You have the baby, you bring him home, first order of business: swimming lessons? As young as 5 days old, babies are being taught the initial steps for learning to swim. Babies are used to being surrounded by water and will take to swimming easier than a child who is older. The older kids get the more they develop fears and inhibitions. Sometimes these fears can already have taken hold by ten to fifteen months of age.
When newborn babies take swimming lessons they not only learn the art of swimming but they exercise new muscles, strengthen the brain, and bond even more quickly with the parents. Studies have shown that babies who’ve learned to swim very early developed advanced motor skills, social skills and often – a slightly higher intelligence level. Babies who have learned to swim as an infant are also more likely to walk quicker than babies that didn’t.
The practice of teaching babies to swim is highly recommended by some doctors to the parents of kids with Cerebral Palsy. And, the Downs Syndrome Association recommends swimming as one of the best activities for small babies. Seemingly, the swimming practice help improve muscle development as well as coordination.
Babies have a mammal-like instinct when it comes to going underwater – they automatically hold their breath. Other techniques involve blowing in the baby’s face just before going under the water. The quick rush of air in the baby’s face causes him to “catch” his breath and as you go under he will automatically hold it.
Most medical personnel don’t recommend that parents try to teach the baby themselves. There are programs where certified instructors train the babies. Parents can then play in the water with kids at home.
There are always those that disagree with any new concept and that is the case with teaching babies to swim as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics takes a stand against teaching babies to swim so it is a decision strictly for the parents to make.
Although one side argues that babies are too young to learn to hold their breath hundreds of babies have done just that and now at age 1 or so, are healthy swimmers. Others argue that teaching baby to love water from birth is a good and natural thing; if baby were to ever fall into water he could swim to safety.
Teaching a baby to swim takes skill, patience and quite a few months of determination. To make the experience positive and safe for baby check online or in your local phone book to find a certified school for baby swimmers.