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Holiday Gift-Giving Guide: 5 Non-Toy Gifts for Kids

Buying toys for the kids can be a little overwhelming! There are so many options out there, and you may not know which ones they already have, which ones are “cool” and which ones are age-appropriate. And let’s be honest: The kids will are already up to their shoulders with enough battery-operated doohickeys and hand-held devices to last them a lifetime (if they last that long, that is).

So, do something different this year! Choose something from our Holiday Gift-Giving Guide: 5 Non-Toy Gifts for Kids and everybody (including the kids AND you) will be happy!

1. Swim lessons

Buying a package of swim lessons (and other enriching experiences) is definitely a gift kids AND parents appreciate! Not only is swimming FUN, but it teaches a lifelong skill – along with these Top 5 Benefits of Knowing How to Swim (for Kids). We have special packages that include two months of lessons plus some fun goodies and family swim passes. Give us a call or stop by one of our many locations to give the gift of swimming to all the kids in the family!

2. The gift of reading

Reading is another lifelong skill that opens up a world of opportunities. Giving the gift of reading is great for ANY age, from birth to adulthood! Think about what interests the kids in your life have and then give them a book on the topic — maybe for the sports lover you can choose something about a great player, or a fiction story about baseball. But don’t focus only on books: A magazine subscription, comic books or even a newspaper subscription fits the bill, too. That may be just what the professed non-book reader needs to jump start a love of reading! Plus, reading is on our list of 10 Things Your Family Must Do Before Holiday Break!

3. Games

When’s the last time you played some games with the kids? Many times, a favorite memory is sitting around and playing board games with loved ones — so why not give a game night gift? (Another item from our 10 Things Your Family Must Do list!) Do a quick inventory if you can of games they have, then head to the toy aisle and take your pick. There’s something there for every age range — and if you need help, don’t hesitate to look for recommendations online.

4. Time together

The one thing that ALWAYS tops the charts is the gift of time. Sure, it may not come in a huge box with fancy packaging, but it’s definitely a golden experience that lasts a long time in memories. Stuck on what to do together? How about swimming?! We have family swim programs where everyone can spend time together splashing in our Goldfish Swim School pool (did we mention that it’s always kept at a balmy 90 degrees — and so is the air temperature?!). We’re here all year long, so it’s also a great excuse for something to do when winter has kept you inside and bored!

5. Dual-purpose learning activities

Things like puzzles, a chemistry set, craft kits, a telescope and other educational “toys” go a long way in teaching kids while still being fun! Plus, you will appreciate the brain-building activity to occupy the kids during times when they may whine about watching TV or playing on the computer instead. Celebrate those learning toys!

Goldfish Swim School

Our Holiday Gift-Giving Guide: 5 Non-Toy Gifts for Kids is another way to help in Raising Grateful Goldfish — because they’ll appreciate the gifts that give them so much more than just five minutes of plastic playtime. Find out more about Goldfish Swim School and how we provide WOW customer service through integrity, compassion and trust.

 

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Raising Grateful Goldfish: How to Implement Gratitude into Your Daily Family Routine

You work hard to give your kids the things and opportunities you never had. Yet somewhere along the way, the gratitude for all you’re able to provide may slip away. No worries! Here are 6 Ways to Implement Gratitude into Your Daily Family Routine that will have adults and kids alike appreciating the little — and big — things every day.

6 Ways to Implement Gratitude into Your Daily Family Routine

1. Talk about the best part of your day.

Even if you don’t gather everyone around the dinner table at the same time (hey, we know schedules are packed!), find some point in the day where each person can tell you the best part of the day. That may mean talking about the best part of yesterday when you’re at the breakfast table, but you get the point. It’s important that the focus is on thinking about — and talking about — the good parts of the day.

2. Discuss good things you did for others.

We don’t mean you have to brag, gloat, or have the kids start arrogantly boasting about the good stuff they did. Rather, this is to make sure everyone is making a conscious effort to do nice things for others: From holding the door open (every time!) for someone to going out of your way to help a friend. Did you give some WOW customer service? Talking about it with your family will give you ideas to share!

3. Participate in #ThankfulThursday.

Thanksgiving is only one day a year, but the good tidings and feelings it brings can be celebrated all year long! The social media world has already figured this out, so your family should have no problem jumping on the #ThankfulThursday bandwagon. Besides posting on social media sites about what you’re thankful for each Thursday, be vocal about it — or start a thankful journal. Another idea: A dry-erase board where the whole family can write about what they’re thankful for, all day long! Don’t forget to snap a picture of the board, either, so you can remember those blessings.

4. Help others around the holidays (and then keep it going!).

As the weather turns colder and the end of the year approaches, there are many opportunities for being charitable. Whether it’s Toys for Tots, local meal donations, an area food pantry, Meals on Wheels, adopt-a-family from a church or some other idea, make sure your family picks a good cause. Then, even when the season ends, continue to think of others and keep up the donations of food, money and/or time.

