As parents we understand the importance of physical activity in the early years of our children’s lives. From their first wobbly steps to climbing on the playground, movement is not just a natural inclination but a vital component of their growth and well-being. 

As one of Australia’s family favourite swim schools, we spoke to Area Manager, Anne Brown, and ex Olympian and ambassador Alicia Coutts from Kingswim Australia to hear more about the importance of physical activity in early childhood and how we can seamlessly integrate physical activity into their everyday lives.

Alicia Coutts: 

  • What are the key benefits of physical activity for children in their early childhood years?

Alicia explains: “It’s so important to get our kids active and engaged in physical activity from an early age. It not only teaches them benefits like routine, listening skills, how to engage with others, to work together as a team in group environments and to lead a healthy and active lifestyle as they grow into their adolescent and adult years. Swimming lessons are a great place to start!”

  • What are some recommended types of physical activities for children in early childhood, and why are they beneficial?

“Engaging in physical activities like swimming sets kids up with the skills to save themselves if they ever get into trouble in the water. As Australia has such a huge amount of different bodies of water, water safety should be a huge focus for all Australian families. My boys have weekly lessons at Kingswim and adore their time there. It’s the highlight of their week,” said Alicia. 

  • What role does playtime and structured physical activities play in promoting healthy lifestyles for young children?

Alicia goes on, “Playtime and structured physical activity, particularly those conducted outdoors or beyond the home, plays a vital role in encouraging young children to not only be active, but a chance to engage with other children. It’s beneficial in keeping them both physically active but also in developing their social skills – their ability to work with others in a team environment and form friendships.”

  • How can parents and caregivers encourage and support physical activity in early childhood?

Alicia says, “I know with my boys attending swimming lessons with Kingswim they have really progressed well with their physical ability in the pool but also their confidence. We encourage our boys during their lessons with positive reinforcement, letting them know they are doing a great job. They really respond well to the positive feedback and we can see what a difference it makes with their self confidence in the pool.”

  • How does screen time impact the physical activity levels of young children, and what strategies can be implemented to mitigate this?

Alicia explains that “While we do allow screen time at home, we try to limit it to certain times of the day or for rainy days when getting outside to play may be more difficult. We always want to prioritise physical activity. We are lucky to have a pool at home so the boys love going for swims in the afternoon after school and on the weekends as much as they can. Plus, swimming lessons go ahead rain, hail or shine within the warmth of Kingswim indoor swim centres which our family loves.” 

Anne Brown: 

  • How does physical activity contribute to the overall development and growth of young children?

Anne explains, “Learning to swim is not just about staying safe in the water; it’s also a fantastic way to support your child’s overall development. Just like any physical activity, swimming helps kids grow stronger and healthier. But it goes beyond that! Swimming also improves their coordination, helps them think and problem-solve, and boosts their confidence. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for socializing and making friends. So, by encouraging your child to learn to swim, you’re not only giving them a vital life skill but also setting them up for a lifetime of health, happiness, and success.”

  • How does physical activity impact cognitive development and academic performance in young children?

Anne says, “Swimming lessons go beyond water safety, positively influencing children’s cognitive development and academic performance. By engaging in activities like coordination and focus, swimming enhances brain function, concentration, and memory retention. It also promotes healthy habits, reduces stress and anxiety while boosting self-confidence. Integrating swimming into children’s routines fosters lifelong benefits for their cognitive abilities, setting children up for success both in and out of the water.” 

  • Are there any specific challenges or barriers to promoting physical activity in early childhood, and how can they be overcome?

 “Encouraging kids to be active through swimming lessons sometimes faces challenges like fear of the water, not having enough places to swim, it being too expensive for families, or certain beliefs about swimming. But we can tackle these challenges! We can slowly get kids used to water with our supportive team of teachers, work with our communities to make swimming more accessible and affordable, and respect everyone’s beliefs about swimming. By doing this, kids can learn to swim safely and get all the awesome benefits for their health and happiness!” says Anne. 

  • Are there any cultural or societal factors that influence the attitudes and behaviours towards physical activity in early childhood?

Anne explains, “Respecting cultural beliefs about swimming is essential for creating inclusive and welcoming environments. These include cultural perceptions of swimming, family attitudes, socioeconomic status, community resources, cultural norms, perceived importance of swimming, instructor diversity, and historical context. By acknowledging and accommodating diverse perspectives, we can ensure that all children feel valued and supported in their swimming journey, and is something we pride ourselves on at Kingswim.” 

  • What are the potential long-term effects of regular physical activity during early childhood on overall health and well-being?

Anne says, “Swimming lessons provide children lasting health benefits, ranging from enhanced cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength to improved respiratory function. Swimming also contributes to optimal bone health and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Beyond physical benefits, swimming can promote a positive mental well-being and establish lifelong habits of physical activity, ensuring overall health and wellness into adulthood.”

Kingswim offers free introductory lessons at all centres around Australia. To book in your free lesson for your family, head to their website: