How early should children Learn To Swim?
One of the best things a parent can do to keep their child safer around water is to make sure they start Learn to Swim classes as soon as possible. Summer is fast approaching, so if your child is not yet in swimming lessons, it is a great time to start. But when is the right time to start, and how old should the child be?
Swim Australia recommends starting lessons from 6 months, but you can and should practice early water familiarisation before this, before they acquire a fear of the water, so they can start to accept and enjoy the water early in life. Make sure your baby has regular baths and showers, and becomes comfortable with the sensation of water being trickled and then poured over their head. Your 6 month old will then accept the water more readily, and with much less fear, than a child who has not had this exposure.
Even though safety was always my main motivation to get my children into lessons early, I have since learned that there are many other benefits for babies, including the development of gross motor skills and improved strength, co-ordination and balance. Your baby is supported by the water (and the parent in the water) and less restricted by gravity, giving them the freedom to move in whichever direction they please, something young infants seem to enjoy very much judging by their smiles in lessons!
Warm water combined with gentle exercise will relax your baby and stimulate their appetite, with many parents reporting that their babies usually eat and sleep better after swimming (we have all seen the Facebook photos of baby asleep halfway through lunch after a swimming lesson!) Additionally, the uninterrupted quality time whilst swimming facilitates an even deeper bond between parent and child, and as swimming becomes a natural part of your child’s weekly routine, a healthy exercise habit is created while learning a skill for life!