Swim lessons for toddlers is something that you should look into if you are thinking of enrolling your little one into these lessons. When your munchkin is just little and not able to walk, you might feel that taking him or her to the pool is not that a great idea. But, babies love playing in the water, splashing around, and paddling. Also, there are a lot of benefits of splashing around and just being in the water. If your little one loves being around water, then it is time to sign up for swimming lessons. But, you need to know that swim classes for babies and toddlers are not for teaching the babies how to swim, but, for both parents and kids to have fun together. There have been a few studies that support swimming for toddlers, and these studies suggest that when toddlers take these classes with parents, it reduces their risk of drowning. So, let us have a look at the benefits of having swim lessons for toddlers.
Benefits for swim lessons for infants and toddlers
Swimming lessons are a benefit for everyone young and old. So, it is also beneficial for infants and toddlers. Let us have a look at the list of benefits.
Swim time may reduce the risk of drowning
It is likely that swim time may reduce the risk of drowning in children above 4 years of age and it also may reduce the risk in children aged 1 to 4. But, there is no evidence supporting that. If you have a pool at home then early swimming lessons may be helpful. Very young babies can also be taught swimming skills. But, these babies should not be under 1 year of age.
Improved cognitive functioning
The bilateral cross pattern in movement uses both sides of your baby’s body and help your baby’s brain to grow. Cross patterning movements build neurons throughout and especially in the corpus callosum. This helps to develop communication, and feedback from one side of the brain to another which helps in improving reading skills, educational learning, and many other things.
Increases quality time parents and babies
Swimming time that involves a parent increases bonding between the baby and the parent. During a swimming session, it is just you and your baby focused on each other which involves one-to-one bonding with the parent.
Swimming may improve your child’s confidence level
The swimming activity involves water play, singing, and skin-to-skin contact with the parents. Children learn to follow their instructor and function in a group. Also, the fun of learning a new skill boosts your child’s confidence level. A study done in 2010 suggested that 4-year-old children who were taking swimming lessons were getting better adapted to the situation as compared to other baby’s.
Builds muscle strength
A swimming time helps promote the growth of muscles development and control in babies at a very young age. In little one’s swimming develops the muscles needed to hold their heads up, move their arms and legs and work in coordination with their bodies. Not only does the swim time offer muscle strength but also gives improvement internally by moving those joints and muscles.
During swimming, there is a lot of physical exertion and much more energy is needed to keep their bodies warm, which burns more calories in the children, which will increase their appetite after regular swimming time.
Improves sleeping pattern
As mentioned before swimming takes up a lot of energy, and your munchkin might also have to use extra energy to keep his or her body warm. So, it is quiet likely that your little one will feel sleepy immediately after a swimming session or you may have to make the bedtime earlier on the day of the swimming session.
Which is the best age to begin swim lessons for toddlers?
Swimming is definitely not a must-do for all the babies and toddlers and swimming is not a cup of tea for all the toddlers. For the toddlers who have been exposed to water and show eagerness and readiness to go inside the pool, the age is for 1 year and older children. Before it was for children who were 4 years and above. If you feel that your child is ready to go into a pool, discuss the topic with the child’s pediatrician and he or she will guide your where your child stands mentally and physically.
For infants under the age of 1
The American Association of Pediatrics is totally against taking your baby to the pool up till the age of 1. Because there is evidence of the baby drowning at that age. However, a parent-baby water class can be fun to look forward to which involves a little bit of paddling and splashing in the water body. But, you should be aware of the risks involved in that also.
For children aged 1 to 4
You can look for a parent-child aquatic program that strictly follows YMCA guidelines and has professionals and coaches trained in CPR. Never allow the child’s head to go below the water surface.
For kids 5 years and older
For the kids who are already used to being in the water, you can try programs that have classes both with and without parents. Make sure that the program involves safe pool behavior, you can consider classes that run for 30 minutes over an 8 to 10 week period. So, that your kid can master all the basic swimming skills and eventually move on to coordinating movements of both arms and legs.
What to look for while selecting swim classes?
Please keep in mind one thing that not even swimming classes or a good instructor can replace parental guidance. So, make sure that you are at arm’s length or along with the kid on the location, when the kid is learning to swim and be aware and on the lookout for signs of drowning.
When selecting a program or classes for swimming, here are a few tips to out for
- Make sure that the swimming instructor is properly trained not only in swimming, but also in CPR and first aid.
- Ask if the instructor is teaching for the first time or not, in that case, the instructor should be giving classes under a senior instructor for atleast 7 week period.
- Look for classes that focus on personal development, water sports, arm strokes, and overall growth of children.
Signs of drowning for toddlers
The AAP has specific guidelines to look out for the signs of drowning in toddlers. But, you should also lookout for the following signs.
- Gasping or hyperventilating for air
- Eyes are empty or closed
- The mouth is at the water level and head is low.
- Trying to swim
- Head is tilted back and mouth is open.
Safety tips to look for in swim lessons for toddlers
Newborns and infants should never be left alone around the water bodies. Infants can drown even in 1 inch of water. For children under 4 years of age, it is best to follow touch supervision, i.e. an adult should be close enough to touch the child at all times when in the pool. Here are some other tips that you should follow.
- For infants be careful around small water bodies like bathtubs, ponds, fountains, and even watering cans.
- Your child should always be supervised by an adult while swimming.
- Some safety rules should be strictly enforced like no running or pushing each other around swimming pools or pushing anyone under the water.
- Use a lifejacket in a boat, and do not use inflatable toys and mattresses instead of life jacket.
- Don’t drink alcohol, talk on the phone, or work on the laptop, while your kids are in the swimming pool.
So, here are some of the tips that you should follow while choosing swim lessons for toddlers. If you know of something else, then do let us know in the comments section below.