Being on a swing benefits a child in three basic ways
The movement helps to wire the brain for processing information. Stimulating the senses through swinging facilitates learning to organize and interpret spatial information via the vestibular system, which is situated in the inner ear.
It’s calming. The smooth, back-and-forth motion helps with sensory integration. This can be soothing to a child, which is why you will often see swings utilized in therapy settings.
Swinging provides a “brain break”. It also stimulates the thinking brain (the cerebral cortex) that helps a child to focus. Research has shown that children are more focused and ready to learn after this kind of free play. Swinging provides the ultimate recharge!
You can create a fourth dimension by creating a social experience
Sing songs and have conversations as you push the swing. Standing right in front of your child and making eye contact for longer than usual creates the perfect opportunity for bonding plus boosting vocabulary and speech skills with songs and lots of talking.
Use swinging as a transition tool. Children of all ages find a sense of security in being able to predict what is going to happen next in their daily routine, and this is especially true for babies and toddlers. It therefore makes sense to intentionally create certain familiar routines for announcing various events in your daily schedule, like nap time. To do this, make a habit of swinging your child while singing a fixed series of calming songs right before nap time. Your child will learn to associate the movement and those songs with the upcoming sleep time. And, by the time you get to the last song, your baby will be one giant step closer to being ready for that nap 😊.
Picture credit: Reandi Grey
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