Most of us think that babies are immovable, fragile, and weak – always needing protection all the time. This is really true but have you ever thought that these little ones can be expert swimmers? In fact, a newborn infant would have already been swimming for almost seven months in his or her mother’s womb. This means that every newborn is already an expert swimmer! So what does this imply?
Today, we will discuss about the benefits of swimming for your baby. We will also provide some tips and ways for you to teach your baby to swim, in addition to precautionary measures that you must take into consideration.
The Benefits of Baby Swimming
Studies have shown that every newborn is a trained swimmer with 7 months of practice inside the mother’s womb. With a bit of training, he can learn quickly to swim in the pool as well. While the baby was inside the womb, he was just swimming and exploring without a purpose. But in the real world, swimming will be a fundamental survival tool. This could even save his life in the future when threatened with potential danger.
Babies already have the ability to swim well before they can crawl, creep, or walk! Newborns are familiar with the feel of fluid but not the floor. When you give your baby an opportunity for a little practice, he or she can learn to swim in the pool without any assistance. On the contrary, babies will eventually lose their swimming abilities if they are not trained consistently.
We all know that swimming has wonderful health benefits. Let’s have a look about the scientifically documented benefits of swimming from early childhood.
1. First of all, it is the best way to learn water safety. According to the report by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury or death, worldwide. Drowning can occur under various circumstances but apparently, the major cause of it is the inability to swim.
2. Other than the health benefits of swimming, your baby will develop a keen interest in sports. Every stroke of a swim provides a complete workout for the muscles, lungs, heart, and most importantly, the brain. Swimming appears to be the least stressful exercise compared to other types that can yield similar benefits to the body. For babies and toddlers, a study clearly indicates that body posture and balance abilities can be improved through swimming.
3. Swimming also has emotional and social benefits. Your baby will have a boost of confidence and self-esteem while he or she explores the watery environment. So, it can empower babies since it offers them a new sense of freedom. Babies and young ones begin to look forward to interacting with each other. They also learn from their peers by observing and mimicking them while enjoying their company.
Tips and Techniques in Teaching Your Baby How to Swim
Babies up to nine months love to splash and wriggle in the water, showing the rapid whole body undulation of the dolphin or frog like reflex kick. Between six and 12 months the reflex kick fades away and is replaced by gliding for a while, and then, a learned kick is acquired later.
In this section, we provide you some tips and techniques that can be useful in teaching your baby how to swim:
1. Check the temperature of the pool you’re diving in. It needs to be at least 30 °C for a baby older than 12 weeks and above 32 °C if he is younger or smaller.
2. Get some disposable swimming nappies for your baby. These are designed so that if babies get wet, they won’t expand to soak up the liquid like a regular nappy. You can also get some swimming nappy covers or buy neoprene wetsuit-style swimsuits.
3. Make your baby comfortable underwater. Your goal is to make the whole experience fun for your little one, no matter what. Try counting one to three and blow into your baby’s face. You’ll see that they instinctively hold their breath and make a funny face. When that time comes, quickly dunk them and bring them back up. Wipe their face, laugh at him and commend him. Repeat this in a couple of rounds, along with some floating toys and they will eventually get comfortable underwater.
4. To teach kicking, float your baby on their back with their head resting on your shoulder and manipulate their legs in a kicking motion as you walk backwards.
5. To teach arm strokes, support them in a belly float and move them through the water with an appealing toy just out of reach.
6. For more professional advice, consult with a reliable, professional swimming trainer for babies and kids.
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – Parents and child care providers should learn how to perform CPR for emergency purposes.
- Supervise – Never leave your babies or young children unsupervised near a pool, hot tub, or natural body of water.
- Avoid alcohol – Don’t drink alcohol when swimming.
- Don’t use aggressive swimming programs for your baby – These programs use pressure and coercion to achieve rigid goals. You must use a child-centered approach while teaching your baby on how to swim.
When teaching your baby how to swim, you are also enjoying a great experience to build trust, share joy, communicate by touch and words, and bond with your little one. Baby swimming is a unique method and opportunity to develop and put good teaching practices in action. Just enjoy the moment and see your baby’s developmental growth!
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