New research reveals swimming as number one indoor activity for parents and toddlers

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 first research of its kind commissioned by Swim England also revealed toddlers being active in the water with their parents or guardians can lead to them enjoying better sleep and improved movement.

The findings show that swimming not only boosts the physical and psychological development of youngsters but parents have also noticed many other benefits.

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

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

Swim England and 10 leading operators are working together to urge more parents to consider the benefits of swimming with their children.

As part of its latest #LoveSwimming campaign, the sector has united to highlight how according to parents themselves, swimming with their little one ranks as one of the best activities for boosting happiness and bringing children and parents closer together.

Charlotte Power-Mcleod, one mother who prioritises time swimming with her son in amongst a demanding work schedule, reflected on why swimming has been so important for their bond.

She said: “I work full-time but the 25 minutes I have every week, even though it’s a relatively short time, it’s the best time of my week where I can be together with my child, it’s just me and him where the phone isn’t ringing.

“The difference swimming has made to our lives is so obvious to me. Anyone who can make that time should do it – for all the benefits I’ve seen, I would recommend it to anyone.”

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