5. Pick “good deed day” for the whole family.

Do you pick the kids up from school on Fridays and grab a drive-through treat (or maybe dinner) on the way home? Use that as the perfect opportunity to pay it forward: Go through with the sole purpose of paying for the vehicle behind you. Your kids will have a fun time guessing about what type of person (Family? Teenager? Senior citizen?) will be on the receiving end of your gesture.

6. Lead by example.

You may not always realize it, but they’re watching you. Who? Your little ones, who follow you around, ask you a million questions and try to emulate your actions. So, know that the gratitude you display matters. From your exclamation about the kindness of a stranger to appreciating having a warm car to drive to school in, the way you look at things and display appreciation has an impact. Find the golden experience in every situation: Flat tire? At least you have tow coverage, or know how to change it yourself, or have loved ones to call for help.

Goldfish Swim School

At Goldfish Swim School, we believe in integrity, compassion and trust – and in helping you in your quest to raise grateful goldfish by using these 6 Ways to Implement Gratitude into Your Daily Family Routine.

Learning to swim is something to be grateful for; celebrate when you sign up for swim lessons. Find a location near you and stop in to see why Goldfish Swim School is Worth the Money!

 

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The Top 7 Benefits of Year-Round Swimming (Scientifically Speaking)

Swimming is tons of fun, and Goldfish Swim School provides extraordinary results — but do you really know all the benefits your child can receive from swimming year-round (scientifically speaking)?

Here are the Top 7 Benefits of Year-Round Swimming (Scientifically Speaking):

1. Development of the whole child

Not only does swimming benefit children physically, but it also improves their development intellectually AND emotionally! According to scientific studies at the German Sports College Cologne, kids who swim year-round fared better academically, particularly in problem-solving skills. The swimmers also displayed more self-discipline (which may mean less, um, redirecting for you, mom!) and had more self-esteem, which made them more comfortable in social situations. That’s something to celebrate!

2. Improved development of motor skills

Your little almost-walker cautiously pulls along on the couch, holding on to the table and anything else in his or her path — while you follow along, holding your arms out to prevent any bumps and bruises. Sound familiar? Well, studies conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology by Dr. Hermundur Sigmundsson and his colleagues concluded that the youngest swimmers showcased better balance and grasping techniques. So, maybe your little one starts swim classes and zooms around on land! That way, you can take a literal step back (Hello, childproofing!). Goldfish Swim School offers classes for children ages 4 months and older! 

3. Enhanced brain development

Kids learn A LOT through touch and the texture of different objects — which is known as tactile sensory development. Research by Dr. Ruth Rice determined that babies make “significant gains in neurological development, weight gain and mental development” from the tactile stimulation of the nerve pathways of the skin — and swimming in water (which has over 600 times the resistance of air) certainly covers that!

4. Advanced cognitive development

We all want our kids to be the best and brightest, of course. We also want them to have FUN while they’re learning. What a golden experience: Swimming does that! A four-year Early Years Swimming Research Project (with 45 swim schools in Australia, New Zealand and the United States) found that children younger than five who had swim lessons were more advanced in their cognitive AND physical development. Plus, researchers in Melbourne found that kids in the study had higher IQs. Take that, homework! (OK, they’ll still have to do their homework, but maybe swimming will make it easier?!)

5. Increased memory and learning potential

It turns out that exercise helps a person’s memory, which helps a child’s learning potential — all because exercise increases the neurons in our hippocampus (an area of the brain associated with memory). Art Kramer, with the help of his colleagues at the University of Illinois and the University of Pittsburgh, discovered that people who were more fit had a bigger hippocampus than those who weren’t as fit. Hmm. Bigger muscles, bigger brain? Makes sense to us!

6. Stronger social skills

Want your little one to be independent (or maybe not have to say, “Mom? Mom! MOM!” every two minutes?!)? Swimming helps teach kids how to take turns, listen, share and cooperate. And Dr. Liselott Diem and her colleagues found that kids who had taken swim lessons from two months old to 4 years old could adapt to new social situations more easily because they had more confidence in social settings (And we’re confident you’ll see why Goldfish Swim School is Worth the Money!).

7. Reduced risk of drowning

It’s a scary fact, but the Centers for Disease Control states that children aged 1-4 have the highest drowning rates. But, YOU can help change that: Having your child participate in swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% for kids in that age range! That’s according to a study by Ruth Brenner and her colleagues, from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 2009. Help your child and teach these 5 Things All Kids Should Know How to do in the Water.

Goldfish Swim School

The instructors at Goldfish Swim School are specifically trained and they use their trust, integrity and compassion to teach your children how to swim — and so much more. Goldfish Swim School is dedicated to providing WOW customer service in several states, so find a location near you and register your child for swim lessons today!

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4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take a Break from Swim Lessons, Sports and Other Activities

You don’t need to fill up every precious minute of your child’s non-school time with an activity (it’s OK, really!), but chances are you may have your kids enrolled in one or two sports or lessons. What happens when the dreaded “Q” word comes up and your little ball of energy wants to quit an activity for a while? For the most part, you shouldn’t give in. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, continuing the activity can provide valuable skills and life lessons.

