When you actually stop and think about it, there is such a wide range of benefits available to babies and children who are taught to swim at a gentle, gradual pace. If you speak to any parent who has put their children in swimming lessons from a very early age, chances are that they witnessed first-hand the many examples of mental, physical, emotional, developmental, and social benefits that result from teaching their children to swim. These are usually overwhelmingly positive, and are the reason why every child should learn to start a life-long love affair with water as early as they can.
First of all, a weekly swimming lesson is often a child’s first social experience out of the home that involves their peers. They learn to relate and interact with each other and look forward to seeing their classmates each week, and even watch them for cues when it comes to taking risks and learning something new. The best way for babies to learn is by example, and as they are with children their own age, a lot of fun goes along with it.
The group structure of infant lessons enhances the child's social development through interaction their peers first and foremost, but also with their swimming teacher and other babies’ parents. The lessons also provide lucky mums and dads with the opportunity to establish new friendships as well, and widen the social circle of people they know with babies the same age celebrating the same milestones as their own. Parents and children often find new friends through swimming classes as they share a common interest, and it's a great source of information about everything related to parenthood.
Having a baby who is comfortable in the water also makes things easier for the whole family when it comes to having fun on holiday and at the beach. Families can enjoy time together in the water if everyone enjoys splashing in the pool, and the fact that your child has basic knowledge of how to save themselves – or in the future, someone else – is extremely reassuring for parents. Family holidays provide a great opportunity for trying out new water skills too, as babies and toddlers are always copying older siblings (or younger ones!) and ultimately, just having fun in the sea or pool. Practising water safety skills for these situations through baby swimming classes is a great asset.
Lastly, as they get older and continue with lessons, the social aspect of learning to swim just gets better. In addition to the health benefits, swimming also taps into the social development of kids the older they get. Children swimming competitively or participating in swim clubs learn the importance of perseverance, sportsmanship, self-discipline and goal setting, and develop relationships with teammates and learn the importance of responsibility and teamwork. What’s not to love?
Based in Silverdale, Northern Arena has four cutting-edge, heated pools – all indoors. The pools are treated by ultra violet light similar to the way drinking water is treated, allowing for a low level of chlorine that makes them ideal for babies and those with sensitive skin. All of their lessons are designed to be fun as well as educational, enhancing enjoyment and confidence in the water.
Have a think about popping your child in the water into the lead up to the Great New Zealand Summer – you’ll be helping them on the way to knowing how to save themselves in the water, increase their learning ability and have a lot of fun while they’re at it!