Professional swimming lessons are not just great for introducing kids to the water, but a fun way to get them into sports and exercise. It’s a workout for the whole body, without any high-impact risks associated with other pastimes like running. If you get their muscles and cardio going right from childhood, they’ll be fighting fit come their teens!
It’s often a tough decision: when do you allow your child to start learning to swim? The Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) recommends formal swim lessons as early as 4 months. At Tanya’s Tadpoles, we start babies’ swimming lessons at 5 months old with a course that encourages fun and enjoyment with games and songs, and also give parents a helping hand in learning how to hold their baby and interact with them whilst in the water. It’s a great way to bond and connect with your child too!
Benefits of Learning to Swim at an Early Age
It’s not all fun and games – though there are plenty of these – there are many other benefits to beginning swimming lessons as a baby.
A four-year project, Early-Years Swimming: Adding Capital to Young Australians, led by Griffith University has discovered that children who swim show more advanced physical and cognitive skills than those who don’t. They show better visual-motor abilities, such as drawing lines and colouring in shapes. They also excel in following instructions, language, counting and solving mathematical problems. Indirectly, it could help them become better performers once they’re at school.
Letting your child take swimming lessons early also helps boost their confidence, and confidence is essential for safety in water. Many of the skills of swimming are directly attributable to confidence, whether in a small pool at home or right up to being in the open ocean. Instilling this confidence from such an early age is a great way to prevent any fear of water from creeping in throughout their childhood years.
So what will you see during your Baby’s Swimming Lessons?
We encourage strong bonding between parents and children in the water. It’s not just babies that need to build confidence, the parents do too! You will see your baby become more responsive to the water, and begin to react to their new environment by learning to paddle and kick without assistance. Your baby will also begin to learn floating skills without panicking, and to utilise the grasp reflex for hanging onto a parent’s shirt or the side of the pool. Your baby will also begin to understand and react to the verbal triggers we will teach them in preparation for the next stages of the training program.
It’s astonishing to watch a confident 10-month old baby holding onto the side of a pool, supporting their own head, and scuttling along the edge independently. With proper guidance and qualified instruction, this is very much achievable. You will also see your baby able to hold their own breath and submerge themselves when given a verbal trigger, and with increased breathing control, begin to be able to swim up to you from a short distance. This truly is an awesome sight! We do stress, though, that proper training and supervision is absolutely essential for getting to this stage, but it is well within your child’s capabilities to do so! By the end of this phase, your baby is developing independence, mastering both front and back floating, submergence, independent kicking, and being able to swim to a parent unaided.
During this stage you will see your baby’s confidence grow and grow and they will develop mastery of the skills they’ve learned previously. They will extend their independent swimming capabilities and master the art of monkey-crawling around the wall of the pool. They will also learn how to enter and exit the water on their own, and learn some assisted pick-ups of dive toys from the bottom. During this stage your baby will show noticeable improvements in swimming technique and sheer enjoyment of being able to navigate around the pool on their own. It really is a joy to watch!
We never tire of seeing a toddler become this confident in water, and see parents’ reactions at how quickly these new skills can develop. See for yourself and enrol your little one for Term 4, 2015!