The benefits of swimming for toddlers

Swimming is an exciting and rewarding activity that you can do with your child from an early age.

What are the benefits of taking your toddler swimming?

The physical and mental advantages gained from swimming are well documented. It is a life skill that has health benefits all through life. Here are some key facts about how it benefits your toddler:

  • It provides a complete physical workout, strengthening your child’s heart, lungs and respiratory system
  • Learning to respond to key words can make your child sharper mentally, increase levels of awareness and understanding and improve communication between you
  • Swimming facilitates development of crucial higher brain functions, core muscles and co-ordination often seeing earlier development than non-swimming peers
  • Regular swimming often improves eating and sleeping patterns
  • You and your baby feel relaxed and confident in the water – it’s a wonderful bonding experience
  • Learning vital personal survival skills
  • Encouraging a healthy lifestyle
  • Developing discipline and confidence around water
  • Meeting new friends and having lots of fun!

It is also an activity that all the family can take place in. The ripple effects can be seen in all aspects of family life, creating memories from bath time fun to holidays and more.

How to get your toddler started

Even if you plan to take your toddler to swimming lessons, there’s nothing stopping you taking them to the pool yourself first, before you begin any classes:

  1. Look for family sessions, or times when the whole pool is available to adults and children.
  2. Start with sessions of around 30 minutes – this tends to be as much as the average toddler can take before either getting cold or tired or both. Once he’s gained confidence you’ll probably find that getting him out is the problem!
  3. When you first take your toddler swimming try to go as a family, or with a friend, so that you have some assistance if your toddler starts to play up.

When not to take your child swimming

As a general guide, if your child has any of the following symptoms or conditions it might be best not to take him swimming.

  • If your toddler has vomited or had diarrhoea in the last 48 hours you should keep them away from the pool
  • If your toddler suffers from a skin condition it might be fine to take them swimming but you might want to seek advice from your GP or pharmacist first
  • Any infectious virus such as chicken pox, scarlet fever
  • Breathing difficulties, an inner ear infection or a fever
  • An open wound or cut

You know your child and you know what is best for them. If they have a minor cough or cold, a trip to the swimming pool might be just what they need to take their mind off it; just make sure you dry them thoroughly and pay particular attention to their hair and ears (tip their head from side to side and then gently dry their ears with a towel).

Source: Families Online

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