Swimming ranked as number one indoor activity for parents and toddlers

Mum Emily praises swimming for fostering unique bond with her son

Mum Emily Bonner works part-time and cherishes the time she has with her son to go swimming.

She describes it as a time where both of them can ‘bond in a different way’ as she and her little one learn to trust and listen to each other more.

Swimming is the best activity for making pre-school age children happy and creating special bonding moments with their parents, according to a new study.

The research is part of the latest #LoveSwimming campaign and revealed families that swim together at least once a week were more likely to report high levels of happiness.

Nine in 10 parents and guardians also agreed that swimming helped improve their child’s movement and co-ordination skills, with four out of five pre-school parents say that swimming helps their child sleep better.

Aware of the benefits for her child, and for building their relationship, Emily wanted to find time to spend in the water with her son as soon as possible.

She said: “I felt that swimming was something that I wanted my child to learn how to do from an early age. It was something that meant the two of us spent some quality time together.

“Our sessions also allow us to bond in a different way while being in the water and in a situation where we have to trust each other and listen to each other more.

“Swimming with my son is a happy and enjoyable experience. The excitement it brings to him fills me with so much joy as his mum.”

The new research also stated that 70 per cent of parents who swim with their children weekly, ranked swimming as the best time they spend together. Coupled with this, parents reported that sleep habits, happiness, mental wellbeing, and confidence all improved too [through swimming regularly].

A total of 96 per cent of pre-school parents also agreed swimming is what makes their child happy.

As part of the #LoveSwimming campaign, Swim England and 10 leading operators are working together to urge more parents to consider the benefits of swimming with their children.

Emily added: “I used the swimming lessons as a social time for us both to learn a new skill but also to meet new mums and babies of a similar age.

“We have grown together during the lessons and seen our children grow and develop as well as us as parents.

“Swimming is also something that we enjoy doing as a family and when we go on holiday, it forms a large part of the activities we engage with.”

After a successful Commonwealth Games for the nation’s swimmers, Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson emphasised the value of swimming at a recreational level and to the nation’s health and wellbeing.

Jane said: “This new research is the first to explore the benefits of swimming for toddler age children and their parents, and supports what we know already regarding swimming’s invaluable contribution to the health and wellbeing of the nation.

“Swimming saves the UK health and social care system more than £357 million a year and clearly its’ benefits are felt by both parents and their children.

“Owing to our new research, parents report that their child’s sleep habits, happiness, mental wellbeing and confidence are all improved by swimming.

“But not only does regular swimming support children in their broader development and provide them with an essential life skill, we now know how much parents value that bonding time spent with their child in the water, and how much of a positive impact this has on their happiness levels.

“I would urge any parent to make the most of time with your children, and prioritise quality time together – swimming is one of the best activities you can do as a family that makes you happier and healthier together.”

To sign up to adult and toddler sessions at your local pool, visit swimming.org/loveswimming.

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