Summer is here and the holiday season is often when your baby and toddler may learn a new skill. One of these is learning to swim and this can bring many benefits for your baby. It van be a slightly daunting experience for most parents trying it for the first time, though for the most part there is nothing to worry about, as infants can start swimming from birth. Be aware though that babies can chill easily, so consider the temperature of the pool.
Benefits of Baby Swimming
- Swimming is one of the best loved family activities. It is the largest participation sport in the UK and many children say it is their favourite family pastime.
- Swimming helps to improve coordination and balance. Because much of your baby’s body is supported by water, the main focus for them is on maintaining balance. On the whole, babies who swim have a much better balance out of the pool.
- Swimming helps to build muscles. Working and strengthening all of their muscles effectively helps to make them stronger.
- Swimming provides quality bonding time. We always have less time than we would like with our kids; it is an unfortunate effect of being so busy. Time in the pool is one of the few times when your child has your undivided attention for the duration, so make the most of it.
- Swimming strengthens your baby on the inside. While swimming will help to develop their muscles and joints, it also improves the strength of their heart and lungs, and helps to develop their brain.
- Swimming can improve their sleeping pattern. While it isn’t going to make them sleep through the night every night, the extra exercise will help to make your baby sleepier.
- Swimming can improve a baby’s appetite. Lots of gentle exercise and warm water helps to make a baby hungry, so make sure you have some sort of snack or milk for after they finish.
- Swimming builds water confidence. Many parents pass on an uneasiness of water to their children because they themselves are not confident swimmers. Going in the water with your baby will not only make them more assured about being in and around water, it can build your confidence too!
How to help your baby to learn to swim
- Make sure you baby feels safe – holding them, wear floaties, arm bands and use swimming aids
- Have fun when in the water and make a game of it
- With very young children keep it short
- Start using the right language and really encourage them to use their legs