If you’re a bit hesitant to bring your baby to the swimming pool then you might not know of all the benefits that it can bring. Jumping in the pool with your little one is not only a fun experience that encourages motor development – it has many other benefits that makes going to the swimming pool with your youngster a must do!
Eva and I have been taking a baby swimming class. It wasn’t really something that I had planned on doing though I had often considered it. I know it’s a very popular activity for moms on maternity leave and their babies, but baby swimming is so popular in Copenhagen that many places have you waiting by the computer to click the apply button at the exact second they release the tickets like it’s some kind of boyband reunion concert, and that had initially put me off the idea.
However, after much consideration I decided to give baby swimming a go anyway, and I’m so glad I did. Eva absolutely loves it. Like really, really loves it. But the pure excitement Eva and her fellow swimmers show in the water is actually not the only reason I think baby swimming is such a great investment. As it turns out going to the pool with your little bunddle of joy can have many other benefits aswell.
7 benefits of going swimming with your baby
Other than swimming being a wonderful experience for both you and your baby, going to the pool and taking swim lessons actually have several other benefits for your little one.
It stimulates all the senses and improves cognitive skills. Going to the pool means new and different noises, sights and smells as well as the stimulating touch from the water and air – and of course the taste of the water (but you know, try to avoid your baby drinking the it). And then there’s so much going on when in the water: the bouncing around, the cross lateral moves when reaching for toys and the kicking and splashing with her little arms and legs. All of this offers the stimulation that growing brains love and if done regurarly in the early years one study has shown that little swimmers statistically are more advanced both pysical and mental development compared to their non-swimming peers. Not bad.
It forces you, the parent, to be in the moment. If you are anything like me, then taking your time to slow down and really being in the moment rather than two hours ahead, can be quite the challenge. But with a regular baby swimming class once a week I’m being forced to take a break from chores and all the things that needs doing. It makes me hit the brakes and just enjoy being with my little bunddle of energy. Even though I don’t like admitting it, it can sometimes be a challenge in everyday life.
It promotes motor skills and builds strength. When your baby is in the water she can move more freely than on ground. There are no cloths, no diaper and no floor that restricts and she get to feel like she’s right back in vomb. This can help your little one improve her motor skills and better balance, movement and grasping skills are just some of the benefits that seem to persist years later.
It boosts self-confidence. Even though you might not be worrying too much about your baby’s self-confidence just yet, some studies (like this one) have shown that babies and young children that have taken swim lessons become better at adapting to new situations, are more independent swimmers and in general become more self-confident.
It teaches water safety and helps prevent fear of water. By taking your baby to the pool you’re helping them get familiar and more comfortable with being in the water. Helping your baby learn to float, grasp at the edge, turn in the water and dive, will teach her skills that might make her less prone to panic if an accident should occur and reducing the chance of drowning.
It’s a great bonding experience for you and your baby. Baby swimming is great for skin-to-skin contact with your little one as you are holding her close moving around in the warm water. But even getting ready to get in the water and going home afterwards is a chance for some extra closeness when you pamper your little one. If you have more than one child, this can be the perfect opportunity to get some alone time with your baby – which I think most parents of siblings can relate to.
You get a chance of some you-time afterwards. Being in the water will make your baby both hungry and tired from moving around and taking everything in. In my experience this will give you one well-stimulated baby that will need to take a long nap afterwards to process all of the different impressions. This could be the perfect opportunity for you to get some time for yourself… or the laundry…
All in all there’s a lot to gain by bringing your little one to the pool. I’m so glad I decided to bring Eva – and watching her thrive in the water is such a pleasure. I will however admit that it took a few times before we had getting ready to go in the pool and finishing up afterwards down.
Going to the pool alone with Eva was a bit overwhelming at first. If that’s a concern of yours or you just don’t feel completely confident that it can be a fun experience, then you should go check out my step-by-step guide for going to the pool with your baby. It adresses some of the many questions I had before going to the pool with Eva for the first time, like what does she need to wear? Where do I put her while I change? How do I know if she doesn’t like being in the water? And if you need a bit of extra tips and tricks for making going to the pool a fun and successful experience from the start, check out these 10 tips for making baby swimming a succes.
Letting your little one enjoy and develop themselves in the water is a great present for the both of you.