I’m a huge proponent of getting your kids into the water from an early age. We started Water Babies swimming lessons with L when she was around eight months old, and it’s hands down one of the best things we’ve done. At the time of writing, we’ve just started Chapter 11 and each week she continues to amaze me with her skills in the pool (Chapter 7 review here).
For instance, just last week, she pushed off from the side of the pool and swam a good three or so metres to me completely unaided. Sure, she may be unlikely to give Michael Phelps a run (or should that be swim?) for his money just yet, but that accomplishment is a far cry from the totally dependant baby that first got into the pool with me back in 2015.
With the recent birth of our second baby, I doubt it’ll be too long before he’s following a similar splashy path as we enrol him in swimming lessons and see him go from baby swimmer to toddler swimmer. If he’s anything like his big sister, I can see him enjoying it massively and developing a similar level of water-based competence.
Although the main goal of baby and toddler swimming lessons is to ultimately teach them to swim, I’ve seen that these classes provide so many more additional benefits. So, in this post, I wanted to highlight a few of the key benefits – or skills, characteristics, aptitudes, life lessons or whatever you want to call them – that I feel L has got over the last three years of swimming.
Water Safety – Linked to learning to swim – but a separate point in its own right – water safety is something that classes have taught L. It’s without doubt that water is pretty bloody dangerous for youngsters, so teaching kids from an early young age how to act around it is key. Thanks to swimming lessons, L is aware of the danger that water poses, but importantly, isn’t afraid of it and is very water confident. She has also learnt practical advice, such as how to get into the swimming pool properly or how to dive in safely.
Exercise – With so much made of childhood obesity and an increasingly sedentary life for our little ones, swimming lessons provide a physical activity. From the moment they enter the pool to getting out half an hour later, your kid will be kicking their legs, thrashing their arms, pushing off the wall, climbing out of the pool and more. This physical work out is great for strengthening muscles, keeping the heart and lungs healthy and improving stamina – it also means they’ll sleep well afterwards!
Communication – Being able to effectively listen and respond appropriately is a key life skill – unfortunately, it’s something a lot of adults can’t do correctly! Swimming lessons – along with other classes we’ve done – have been great at teaching L good communications skills from an early age. She’s learnt to listen to instructions from myself and the teacher, then carry out those instructions at the right time. As she’s got older, she’s also been able to communicate with other kids and adults at the classes to improve these listening and talking skills.
Friendship – It may sound a little corny, but baby / toddler classes are a great way to make friends – both for you and your little one. After doing swimming together for a few years, L has developed a really close bond with one of the other kids, so much so that they are inseparable around the pool – they hold hands during ‘Twinkle, Twinkle”, they encourage each other when doing activities and they even shower together afterwards!
Determination – As a parent, I obviously want L to succeed at everything she does. However, it’s also important for her to learn about hard work, perseverance and determination. I’ve therefore found swimming lessons to be a great way for her to learn about these characteristics. She’s out of her natural environment – i.e. in the water – so everything is challenging. But, with encouragement, it’s great to see her natural ability to want to succeed through practice.
Confidence – L is a remarkably confident kid. It’s difficult to exactly pinpoint where this comes from – most likely, it is a combination of multiple things. However, I truly believe that swimming lessons have contributed to this – for instance, accomplishing things in the pool has shown she can overcome challenges, which in turn has developed her self-confidence. Similarly, she’s often called on to demonstrate activities with the teacher, so this again helps to boost her self-belief and confidence.
Those are six of the additional benefits I’ve found from doing Water Babies swimming lessons with L. Do these sound familiar? Is there anything else you’d add to the list? Let me know below!
N.B. We receive complimentary Water Babies lessons in exchange for sharing our swimming experiences.