Baby & Toddler Swimming…What’s it all about? What are the benefits? With Spring finally here there is no better time to start your swimming journey with your little one and there are countless benefits to getting your baby into the water as soon as you can.
Here are our top 10 reasons why we believe baby swimming is an exciting, enriching experience for everyone involved. Not only does it teach vital life-saving skills, but it also enhances the way babies and toddlers learn other skills too, whilst having lots of fun:
1. It teaches water safety: Tragically, according a report published by Public Health England and ROSPA in 2018, drowning was the second biggest cause of accidental death in under 5’s between 2013 and 2017 in England. Learning to get to the side, hold on, get out and/or swim could save your child’s life one day, so at Water Babies we teach vital safety techniques from birth.
2. It’s great for their physical and mental health: With childhood obesity levels still worryingly high, swimming is a great way of getting little ones exercising from a young age. Each Water Babies lesson provides a complete physical work-out, strengthening your baby’s heart and lungs and in turn aiding development of the brain — including stimulating all 5 senses (taste, smell, touch, sight and sound). And with each lesson burning up to 300 calories, you’ll get a work-out, too!
3. It promotes bonding: Skin-to-skin contact strengthens the bond between you and your little one – and with mums still generally having the most bonding opportunities, swimming is a fantastic way for dads to spend some precious one-to-one time with their babies.
4. It boosts confidence: Introducing children to water at a very young age helps prevent a fear of water developing later. Exercises that involve moving independently in water and holding on to the side are wonderful for your baby’s confidence. Many parents also find that handling their baby in water is great for them, too — especially if they’re anxious about water or can’t swim. You’ll be so proud of what your baby can do!
5. It develops their co-ordination: Being in the water helps improve co-ordination and balance, and learning to swim with toys will help your little one’s co-ordination and motor skills. A 2009 study by the Norwegian University of Science & Technology found that babies who swim have better balance and can grasp objects more easily than non-swimmers.
6. It builds their strength: Buoyancy and water-resistance mean that babies exercise more muscles, more effectively, in water than on land. Finnish research showed that swimming babies crawled later but walked earlier, thanks to their excellent muscle control.
7. It develops their learning skills: Responding to repetitive voice commands can sharpen your baby’s mental skills and increase their levels of understanding. A German study found that swimming babies had advanced motor development, social skills and intelligence than non-swimmers. The Early Years Swimming Project at Griffith University found that by the time they start school, children who swim in the early years are ahead of non-swimmers by 6 to 15 months when it comes to solving maths problems, counting, language and following instructions.
8. It enhances their wellbeing: Warm water relaxes your baby, and swimming stimulates their appetite; for you, the good news is improved sleeping and eating patterns!
9. It provides structure: Weekly swimming classes contribute to structuring your week and your day, providing a regular fun and social activity (and, just possibly, a little sanity…)
10. You’re never too young to start swimming: Even the NHS agrees! You don’t need to wait until your baby has had his or her vaccinations before they go swimming (even underwater).
This short film shows a little one at the start of their Water Babies journey and then a pre-schooler nearing the end of her journey, to give an insight into the skills that are developed, where they start and how they progress. When little ones join Water Babies classes they are placed in classes that are suitable to their age and stage of development, you would certainly never have a class where there was a 6 month baby and a 3.5year old toddler like there is here! The skills and activities delivered in each Chapter are tailored to the baby or toddlers stage of development; song, games and interaction with toys are utilised to ensure the classes are enjoyable whilst laying the foundations of swimming and key water safety skills.
If you want to know more about baby & toddler swimming, don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are more than happy to offer advice and guidance to support you to get your little one to the pool. Our Chapter 1 classes are suitable for babies from birth to 12 months and additionally, we have some limited availability for toddlers between 12 and 36 months.