Early Aquatics can be Good for both Parent and Baby

There are many benefits of early swimming lessons for a baby or toddler, but these do not indicate that a baby is safe in the water. Before registering for aquatics lessons for your little one, it is important to understand the purpose of these classes.

Up until recently, swimming lessons were generally not encouraged for young children, citing no real benefit to early aquatic lessons. However, in 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “loosened” its position for children under the age of four.

The revised statement noted that children are generally “not developmentally ready for swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday” and that swimming lessons for infants and toddlers did not necessarily decrease the risk of drowning.

That being said, swim lessons for babies should always have close supervision by a responsible adult while in and near water. Parents/caregivers should never have a false sense of security that their young child is safe on their own in the water because they have had lessons.

While the AAP notes babies and toddlers are not developmentally ready for swim lessons, there are some perceived benefits to starting children off in swim lessons at an early age.

*Bonding with baby

Swimming lessons for young children under the age of three or four are generally structured as “mommy (or daddy) and me” classes. Usually, the youngest lessons start between the ages of six months and one year.

These lessons for babies and toddlers typically have an instructor. In addition, a parent/caregiver comes into the water and holds the baby throughout the class. Kids are always supervised one-on-one, and it is a good way for parents to have both fun and spend quality time with their little ones.

*Water instruction for adults

Early swim lessons for children are often designed more for the adults than for the child. Through instruction by a trained instructor, parents can learn how to practice safety in the water.

*Comfortable in water

Many babies experience sensory issues, and by introducing them to the water at an early age, they are more comfortable when the time comes where they can learn the mechanics of swimming, along with water safety/survival skills.

It is not uncommon for children to be fearful of the water when they are between the ages of 2 and 5, as they are more aware of their surroundings and probably less apt to be enthusiastic when it comes to water. Children that have started lessons early are already familiar with the structure of a class and being in the water when the time comes that they are developmentally ready to learn how to swim.

While babies are not likely to learn how to swim from early lessons, there are many positive reasons to introduce them to structured aquatics classes. The important thing is to practice safety and not become complacent that baby can manage herself in the water and to have fun together.