to go at the right speed/pace and emphasizes the importance of timing and control. Teaching your child spacial awareness while controlling their speed/drag in the water.
Mastering a life saving skill can be the ultimate confident boost. Anyone can learn how to swim even with it being a complex skill. Swimming requires just as much mental energy as it requires physical energy. Not only do you have to make sure you’re physically moving your body efficiently, but mentally you’re also having to think about breathing, timing, incorporating the correct muscle groups, etc.
There have been so many studies over the years that closely relate mental health with physical activity. Aside from swim lessons being an amazing physical skill to master, it also educates them in decision making, being independent, goal setting and skill building. Aquatic activities challenge kids both mentally and physically, which is inherently great for building up that confidence.
According to swimrightacademy.com, “the earlier a child begins swim lessons, the more self-confident they become.” At Floaties, we teach as young as 3 months old. As a fellow infant instructor, I see first-hand how beneficial starting at this young of an age is. First off, the water is so calming for these little ones, reminding them of being in their parent’s womb. While the warm water and zero gravity provides a soothing, comforting environment. Our warm waters are especially comforting for your child’s teething phases as well.
Now, why is confidence such an important factor in swimming? Swimming.org discusses that “having confidence overpowers feelings of self-doubt, fear and anxiety while also increasing focus.” This is where the mental and physical aspects of swimming blend together again.
Now that we’ve discussed what confidence can do for your child both in and out of the pool, let’s talk about how we get there. What exactly are the building blocks of confidence and how do we establish them in the pool? The magic word is “support”. Your support and encouragement is the magic potion to getting your little swimmer’s confidence up. Make sure that their focus is set on doing THEIR best and to never give up. Swimming is a developmental journey of peaks and valleys. Meaning some skills may be developed easier than others. But with a good support system, they can learn to see the positives even in the most difficult challenges. Setting achievable and realistic expectations that are in line with their progression will aid in boosting that confidence as they see their success build. Providing constructive feedback is another important building block because again, we want to keep their experience positive. So keeping that encouragement while correcting their swims will help tremendously. Lastly, but equally important, is making sure that they are happy and enjoying swimming. Because if they aren’t having fun or gaining a positive experience from this, how can we expect them to build their confidence?
With swimming boosting your child’s energy, motivation, sense of achievement, goal setting, spatial perception, safety skills, and motor skills, it definitely makes sense that confidence is another achieved skill in that laundry list of benefits. Next month, we will be discussing how having confidence and trust can aid in Overcoming Water Trauma in Children and Adults.
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