When your baby isn’t old enough to walk, it may seem silly to take them to the pool. But there can be so many benefits to splashing around and gliding through the water. Being in the water engages your baby’s body in a completely unique way, creating billions of new neurons as your baby kicks, glides, and smacks at the water. Here are some benefits of baby swimming you should know.
Benefits of Baby Swimming
1. Swimming may improve cognitive functioning
Bilateral cross-patterning movements, which use both sides of the body to carry out an action, help your baby’s brain grow.
Cross-patterning movements build neurons throughout the brain, but especially in the corpus callosum. This facilitates communication, feedback, and modulation from one side of the brain to another. Down the road, this may improve reading skills, language development, academic learning, and spatial awareness.
When swimming, your baby moves their arms while kicking their legs. And they’re doing these actions in water, which means their brain is registering the tactile sensation of water plus its resistance. Swimming is also a unique social experience, which furthers its brain-boosting power.
2. Swim time may reduce the risk of drowning
Swim time may reduce the risk of drowning in children over 4 years old. Swimming may reduce the risk in children ages 1 to 4, but the evidence isn’t strong enough to say for sure.
It’s important to note that swim time doesn’t reduce the risk of drowning in children under 1.
Even the youngest babies can be taught swimming skills, like floating on their backs. But for infants under 1-year-old, this doesn’t keep them safer from drowning.
Even if your child has had swim lessons, they should still be supervised at all times while in the water.
3. Swimming is a complete physical workout
This in turn assists the development of the heart, lungs, and muscles of your baby. The physical activity that swimming offers stimulates the appetite of the baby, which in turn promotes food digestion and boosts the immune system. The myriad of activities, faces, free movement, splashing, and noise (laughing/songs) stimulates the baby’s brain which in turn assists in the sight, hearing, touch, balance, and coordination development of the baby.
The freedom that water provides allows a baby to exercise more muscles than they could possibly expect to use when on land. We know that movement is crucial for development, so the expanded opportunity for movement available in an aquatic environment affords a further opportunity for infant brain development.
4. Swimming helps with sleep
One reason parents love to have their baby in swim lessons is for the deeper and longer sleep that invariably follows a swim session. Regular swimming aids in the development of sleep patterns.
Even though the class may appear gentle and relaxing, the baby very often exerts themselves to an extent that they are exhausted by the end of the half-hour!
5. Swimming is a family activity
Whether this means signing up our child later in life to organized swimming and pursuing the competitive swimmer lifestyle, or just spending quality time as a family down at the beach, being in the water is an activity for life.
Swimming is something that children can enjoy now and into their later years, and it is something that the whole family can do as part of an active lifestyle.
6. Swimming may improve confidence
Most infant classes include elements like water play, songs, and skin-to-skin contact with parents or caregivers. Children interact with one another and the instructor and begin to learn to function in groups. These elements, plus the fun of learning a new skill, may boost your baby’s self-esteem.
7. It helps improve appetite
One of the benefits of baby swimming is to help improve appetite. There’s nothing like a day in the pool or at the beach to make you leave hungry, and babies are no different. All of that physical exertion in the water, as well as the energy it takes their little bodies to stay warm, burns a lot of calories. You’ll probably notice an increase in your baby’s appetite after regular swimming time.
In conclusion, although the idea of putting your baby into water might feel a little scary, there is a wide range of benefits to getting your infant into the water.