As parents, we want to introduce our little ones to the joys and benefits of swimming early on. But one of the main questions we ask ourselves is “When is it best to start baby swimming lessons?”
Naturally, the answer varies for every child. But this blog post is going to help you determine when might be the best time to introduce your baby to the water to make sure that it’s a safe and enjoyable experience for you and your little water explorer.
- When can babies go swimming for the first time?
- Is it good for babies to swim?
- What happens at baby swimming lessons?
- How do I keep my baby safe in the water?
- What if my child doesn’t like it?
When should I start my baby’s swimming lessons?
The answer for this largely comes down to your preference as a parent, but there’s no strict rule for the minimum age of a baby’s first swim.
In fact, newborns have a natural affinity for water and can begin their swim journey fairly soon.
Having said that, there are some nuances to understand before introducing your baby to swimming.
Baby swimming lessons: Sooner or later?
Baby swimming lessons are a popular way to introduce infants to water in a controlled and supportive environment, and are typically recommended from around 3 months old and beyond.
However, as we mentioned, this age isn’t set in stone and hinges on when both you and your baby feel ready. Either way, the goal is to foster a positive and enjoyable experience, so rushing into lessons before your baby is ready might lead to anxiety, discomfort, or aversion to water rather than helping them become a confident swimmer.
Prioritise water confidence and safety
This positive, enjoyable experience starts and ends with water confidence. Just like any other skill, building water confidence takes time and patience, but this is where baby swimming lessons really shine.
Designed to help them get used to the water, baby swimming lessons focus on fun activities that help babies develop a positive relationship with the water. From gentle splashing to floating, these encourage a sense of familiarity and ease in the swimming pool.
Swim schools also tend to incorporate water safety education into their curriculum, equipping babies and parents with basic water safety knowledge.
In the end, introducing your baby to swimming is a personal choice influenced by your baby’s temperament, your level of comfort, and the guidance of expert swim tutors.
Is it good for babies to swim?
Introducing your little one to the world of water isn’t just about making great memories, it’s also a step towards nurturing a range of lasting developmental benefits.
Baby swimming lessons, therefore, can be much more than just a leisure activity, it can lay the foundation for a host of physical, mental, and emotional advantages that will shape their growth for the better.
The foundations of physical development
From the first tentative splashes to those final confident strokes, the physical activity of your baby’s swimming journey plays a pivotal role in their development.
As they kick, paddle, and float their way through the water, their coordination and motor skills improve. Whereas the gentle resistance of water strengthens their muscles in a low-impact environment, promoting balanced growth and minimal strain on delicate joints.
Ripple effects on mental health
Then there are the positive impacts on other aspects of their wellbeing, including sleep patterns and appetite. The calming nature of water, combined with the physical exertion of swimming, can lead to more restful sleep – benefitting both parents and children alike.
Baby swimming is a social journey, too, where interacting with other babies and caregivers during a swimming class helps to foster social skills from an early age.
Gearing up for success
When it comes to successful baby swimming lessons, having the right gear can make all the difference.
Essentials like swimming costumes and swim nappies are designed to ensure comfort and convenience, whereas floats and arm bands provide support as your baby gets their water legs, encouraging them to explore with confidence.
What if my child doesn’t like swimming lessons?
If it turns out your child doesn’t immediately take to their swimming lessons, don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable for the both of you, whilst helping them learn to view swimming differently.
Begin at home
Before getting your child back in the swimming pool, let them get more comfortable with the water at home. Bath time is the best opportunity for this, and can help them get used to the experience of being under water in a more natural environment than a public pool or leisure centre.
Let them watch others
If your child seems afraid or unsure, let them watch you or others their age enjoy the pool. This will help them see swimming as a fun activity rather than a lesson or hurdle to overcome.
Remember to keep it fun
Try to avoid swimming lessons becoming a source of stress or worry for your child. Rewards, goals, and activities help keep swimming exciting, and can be a great motivator to help them learn – even without them realising. A variety of toys like pool noodles also make swim time more engaging for them.
Don’t force it
If you’ve tried everything to encourage your little one to enjoy swimming and nothing seems to stick, it’s probably best to let it go for the time being. It may not be the time or place where they’re ready to embrace the water just yet, but it’s entirely possible that they will be after some time has passed.
Expert baby swimming lessons in Edinburgh and Glasgow
So, now you know all there is to know about the best time to get your little one swimming.
Our professional tutors, led by Scottish Olympic silver medalist Michael Jamieson, offer comprehensive, small classes for babies in venues across Scotland. Get in touch today to book your baby swimming session.