When can your child be in water?
Your child can be in the water as soon as he or she is born, as they would have been “swimming” in their mothers’ wombs for the past 9 months!
Why swim schools only allow infants to begin swimming lessons at 4 or 6 months?
Firstly, businesses do not wish to take unnecessary risks. Infants may not exhibit any health issues outwardly initially. By 6 months, most children would have completed most of the required vaccinations. Infants are also more developed by this point in time, being able to sit up and even crawl for some advanced babies. This allows more learning to take place, which makes the swimming lessons worthy of time and money.
Secondly, by 6 months, most of the inherited natural reflexes in babies would have diminished. This makes learning to swim more meaningful. During a swimming lesson, it is important for teachers and caregivers to be mindful not to reinforce on a child’s natural reflex so that it does not become a programmed behaviour. To find out more about infant swimming reflexes, you may read more about what we have written here.
Having said that, when will be an ideal age for children to learn swimming? This would largely depend on your objectives. Babies and toddlers learn to be familiar with water and gain water confidence; children who have developed more coordinated motor skills may proceed to begin stroke training. If your child has special needs, you may wish to consider swimming lessons specially catered for him or her as well.