When you bring your infant home from the hospital, you might be kept awake at night, thinking of how to best protect this precious new life. And, as most parents know, keeping children safe includes teaching them to swim (especially in Arizona, where pools are so prevalent). But you might wonder if your bundle of joy needs baby swimming lessons, or if learning to swim can wait until they get older. The truth is, the earlier you can get your baby swimming, the better (even starting with newborn swimming lessons). Here’s why;
1. Comfort in the Water
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to start infant swim lessons is the way it builds a level of comfort around water for the child. The sooner your tot is exposed to water, the sooner they will respect and enjoy it. A heightened appreciation of water (and how their bodies feel in water) will increase pool safety and help your baby understand safety-related boundaries from an early age. Having this type of understanding and a level of comfort in water can make bath time more fun for both of you, and make for less worry when taking them to water, whether heading to the beach or a splash pad.
It’s always important to note that even though increased safety and comfort in water are positive parts of your baby’s development through lessons, you must always watch your child around water. No amount of swimming lessons for babies can replace the need for constant adult supervision. Swim lessons will, however, keep your baby safer and help prepare them to enjoy swimming with a parent or caregiver.
2. Sensory Development
Neuroscience research is showing more and more that the human brain develops at an astounding rate between birth and three years of age. But the first year is particularly crucial to nurturing your child’s cognition. In fact, research has found that a baby’s brain doubles in size in the first year of life. And one of the best ways to nourish neurons and encourage brain development is by stimulating the senses.
As you may have guessed, swimming lessons for babies can do just that. The experiences of interacting with the water, being exposed to new movements, seeing a wide variety of new objects and observing new people all get neuron’s firing. The novelty and sensory differences between each of these elements greatly contribute to sensory development.
3. Parent and Baby Bonding
Research also shows that a key indicator of a child’s healthy social, emotional, intellectual and physical development is the presence of a secure attachment with their primary caregiver. This could be mom, dad, a grandparent or a nanny, as long as the baby has one person who is a central figure in their early life. This type of secure attachment is formed whenever you talk, play or laugh with your little one. It’s also fostered by skin on skin contact, which is a unique aspect of swim lessons. Babies will spend much of their time in class being held in their parents’ arms, allowing for lavish skin on skin contact.
Infant swim lessons offer a great opportunity to connect and play together. They provide the chance for you to be a source of comfort to your baby as they explore a new environment, and for the two of you to make eye contact and have fun. This sort of consistent activity can go a long way in solidifying your bond with your little one. Your baby will also begin to recognize that you need to be with them before they may go in the water, which is very helpful in increasing pool safety.
4. Body and Spatial Awareness
Baby swimming lessons help an infant to learn more about how their body moves, and to be aware of the space around them. This awareness is very important in the development of fine and gross motor skills. As you begin to attend newborn swimming lessons regularly, you will notice your young one’s exploration of how their actions affect the water. Being in the water allows for 360-degree feedback of the body movements, so it gives children a way to feel (and see) the cause and effect of motion.
Swimming lessons for babies can be instrumental in their growth and development, and the earlier you begin them, the better results you’ll have. So if you’re still on the (pool) fence about whether it’s time to begin, we assure you… today is the day to jump into baby swimming lessons with your little love. Contact us to learn more about Hubbard Swim School.