Many parents choose to wait to start their baby’s aquatic education until over the age of 1. There is a huge misconception that babies won’t learn anything until they are a little older. This could not be further from the truth.
In 2018 drowning causing death in children aged 0-4 years decreased by 36% against the 10 year average. Although these statistics are beginning to lower, drowning is still the number 1 leading cause of accidental death in children aged 0-5 years. Last year within Australia there where 551 recorded non-fatal drownings, many of these non-fatal drowning cause permanent long term effects. Aquatic education is so important in creating an additional barrier towards drowning prevention.
So, when should you start your baby swimming and why?
At 5 Star Swim Schools we understand that starting your baby as young as 3-4 months has a number of benefits to both the baby and the parent. Here are some reasons why we suggest starting babies so young.
The Central Coast lifestyle
Living on the central coast means the likely hood of your baby being exposed to water at a young age is very high. Teaching your baby to swim is an important factor in keeping your family safe. Not only will it help to keep your baby safe around water, but we will give you the tools to ensure that you understand how to help your baby enjoy the water!
Parent and Baby Bonding
The pool is a place free of distractions so you can focus solely on your baby. Research shows that a key aspect to a baby’s development is a secure attachment to their primary caregiver. Swimming lessons are a wonderful time for parents and their babies to spend together one on one. There is lots of skin to skin contact, this is a unique aspect of swimming lessons and can help to foster the bond between bub and caregiver. We have found that young babies tend to be more relaxed while they are in the water (They have just been surrounded by liquid for the first 9 months of their lives) making bonding time easier. Swimming lessons provide an opportunity for caregivers to be a source of comfort for their babies, helping to grow a stronger bond between the two.
Encourage babies’ heart, lung and muscle development and long term health benefits
Swimming lessons also has amazing effects on bubs health. Research shows that swimming lessons helps with the development of your babies’ heart, lungs and muscles. Swimming lessons can also help with the cognitive development of your baby. Swimming lessons will naturally foster your baby’s reflexes, which can help them to develop faster and more efficiently.
Long term health benefits can come in the form of a stronger immune system, stronger muscles and healthier lungs and heart. Studies show that children who start swimming lessons young also have better balance, coordination, grasping and catching skills.
Establish Healthy Habits
With obesity rates in Australia on the rise it is important to set your baby up with healthy habits early on in life. Swimming is a gentle, low impact sport that children and adults can enjoy for their whole life. Building a love and respect for the water from a young age is setting your child up for a successful aquatic education that can continue on throughout the entirety of their life.
Swimming is an activity the whole family can enjoy together for years to come.
Gentle exercise will help bub to sleep and eat better
Swimming is a gentle exercise that encourages the whole body to work. While enjoying their time learning in the water, your child is working up an appetite and using their excess energy in a very productive way. This can encourage bub to both eat and sleep better.
Emotional and Social Skills – Both parent and baby
Studies show that babies who start swimming lessons early can be up to 15 months ahead of their peers in maths, counting and language by the time they start school. Babies learn by repetition; our baby’s programs are all structured around this. We include activities such as colour sorting, counting and repetition of words, putting words to actions. Helping your baby to mentally develop quicker.
Develop a respect for the water
Starting swimming lessons so young can be daunting. 5 Star Swim Schools ensures that all babies will learn to swim in a gentle non-threatening environment. Your baby will never be forced under water or made to do anything you or bub are not comfortable with. Creating a calm, happy and caring environment is so important for us to help foster your baby’s love and respect for the water. Nothing brings our instructors more joy then seeing the baby’s and caregivers in their classes enjoying their time in the pool.
We know that swimming lessons can help to make bub happy. We will always encourage lots of positive feedback and reinforcement between caregiver and bub and instructor and baby. Praising your baby can help to release dopamine, meaning happier babies. Positive reinforcement can help to build bubs self-esteem, meaning all round happier healthier babies!
Swimming lessons are a great opportunity for you and your baby to socialise with other parents and babies. Getting some much needed time out of the house and spending time with other like minded individuals is great for mental health.
Babies Love It!
There is no doubt about it, babies love swimming lessons. They love to splash and learn and explore. As they grow older and start to understand you will see the joy in your child’s face when you tell them its time for swimming. Starting babies at a young age helps to develop their relationship with water.
Although there is absolutely no substitute for 100% supervision around water, swimming lessons are crucial in helping to created barriers between your child and the water. Teaching your children to swim young plays a vital part in their safety in and around water. Not only will swimming lessons teach bub how to be comfortable, relaxed and safe in the water but we will also teach them to sit and wait to be invited in and that children should never go swimming without an adult present!
Children who start later on average take longer to learn how to swim. Swimming is all about consistency, if you decided to start your baby young you are deciding to make a commitment to swimming lessons for at least the next few years of your child’s life. It is so important to stick with lessons because coming and going will only put your child’s progress on hold and will essentially undo all the hard work you have already put in.
This is Australia, we are an island nation. We are surrounded by water, in fact 2.7 million Australians live in a house with a pool. That’s one pool per 9 people! Learning to swim should be a priority in every household.