Teaching babies to swim turns out to be more than just fun, there's a lot benefits that comes along with it. According to the research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), baby swimmers have sensible balance and nice grasping skills than non-swimmers. This distinction persists even when they are five years old, those babies who have been taught to swim still exceed their peers.
Swimming and moving in the water enhances sensory input. The sound, colors, feel and temperature of the pool will flare up your little one's senses, and their reactions to being in water is something all parents should try to experience.
Babies need to develop their muscle strength to hold their heads up, move their arms and legs, and work their core in coordination with the rest of their body. Swimming will give them the freedom to move their hands, feet and head as they kick and play in the water. As your baby kicks around in the water, the small rocking waves he/she creates will also help improve their balance and coordination and, ultimately, support their ability to crawl, sit and walk.
Movement through the water has a positive effect on the digestive and circulatory systems. All of that physical exertion in the water, as well as the energy it takes their little bodies to stay warm, burns a lot of calories.
When can I take my baby swimming?
Infants can start swimming from birth. Babies are born with a remarkable ability to control their breathing in water and have a reflex reaction that moves their arms and legs in a swimming motion, called the Bradycardic response. This natural ability commonly disappears after about 6 months.
While your baby has these abilities, always remember that it will be a little while before they will be able to properly support their head to breathe out of the water and hold their breath intentionally.
- Be aware that babies can chill easily, so consider the temperature of the pool. They prefer warmer water, so you should find a pool heated to from 30°C to 32°C until your baby gets a little older.
- Keep in mind that each child is different and will be ready to swim on their own timeline.
- Always give your child your undivided attention. Children should be under parental supervision of any water activity at all times.
- Make sure you dress your baby up in a swim nappy to keep any accidents sealed in! Neoprene baby swimwear is also useful to keep everything in place.