Why your baby needs a swimming class

June 03, 2019 | by Mary Bielawski

Parents want the best for their babies, guiding them through each developmental milestone — whether it’s rolling over, sitting up, crawling or walking.

One thing that every parent should add to that list is getting baby comfortable with water.

If your baby already loves taking her bath, then you’re already at a good place! But if your baby doesn’t like water that much, all the more reason to help him or her get comfortable with water and swimming.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released updated recommendations to prevent drowning in children, including the fact that research finds swimming lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1 and may lower drowning rates.

Experts with the AAP recommend families ask their pediatrician whether their child is developmentally ready for swimming lessons.

You can teach your baby or toddler to love the water, but remember that he or she needs an adult present at all times to prevent drowning. Specifically, the AAP recommends babies or toddlers in or around water have a supervising adult with swimming skills within an arm’s length, providing constant “touch supervision.”

Enrolling your baby in a swim class has many benefits that will transfer over into childhood. Here are some ways that taking a swim class can help benefit your baby:

  • It helps your baby get comfortable in the water. Instructors keep baby engaged by guided play while maintaining a safe environment. Baby will sing songs and play with toys, all in the comfort and safety of mother’s or father’s arms. Once baby learns how fun the water is and feels safe, then the instructor can assess when it’s time to progress to submersion. This process creates a healthy outlook on swimming.
  • It can help your baby develop social skills. Not only is baby interacting with you and the instructor, but he/she will be in a class with other babies around the same age. Swimming side-by-side, singing songs, sharing toys and taking turns all help develop baby’s social skills.
  • It’s great exercise for your baby. It builds baby’s muscles and gets his/her joints moving. Baby can stretch his/her arms and legs by kicking and splashing. And besides, a simple half hour class is (hopefully) bound to get him/her to take a really good nap or get a good night’s rest.
  • It provides one-on-one time with mommy or daddy. Babies are a lot of work! And throughout the hustle and bustle of everyday routines (laundry, cleaning, cooking, work, the list goes on and on), sometimes it can be hard to get in some fun “play time” with baby, especially in between diaper changes and feedings. Taking a swimming class with baby gives you that special time to bond with your little one without any distractions. It’s just you, your baby and the water.

Introduce your child to the water or develop his or her swim strokes by signing up for a swim class at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness at Seven Bridges (Woodridge). We offer classes for ages 6 months and up.

Related blogs:

Think water for your workouts
How to keep your kids safe in the water

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