Benefits of Infant Swimming
Having a new baby demands a change in routine and lifestyle. Our daily schedules are continually becoming more ‘busy’ and when a baby sleeps any spare time we have we fill it with other jobs we can complete without being interrupted. Often we can lose focus of how important it is to spend quality time with our new arrival. Early stimulation has long term benefits.
Babies have been in the womb in fluid for 9 months and is a familiar environment to stimulate a comfortable feeling. This is a special time for you and your child, without interruption.
Children are not born with a fear of water. However the correct hold is important for the security of your child when in a swimming pool or even enjoying the aquatic experience in the bath!
So the earlier your child is exposed to water over the head (in the shower or bath) the earlier they learn to enjoy the water environment. Babies learn through exposure to new stimuli. So this is what makes attending infant swimming sessions at a specialised reputable swim school so rewarding for both mother and child.
We are born with over 120 reflexes some of which are stimulated in the water and become stored as a beneficial skill in future water activities or swimming sessions.
When holding your baby and moving through the water a movement pattern resembling a kick will automatically be seen. Swimming instructors love to take credit for teaching this skill however, the water is simply activating an innate skill. i.e. taking advantage of already formed patterns.
In an ideal swimming pool environment, a professional swimming instructor will utilize many activities that stimulate & develop these skills as well as enhanced development stages. i.e. babies watch (visually tracking) brightly coloured floating toys. Visual tracking is so important and must be stimulated to encourage hard wiring of the brain cells. Later used for reading and fine motor skill development.
Floating and moving through the water stimulate early propriceptive and vestibular senses. Simply put balance and movement. Again an area of importance for child development.
As swimming instructors, our whole philosophy depends on children and parent being in positive learning states. When babies are happy (even adults) their brain produces endorphins, which are also essential for self esteem and a healthy immune system. Laughter is the body’s opponent of stress.
Babies, who exercise when in the water, often are more resistant to common colds & flu’s. They often are tired after swimming and fall asleep after sessions.
It is important to note that infant aquatic classes are initially not learning to swim lessons. Babies will not learn to swim immediately, however will learn to be more relaxed in the water, enjoy the experience, all the developmental benefits & even the bonding experience with the primary care giver.
Water Safety & survival skills are introduced and repeated over time throughout the swimming sessions.
Swimming schools should pride themselves on giving parents the knowledge, skill and confidence to guide their infant through their swimming experience. To encourage parents to practice in the water and allow children to become more active on land & independent in the water.
Infants are amazing little creatures and constantly surprise us with what they are capable of performing in the water. As Pooh Bear would say “It just gets curiouser and couriouser.”