The Pros and Cons of Taking Breaks from Swimming Lessons for Your Child

Swimming is an essential life skill and a fantastic way for children to stay active and have fun. Whether your child is just learning to swim or refining their skills, consistent practice is the number one contributing factor to their success. However, there may be times when taking a break from swimming lessons is necessary or beneficial. Here we’ll discuss the pros and cons of taking breaks from swimming lessons for your child.

The Pros of Taking Breaks from Swimming Lessons

Physical Recovery

Swimming is a full-body workout that can sometimes lead to fatigue, especially in young, growing bodies. Taking a break allows your child’s muscles and joints to recover, ensuring that they return to the pool refreshed and ready to swim their best.

Mental Refreshment

Like any repetitive activity, swimming can occasionally feel monotonous. A break can help your child recharge mentally. This mental reset can reignite their passion and enthusiasm for swimming, making lessons more enjoyable and productive.

Time for Other Activities

Life is about balance, especially for children. Taking a break from swimming lessons allows your child to explore other interests and hobbies. Engaging in different physical activities can also improve overall fitness and coordination, which can indirectly benefit their swimming.

The Cons of Taking Breaks from Swimming Lessons

Skill Regression

The biggest drawback of taking a break from swimming lessons is the likelihood of skill regression. Swimming techniques require muscle memory and, especially, consistent practice. A prolonged absence will lead to a decline in skills, making it harder for your child to pick up where they left off.

At Pikes Peak Athletics, we see skill regressions most noticeable in children under the age of 6 after as short of an absence as 2-4 weeks. As children get older, they hang onto skills longer and have an easier time refreshing those skills upon return, but even teens coming back to swim team will regress after time off!

Loss of Physical Fitness

Swimming is an excellent way for children to maintain cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone. Taking a break can lead to a decrease in overall physical fitness, which might affect their performance when they return to the pool.

Upon return, even children who swim shorter distances (like in our Little Pikes 2 and 3 classes) will find that swimming is more difficult than it was before their break. At Pikes Peak Athletics, we see athletes at all levels return from breaks and regain endurance over time – the key is to know this, accept it, and work through it.

Breaking Routine

Establishing a routine is crucial for building and maintaining skills with any endeavor. Taking a break can disrupt this routine, making it harder for your child to get back into the rhythm of regular swimming lessons. This can be especially difficult for younger swimmers, like our PLittles, whose learning and development relies on repetition and predictable patterns.

Emotional Impact

For children who find joy and a sense of accomplishment in swimming, taking a break can be emotionally challenging. The absence of this positive outlet can impact their mood and motivation.

Conversely, children with anxiety about swimming lessons can experience a reigniting of this anxiety after a break, prolonging the amount of time it takes to overcome those fears and start being able to acquire skills. We see this in children with anxiety across all ages!

Finding the Right Balance

The key to managing breaks from swimming lessons lies in finding the right balance. Here are some tips:

Short Breaks: If possible, opt for short breaks instead of long ones. A week or two off might be enough for your child to recharge without significant skill loss.

Cross-Training: Encourage your child to engage in other physical activities during their break to maintain fitness. Activities like running, cycling, or yoga can help keep their body in shape.

Stay Connected: If you’re taking a break due to travel or a busy schedule, try to keep your child connected to the swimming community. Watching swimming videos, visualizing techniques, or reading about swimming can keep their mind engaged. Most importantly, visit the pool as a family and get some practice in.

Set a Return Date: Having a clear plan for when your child will return to swimming lessons can help them stay focused and motivated during their break.

Taking breaks from swimming lessons has its advantages and disadvantages. While breaks can provide necessary physical and mental recovery, they can also lead to skill regression and loss of fitness. Finding a balance that works for your child’s individual needs is crucial. By planning breaks strategically and encouraging your child to stay active in other ways, they can enjoy the benefits of time off without losing the progress they’ve made in the pool. Remember, the goal is to maintain a lifelong love for swimming and to enjoy the journey, both in and out of the water.

Jaecie Montgomery | Program Operations Manager

Top Instruction. Peak Activity.

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