Did you know that many babies began to swim long before they could learn to walk?
Infant swimming is the wonder of human babies and toddlers reflexively gliding themselves through the water and altering their heart and respiration rate in response to being submerged. If your little one isn’t old enough walk, teaching and encouraging them to swim as early as possible help build his health and ensure safety.
And besides, doesn’t your baby look cute in her custom swim cap and bathing suit?
How early is too early?
Traditionally, swim lessons begin at age four, where kids were considered developmentally ready. However, swimming lessons for infants in many accredited swim schools have become common. According to Ed Pemberton, owner and director Adventure Swim School, in Knoxville, TN, a baby that can hold his or head up (usually at 3 to 4 months) is ready for swimming lessons. They should also be immersed in temperatures between 86 and 92 degrees.
Due to delicate immune systems, doctors suggest that parents keep babies from chlorinated swimming pools or lakes until they are 6 months old. At a young age, they can master floating on their backs, which is a life-saving strategy.
Infant swimming has a lot of long-term benefits for the child’s well-being. Here are 7 of them.
- Swimming boosts brain power
Swimming improves the cognitive ability. The activity requires bilateral cross-patterning movements, and getting introduced to these at a young age helps your baby’s brain grow.
These movements build neurons throughout the brain. Down the road, exercising their cognitive abilities helps improve reading skills, language development, academic learning, memory, and spatial awareness.
Need more proof? A study of over 7000 children by the Griffith University in Australia concluded that swimming children were more advanced in mental and physical development than their non-swimming peers.
- Swimming enhances physical health
Who doesn’t want their children to grow as active, vigorous, and healthy as possible? Immersing your little one in the water is one great way to go.
Swimming is a gentle, low-impact exercise that’s perfect for expecting mothers, elderly, and infants. It works the whole body without putting a strain on fragile joints and connective tissues, promoting the development of the muscles and joints, lungs, heart, and brain.
Working and strengthening different muscle groups help improve your kid’s flexibility, balance, and posture, and boost their strength and stamina.
- Swimming develops coordination and motor skills
The movements required in swim class allow your baby to develop his/her motor skills, or the movements and actions of the muscles.
During infant swimming, your baby moves their arms while kicking their legs, which means their brain is registering the tactile sensation of water and its resistance. Your baby’s ability to maintain balance is also vastly improved.
- Swimming promotes safety
Drowning is the leading cause of death among children and toddlers, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Swim lessons, which give small children important life-saving skills, aim to combat the risk.
By introducing your child to swimming at a very young age, you can save your kid from such risk. Accidents can happen. If they inevitably fall into a pool unguarded or gets pulled into the deeper parts of the beach due to rip currents, their acquired skills can save them. Even youngest babies can be taught crucial safety skills, like floating on their backs.
- Swimming improves sleep and appetite
Extra exercise will help make your baby sleep more soundly. That’s a good news if you find it difficult to make your baby fall asleep (so you can sleep too). Another benefit is the gentle exercise can lead to better appetite.
- Swimming boosts confidence
Babies not only interact with parents and the instructor – they also interact with other babies. They learn to function in groups. Most infant classes include water play, songs, and skin-to-skin contact with parents and guardians.
The simple yet fun elements, plus the excitement of acquiring a new skill, help boost your baby’s self-esteem. Having your baby socialize with people during swim class helps introduce them to being around new authority figure and possible friends.
Two German studies found that children who had taken early swim lessons (from age of 2 months to 4 years) were better adapted to new situations and were more independent than non-swimmers. They also had more self-confidence, more comfortable in social situations, and had a stronger desire to succeed than their non-swimming peers.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Swimprint, a go-to shop for swimming enthusiasts, specializing in custom swim caps in the UK. While she’s fascinated in writing articles focused on sport fashion, health, and wellness, she swears to never give up pizza.