Why should children be introduced to swimming when they are babies?
Every parent is protective of their child(ren) and only want what is best for them – quite often I get asked “Why should I start my baby swimming early?” Fortunately I find this one very easy to answer!
Swimming is hugely beneficial to health, development and fitness so getting in the water at any age is a bonus but to take full advantage of babies mammalian dive reflex (which stops water getting into a baby’s lungs) its best to get them in the water and enjoying swimming before they are six months old.
Childhood obesity is on the rise and encouraging swimming from a young age means that not only are they less likely to develop a fear of water they are also opening a door to an active lifestyle. Starting swimming early means your baby is getting a complete low impact work-out during each session, this means that no stress is being put on joints yet their heart and lungs are getting a good work out whilst their brains are getting a developmental helping hand too – don’t forget that it’s also beneficial to parents too who will be burning a few calories whilst in the pool!
Swimming from an early age encourages bonding between the baby and its parent as well as giving the opportunity to interact socially with the other children and instructor in a relaxed environment. It also increases cognitive abilities – teaching a baby to blow bubbles in the water, kick their legs and reach for the side encourages concentration and willpower as well as confidence, all of these are beneficial in other areas of their lives as they grow and are a great foundation for when they start school.
Putting aside all the health, well-being and social benefits of infant swimming let’s look at swimming for safety!* Drowning is the third biggest cause of death in children under 5 – teaching a child to be calm, get to the side and to hold on/get out is essential to young children and gives them survival skills should the unthinkable happen.
Last but definitely not least – swimming aids better sleeping patterns which I’m sure most parents of young children would welcome with open arms
Check out our video of some of our happy little swimmers here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXl5DqXJOqg
Thanks for reading
Managing Director and Senior Swim Instructor at Aquatots Swimming Ltd.
*Swimming lessons are not a substitute for adult supervision and children should always be fully supervised whilst in water.