Baby & Toddler Swimming…What’s it all about? What are the benefits? With Spring on the way there is no better time to start your swimming journey with your little one and there are countless benefits to getting your little one 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, drowning is the third-biggest cause of accidental death among children under 5 in the UK. 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 confidence². 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 easily¹ 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 intelligence² 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).
There are so many activities out there to choose from for your little ones, it can be hard to decide which to go for and to juggle the finances to make the most of that precious time with your child. At Water Babies we have now introduced part payment options which allow you to spread the cost of your lessons across 3 monthly instalments rather than having to pay the full fee upfront. 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.
Hull mum Pauline has been helping Mumbler recently with keeping the website up to date and trying some new activities. She’s been taking her daughter to Water Babies for the past 18 months so has written a short review about how she’s found the classes. She started at the Willerby Total Fitness sessions and now goes to the Winifred Holtby Hull sessions:
I started taking my little girl to Water Babies when she was 15 weeks old (I know parents who have taken younger babies) and we just absolutely love it. Its become one of our favourite activities! There have been a few frustrations (teaching a baby how to swim is not easy) but we have found the whole experience so rewarding and my daughters confidence in the pool is just incredible.
The teacher is just amazing and obviously well trained. She really shows patience in demonstrating what’s being taught and our new techniques, and what to do to stay safe in the water. The sessions, while only 30 minutes long, are packed with essential techniques and by the end of it I need a nap! The tunes, which as parents we have to sing along with our little ones, are just so catchy.
Overall I would highly recommend Water Babies to anyone. The staff are amazing and incredibly helpful. It’s a wonderful source of socialising while simultaneously an independent activity for me and my daughter. It’s a confidence booster and a great form of regular exercise for all.