Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
Isn’t it our goal to have our kids become independent, healthy and happy? Swimming can be instrumental in helping our children achieve those goals. Looking at the big picture, we see that swimming is more than any single race, meet or even a college scholarship. Swimming brings depth and character to our kids to help them along their lifelong journey.
Here are seven ways that swimming prepares our children for life:
Getting up early.
Swimmers don’t have trouble going to sleep at night or getting up early. This can help them when traveling home for the holidays. They’ll have no problem hitting the road by 5 a.m. and avoiding traffic. Ten years of morning practice will make their morning routines before work a breeze.
One swimmer told me that when her office is facing crazy deadlines, she remembers standing on the blocks at Olympic Trials. She realizes that whatever is in front of her at work is nothing compared to the pressure she felt then or at NCAAs anchoring her team’s relay.
Improved social skills.
Our kids learn to get along with teammates and are interacting daily with people of all ages and backgrounds—from lifeguards, coaches, officials, to younger and older swimmers. They aren’t hiding behind their screens, but are in the thick of social interactions.
Not afraid to fail.
How many times have our kids swam a lousy race, but were able to brush it off and continue on to earn a best time? Swimming gives our kids experience at failing. They learn to pick themselves up after defeat and keep trying.
Swimming teaches our kids time management. They learn to work ahead, balance school work with swim practice and meets. On the job, they use these skills to juggle projects and meet deadlines.
Being a team player.
Although swimming may seem like an individual sport, our kids learn to be part of a team. In college especially, they learn to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Appreciating teammates and knowing your role is a great advantage in the workplace.
Embracing a healthy lifestyle.
Our children who grew up swimming six days a week will always want to incorporate physical fitness in their lives—whether they continue to swim as Masters—or take up an entirely new sport like rowing. Being active will help our kids maintain balance, health and happiness throughout their lives.
In what other ways does swimming give our children an advantage in the real world?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.