Some parents are surprised to learn that we have children as young as three months of age taking swim lessons. They also question what can be achieved by starting so young. We would love to take a moment and share those benefits with you.
A child less than one year of age can learn to float on their back, which is an essential water safety skill. Back floating is a skill which does not require much strength of the muscles. It is important because it allows the child to rest and take as many breaths as needed to recuperate their energy before continuing to swim. This results in the child being able to swim a farther distance then if they didn’t practice back floating. We have children as young as two years old able to swim the length of our 25 yard lap pool and some participate in our swim competitions!
Typically, children who fall in a body of water usually panic, swallow water, and sink to the bottom. We teach our young students what it feels like to be underwater, how to hold their breath, and progress to back floating after being submerged under water. Even if your child cannot talk or swim to the side of the pool, when floating on their back they can communicate by crying, which in turn allows them more time to be rescued Not only are these skills important in water safety, but they create a foundation for learning proper swimming technique.
Before babies are born they spend nine months in water and babies under one year old more readily accept water. Everything is new to a baby so they have less potential for developing a fear of the water. Have you noticed how young children often wave their arms about? This is because they haven't learned a sense of space or boundaries. Although a child cannot feel their arms move through the air, when they are in water and the water touches against their skin it helps activate nerves in their body. Swim classes help increase coordination, balance and strength which can lead to an earlier acquisition of physical skills. Swimming also stimulates circulation throughout the body.
It is important to keep in mind that no matter what the swim level of your child is; a child is never completely water safe. Swim lessons, however, can make your child safer in and near the water. By starting young you can create a smoother introduction to learning, increase strength, physical and safety skills, and have lots of fun while doing so!
This post was originally published on 4/15/2014 and updated on 10/25/2019.