Every child loves to swing. Of course, every child also just loves to play, but swinging is special in a number of ways. Not only is it fun, it also just happens to be an amazing child development tool. Regularly playing on a swing, whether it’s at home, at school, or at the local public playground, can help your little one develop better physically, socially, and mentally.
Swings provide a great upper-body workout
If you haven’t used a swing yourself since you were a child, it might be time to give it another try. While it seemed like just fun and games when you were little, you’ll quickly feel the burn in your arms, back, and core. This kind of exercise is a great way to burn off extra energy, but the benefits are more significant than that.
Strengthening back and core muscles improves posture. At a time where children are spending more and more time hunched over phones and small devices instead of playing outside, this can specifically help to counteract the negative effects those activities have on their bodies.
Taking turns promotes social development
Swings, slides, and other playground equipment have an inherent feature that makes them an essential tool for child development. Most playsets only have one, and friends have to learn to share and take turns if they want to enjoy it together.
This is a fundamental part of learning how social sharing works, and how fairness and organization can benefit a group. Kids who get a handle on the idea early will have an easier time making friends and developing other, higher level social skills.
Swinging can help soothe kids with Autism
Children with autism often feel stressed and uncomfortable because of understimulation, and swinging can often help. Particularly kids who try to self-soothe by rocking or swinging their heads might be looking for exactly the kind of sensory stimulation that a swing can provide.
Swinging stimulates the vestibular and proprioceptive senses, which are tied to your ability to tell up from down, and your sense of where your own body is in space. Besides this, the mild g-forces of accelerating and decelerating while swinging, the sensation of wind on the skin, and even the feel of the rope can provide calming stimulation for some kids.
The motion of a swing promotes sensory integration
Learning to physically control and coordinate our bodies well takes time and physical development. In order for that development to happen, we need an enormous amount of sensory input that helps us to make sense of different combinations of sensations to help us shape our perception and give us the tools we need to experience and react to our environment. Swinging helps us to better develop our sense of balance, and helps us to quickly make sense of changes of direction and orientation.