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4 Reasons Swimming is Sensational for Your Kids

4 Reasons Swimming is Sensational for Your Kids

We’ve all been at that pool party where our one friend won’t leave the steps of the shallow end. Mortified and chagrined, that lonesome kid always has some kind of story why he or she doesn’t know how to swim. So instead of having your kids become the one who won’t leave the steps, consider why teaching them to swim is more helpful than just learning how not to drown.

Swimming Builds Self-Esteem

The article Developing Self-Esteem, published by the Seattle Children’s Hospital, March 2012,  Michelle New, Phd, expresses the wisdom in developing self-esteem early.

“It’s wise to think about developing and promoting self-esteem during childhood. As kids try, fail, try again, fail again, and then finally succeed, they develop ideas about their own capabilities. At the same time, they’re creating a self-concept based on interactions with other people. This is why parental involvement is key to helping kids form accurate, healthy self-perceptions,”

Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, Colleen Hammon — who has taught many children in her 30 years of instruction — also feels swimming is a great for self-esteem.

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“When the children learn that they can swim and float by themselves, they develop great pride and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment,” Hammon says. “As their skills improve, their successes also improve providing more feelings of self worth. There is something very special in bringing a child from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I did it!'”

Swimming Teaches Sportsmanship

USA Swimming states “swimming teaches the life lessons of sport and sportsmanship which include learning to deal with winning and losing, as well as working with officials, teammates and coaches.”

The idea of participating in sports is not for everyone to receive a feel-good-trophy, but for children to create positive attitudes and experiences for themselves and everyone around them. This concept is so important in life and athletics, the Nemours Foundation for Kids Health has dedicated many publications to the topic.

Hammon, who has attended many swim meets in her tenure, says, “If you have ever been to a swim meet, you see the swimmers cheering each other on to do their best. There is a sense of pride for the team even if you are not the winner of a race.”

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Swimming Helps to Conduce Coordination

It is commonly known kids who lack coordination have a difficult time with basic skills such as catching balls, riding bikes, writing letters and learning to read.

In some cases, children may have Developmental Coordination Disorder.

“Development Coordination Disorder is diagnosed when children do not develop normal motor coordination (coordination of movements involving the voluntary muscles),” according to the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. “The disorder can, however, lead to social or academic problems for children. Because of their underdeveloped coordination, they may choose not to participate in activities on the playground. This avoidance can lead to conflicts with or rejection by their peers. Also, children who have problems forming letters when they write by hand, or drawing pictures, may become discouraged and give up      academic or artistic pursuits even though they have normal intelligence.”

There is no one set therapy to help children who lack coordination, but sports such as swimming can help.

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“Swimming requires a lot of coordination,” Hammons says. “The arms are doing one motion while the legs do another. Coordinating the breathing with the arms and body motion is an important part of the whole stroke. Even moving the arms at a speed different from the legs requires a great amount of coordination.”

Aqua therapies — such as swimming — have been used to enhance the lives of children with autism, wounded warriors, and those with balance coordination disorders.

Swimming Promotes Socialization

“When children become swimmers, it opens a whole new playground for them, ” Hammon says. “They can play freely in the pool with their friends without having to be afraid of the water. I love seeing their joy when they are just having a great time in the water — diving down for toys, jumping from the side of the pool into the water, racing each other, or just clowning around.”

The friendships made during childhood years can have the ability to grow into life long, loving relationships if we teach our children how to interact with each other appropriately and respectfully.

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“In a few years, the medals and ribbons will be laid aside and best times will be a hazy memory. The friendships that will develop and the life skills learned will carry on for a lifetime,” USA Swimming.

Swimming not only provides kids with life skills which help to achieve success, but it also provides them with the ability to make a pool or ocean into a playground.

“My greatest joy is being able to take a child who is fearful of the water and turning them into swimmers who can enjoy the water where ever they are,” Hammon says.

To find out more about swimming check out USA Swimming.

Featured photo credit: Kid Swimming/Marin Resnick via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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