5 Benefits of Infant Swim Classes

baby in pool
image via Mindi Stavish

The winter months are rolling in and you may be thinking, swimming lessons? But, this is actually a great time to find a local YMCA or indoor heated pool and work on lessons with your little ones before the busy nature of the warmer months hit – there are more benefits than you realize.

My driving motivation to learn how to swim was my children.  As they start learning how to swim, it would be irresponsible of me to not be able to swim.

As a child, I had swimming lessons at school that were what can only be described as miserable.  The teacher was a mean, old lady and her teaching techniques were awful.  I quickly became petrified of the water and never learned how to swim.  Last winter, I finally conquered my life long fear of the water by taking adult swimming classes.  My driving motivation to learn how to swim was my children.  As they start learning how to swim, it would be irresponsible of me to not be able to swim.  If they ever get in to trouble in the water I want to be able to help them.  Beyond the safety aspect of learning how to swim, I want to be able to enjoy swimming with my children.    

 Since I had such horrible childhood experiences with swimming classes, it is important to me that my boys have positive experiences in the water from early on.  When my first born was just 6 months old we signed up him for a baby and mommy/daddy swim class.  He enjoyed splashing in the water and we loved the bonding time with him.  

There are many benefits to getting in the water for infant swim classes with your child:

Image Flickr/Brisbane City Council
Image Flickr/Brisbane City Council

 1.  The Griffith Institute for Educational Research took a survey that involved 7,000 parents with children under the age of five.   The study showed that children who learn how to swim  reach several developmental milestones earlier than the norm.  

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Image via Flickr/North Charleston
Image via Flickr/North Charleston

2.  In terms of academics, a different study carried out the The Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Kids Alive Swim Program and Swim Australia intensively tested 180  three to five-year-olds involved in swimming classes.  The study followed the children for three years.  The final results showed that the children scored drastically better in visual-motor skills such as cutting paper, coloring, drawing lines and shapes, and math concepts.  Additionally, their language skills and literacy knowledge were better. 

Image via Flickr/GraceFamily
Image via Flickr/GraceFamily

3.  A a case-controlled study by Ruth Brenner and her colleagues revealed that participation in swimming lessons can reduce a child's risk of drowning by 88%  in children aged one to four years.  

The younger a child can begin swimming lessons with a parent, the sooner they will be able to build a solid foundation of water safety and floating skills.  

Image via Flickr/Danoxster
Image via Flickr/Danoxster

4.   Swimming with your baby can deepen your emotional bond with him or her, since the water resistance stimulates tactile receptors.  Additionally, touch for a baby provides him or her with emotional nourishment and a feeling of connection.

Image via Flickr/Philms
Image via Flickr/Philms

5.  In a study by Dr. Liselott Diem and colleagues, children who participated in baby swim classes from 2 months to 4 years had more self confidence and independence  than children who did not attend swim lessons.  Additionally, they could adapt to new situations better.  During classes, a child has chance to observe and mimic other children in a social situation.   

Participating in parent and baby swim classes for me was a low key way to time to spend uninterrupted time with my baby.  I highly encourage any new parent to explore baby swim classes in your area.

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At what age have you thought about doing swimming lessons with your child? 

 

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5 Benefits of Infant Swim Classes

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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