Here are 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take a Break from Swim Lessons, Sports and Other Activities

1. Progress Slides Downhill

Getting good at — or mastering — a skill is dependent upon repetition. The more you practice, the better you become. So, it makes sense that taking a break from repeating lessons stalls the learning process. And, unfortunately, time off can mean any progress will go sliding back downhill when those skills aren’t being used.

Moms, think about the last time you tried to do a French braid. If you’ve done it a lot recently, you’ll have it done in no time. But if haven’t done one in a few years, (even if you were very skilled at it way back when) it’ll probably take you some time to remember how — let alone do it spectacularly. So, just because your kids will still “know” what they’re doing, they won’t be as proficient as they once were if they’re not continuing to work on the skill (Which is why at Goldfish Swim School, we encourage you to get that Golden Experience and Keep Your Kids Enrolled in Swim Lessons).

2. A Break = Quitting

We know you may not intend to completely throw in the towel, but it happens. If you take a break from swim lessons, gymnastics, piano lessons and other extra-curricular activities, you run the risk of never returning. Whether it’s because of funding or because something else comes along and you don’t have the time anymore, it can happen. Luckily, swim lessons at Goldfish are only a half-an-hour a week; about the same amount of time as your child’s favorite TV show.

3. Quitting Reinforces Instant Gratification

When’s the last time you went to the toy store (or shopping mall) and your kids DIDN’T ask you to buy them something? We live in a society of now, now, NOW, so it’s bound to happen. But how do you help curb that (besides saying “NO” all the time)? It’s the little things, actually. For example, tell your kids that quitting swim lessons isn’t an option – and that they’ll see the fruits of their labor in time. That’s delayed gratification. It teaches kids the reward of sticking with something and not giving in to instant gratification. These are HUGE life lessons that will be far-reaching, all through childhood and the teen years — but especially as an adult — and some of the 4 Reasons to NOT Let Your Child Quit Swim Lessons.

4. Personal Bonds are Broken

It’s important for kids to feel like they’re a part of something and participating in extracurricular activities  — whether swim classes, basketball, karate or dance — makes them part of a group. They’ll be building bonds with instructors (like ours who teach with integrity, compassion and trust) and other kids and those kinds of relationships can’t be replaced. The longer your child continues with lessons, the more included they will feel. And, surprise: This builds teamwork (a great life skill!), even in individual sports and activities, which is certainly something to celebrate.

Goldfish Swim School

Activities such as swim lessons are great for kids to do at any age — and Goldfish Swim School offers instruction with extraordinary results for kids ages 4 months and older! Sign up for a class near you today and see our WOW customer service!

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Top 5 Benefits of Knowing How to Swim (for Kids)

When’s the last time you hung out with your kids in the water? Swimming is fun, but it’s so much more! Teach your kids to swim and they’ll have a lifelong skill that will benefit them in many ways.

Here are the Top 5 Benefits of Knowing How to Swim (for Kids):

1. Fitness

Swimming uses every one of the body’s major muscle groups and is a fantastic aerobic activity to get your child’s heart pumping. Plus, it’s a low-impact activity that increases flexibility (while also improving balance and posture!) and remains the sport least likely to cause injuries in kids. And that’s one less thing to worry about when the kids are playing, right, Mom?! That’s something to celebrate!

2. Health

Participating in a sport reduces the risk of childhood obesity, which is also linked to juvenile diabetes. Swimming is great because of the cardiovascular benefits that promote heart and lung health — and it’s an activity that can be done solo or on a team, any time of year! That means no worries about the weather outside (especially at Goldfish Swim School, where the pool – and the air temperature – is a balmy 92 degrees All. Year. Long.). Talk about a golden experience!

3. Strength and Coordination

Do you remember the thing where you have to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time? (Did you just try it?) That takes some definite coordination, much like swimming: You need to synchronize what your arms and legs are doing, along with coordinating your breathing and other body movements. Swimming helps with coordination and strength in other, out-of-water situations as a result.

4. Water Safety

One of the most beneficial parts of swimming is that it teaches your little goldfish how to stay safe in and around water. It’s one of the biggest reasons to NOT let your child quit swim lessons. Your child will be prepared should anything happen in the water. At Goldfish Swim School, teaching water safety is one of our priorities and it is why we pride ourselves on having WOW customer service!

5. Confidence and Motivation

When’s the last time you were near a pool and you heard someone yell out, “MARCO!” Well, when your kids learn how to swim, they’ll be able to confidently join in and yell, “POLO!” in response! Swimming is a great way to teach your kids motivation and how to strive for more when they learn these 5 Things Every Kid Should Know How to Do in the Water – because they’ll see how much stronger they’re getting, as they can swim farther across the pool and do more fun stuff with friends (like dive for rings!).

Goldfish Swim School

At Goldfish Swim School, we heartily believe in all the good things that come along with these Top 5 Benefits of Knowing How to Swim (for Kids).That’s why our instructors are excited to use integrity, trust and compassion to teach your little ones – and your advanced swimmers — with extraordinary results. Goldfish Swim School is worth the money — so check out your calendar and register for swim lessons today!

What are some other benefits of knowing how to swim? Let us know in the comments below. 

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