Swimming is an incredible activity that can bring a world of benefits to babies, and is a great avenue for them to begin to explore their physical, emotional and social potential. Baby swimming lessons are a great way for parents to introduce their little ones to the wonderful world of water in a safe and supported setting. But when should you start? And what should you look for in a swim school?
This article will explore the benefits of baby swimming lessons, cover when is the right age to start, and address what parents should look for when choosing a swim school.
The Benefits of Baby Swimming Lessons
Baby swimming lessons can be a great way to help your little one develop confidence in the water while also having fun and learning important safety skills. And the added benefit is that at swimming schools like Just Swimming Melbourne, lessons can be an activity you enjoy together as a family.
Strengthening Muscles & Improving Coordination
When your child attends baby swimming lessons, they have the opportunity to move in ways that aren’t possible when they’re on the floor at home. Moving in water allows them to strengthen muscles, while benefiting from the buoyancy that water provides. They are able to improve coordination and balance, as well as develop their gross motor skills through kicking or paddling with their arms or legs in the water. Babies can even learn to float on their backs (with support), which will come in handy as they further develop their swimming over the years, and progress to learning survival swimming strokes.
Safety-wise, there are advantages associated with your child taking part in baby swimming classes from an early age. The repetition of only entering the pool with a guardian is helpful in teaching children they should never enter a pool alone. Whilst babies may be too young to understand why, they will hopefully develop the habit of only going near water whilst under supervision.
As they grow older, swimming lessons expose children to a number of pool safety rules, such as not running near the pool, not going to a body of water without adult supervision, not going into deep waters unless accompanied by someone who knows how to swim properly, and not diving head first into shallow waters.
Building Self Confidence Through Mastering New Skills
Not only do babies get the benefit of physical exercise, but there are also social and emotional gains associated with participating in regular baby swim classes. You will find your baby spends plenty of time interacting with the other babies in the class. You will also find that participating in swimming lessons with your baby strengthens your bond with them. As they grow older, your child will likely make friends with their peers, and this can help them develop social confidence.
When is the Right Age to Start?
This is a funny one. Different organisations across the globe recommend different ages to start swimming, as per various research. There is no real consensus on when the best age is. In Australia, 4 years of age is generally recommended.
Despite these variations, there’s general consensus that early baby swimming classes are helpful for a baby’s development, and if conducted correctly, do no harm.
At Just Swimming we’re proud to offer our free Baby Starfish programme with infant swimming lessons for babies 4-6 months of age, our Babies programme is for little ones from 6 months of age.
According to Royal Life Saving Australia, the best time to start your child at swimming lessons is 4 years old, when they are developmentally ready to master water confidence and basic aquatic locomotive skills. However, this doesn’t mean your child can’t start earlier – you can in fact start your child from 3 months of age onwards! Whilst your baby will not learn to actually swim independently at a baby swimming lesson, they will likely benefit greatly from becoming more comfortable in the water, learning to put their face under the water, and gaining the physical benefits of movement in water. So in short, whilst the recommended age is 4, there‘s no suggestion by Royal Life Saving Australia that it is detrimental for your child to start earlier.
Factors to Consider Before Starting Swim Lessons
Swimming lessons for babies are a great way to introduce them to the water and help build their confidence. With so many options available, it’s important to consider what type of baby swimming lesson is best suited for your little one.
Before enrolling little ones into a structured program, you need to ensure your child is physically ready. As baby swimming lessons take place with a parent or guardian supporting the babies, there’s no need for your child to be able to float independently. However, many parents prefer to wait until their baby has had their two-month immunisations. Also, for new mothers who will be attending baby swim lessons with their child, it’s important to wait until you have healed from birth before going to a public pool. The 6-week mark is usually ok, but if your healing is taking longer, hold off until you’re ready. There’s no rush after all!
As far as babies are concerned, it’s likely that they will have positive feelings when attending baby swimming classes with their parents. However if your child shows distress that doesn’t go away, you may want to wait a bit longer before trying again. We can’t know what’s going on in a baby’s mind, after all, so there’s no point in pushing them.
If your child is starting lessons when they are a little older, it’s important they are able to feel relaxed and confident at the pool. Again, If they appear distressed by being in the water, don’t push it. Consider taking more time before starting lessons, or alternatively, speak with the swim teaching staff to see if they can offer any advice and support that might help.
Proximity of the Swimming School
Lastly, the proximity of a swimming school to where you live is important. Travelling large distances can be difficult and impractical, especially for families with multiple small kids in tow. So finding a swimming school that’s in a convenient location is important.
What to Expect in Baby Swim Lessons
Teaching methods vary depending on the instructor’s chosen approach, but generally speaking, baby swimming lessons involve a combination of fun games, songs and movements designed to stimulate the senses, encourage exploration of movement patterns, and familiarise babies with their surrounding environment. Parents play a key role here, by providing constant reassurance and encouragement.
Choosing the Right Swim School
When selecting an appropriate school, parents are advised to consider a range of criteria, including qualifications of staff members, teaching style, facilities offered and cost structure. Flexibility in payment options and customer service feedback reviews from previous clients should also be taken into account, as well as the overall reputation of the establishment itself. It’s also well worth asking friends or parent groups for recommendations.
Questions to ask include: How long has it been operating? Are qualified professionals in charge? Does it provide individualised attention tailored to students’ needs? Is there a possibility for a trial lesson prior to committing full course fees?
It’s important that you take your time when choosing a swim school – after all, you want your child’s experience to be positive. Researching thoroughly will help ensure that you make an informed choice that best suits both your and your child’s needs.
In summary, taking part in regular infant and toddler aquatics sessions offers a wide variety of developmental, social, emotional and health related advantages. There is no definitive age to take your child to the pool for lessons, however there is certainly no evidence to suggest that starting early is detrimental. In fact, early swimming lessons are purported to be beneficial to your child’s health and development, as well as to the bond you are creating with your child.
Just Swimming is proud to offer the best swimming lessons for children. Our staff are dedicated to providing outstanding swim classes, and take the time to assist with the swimming progress of each individual child. Why not start your child’s swimming journey with us?