The Benefits of Baby and Infant Swimming
The benefits of baby and infant swimming are really varied and go far beyond sharing some fun time with your children in the water - they include health and development, safety, bonding, psychological and social benefits. Of course we are all different - every person will gain something very individual from swimming lessons but here is a list of the commonly known benefits:
Health & Development
Baby swimming makes an early start to an active lifestyle. Swimming enables young babies to exercise muscle groups that are otherwise restricted by their inability to sit up, stand or walk. It can also help respiratory functions.
Babies that take part in baby swimming programmes are thought to be healthier and happier. Research shows that early swimmers perform better in tests measuring social, academic, motor and personality developments.
The aquatic environment delivers a multi-sensory stimulation. Both the physical and eye contact with parents gives quality stimulation. This can be particularly invaluable for premature or special needs babies and children.
For toddlers and older children, swimming can boost co-ordination, aid concentration and increase confidence. You are doing your child a favour by introducing them to any form of physical activity as early as possible and by attending regular fun swimming lessons being physically active simply becomes a way of life. This is increasingly important in today’s society, where especially children’s obesity rates are at an all time high.
A sad fact, but drowning is the third biggest cause of accidental death in children under five in the UK. In excess of 50% of cases actually happen close to the water’s edge. A high number of water related accidents also occur on holidays, around pools and the sea. Of course infant swimming cannot guarantee to safeguard against drowning, but your child has a much improved chance of survival if familiarity with water allows them to be relaxed in case of an accidental fall into water.
During structured swimming lessons your little one will learn to hold their breath, hold on at the side, turn in the water, and after entering the water come back to the side - essential skills that could one day save their life. Toddlers especially are at risk of becoming over-confident. When little ones begin to swim unaided more caution is needed to prevent an accident from occurring, that’s where lessons with a fully trained and qualified instructor really do come into their own.
Water safety should be an essential part of every child’s learning journey and as a parent, you can contribute greatly by encouraging them to like being in and around water.
The whole experience of sharing time together in the water enables you and your little one to get to know each other better and may help consolidate the bonding process.
The more you put into your swim sessions the more you will see both you and your baby or child benefit and it is a great feeling to watch their water skillls progress.
If you are a parent or carer who has a fear of water themselves that you do not want to pass onto your little ones, you are well advised to attend swimming lessons with them - spending time in the water in a nurturing and fun environment may well help you become more confident yourself and will set a great example to your children. After all, every little person looks up to Mummy or Daddy.
Baby swimming can encourage your little one to feel both independent and self-confident as they discover how to move unaided, for short distances, through the water. This then in turn, develops a toddler who is so very keen to show off their skills!
As your swim sessions progress, you constantly develop new skills, and hopefully you will find both you and your child becoming more confident with each other in the water world.
Above all else, swimming lessons are an activity that enables both children and parents to have lots of fun and make friends, a benefit that should not be underestimated!