20 October 2020
By Elaine Murphy
When: Monday 19th – Sunday 25th October 2020
Now in its fourth year, National Baby Swimming Week is a time to discover all the joys and benefits of baby swimming for babies and parents alike. 2020 especially has highlighted more than ever, the importance of keeping families safe, healthy, and supported. Baby swimming is one of those activities that encourages this. However sadly swimming classes are not able to go ahead at the moment due to level 3 restrictions across Ireland.
Baby swimming supports physical health, cognitive and emotional development and is an activity which encourages movement and bonding experiences for both the carer and baby. As part of national baby swimming week campaign, Water Babies parents have shared their experience with Water Babies and how their little ones are enjoying the benefits of baby swimming, and can’t wait to get back in the water.
Veronica Kennefick swims at the Clayton Hotel, Cork City commented
“We have two Water Babies – Ivy (2 years old) and Winter (10 months). Swimming is their life even in this pandemic, swimming with Water Babies gives the girls interaction with kids their own age, adult direction and most of all confidence both in the water and outside in the world. They practice bubbles, tiger arms and kicking their legs in the pool, in the bath but also in their high chairs at the kitchen table daily!! Swimming classes at water babies have been the best investment in our babies’ lives.”
Joining Water Babies was the first mother and baby group we went to so it was great to mix with other mother’s and also watching my little one interacts with other babies was so joyful to see. Something I think we all need during this hard and unpredictable time. The more swimming classes we do the more I see her splashing around in the bath and although our class has been cancelled for now, we still do our homework. Especially the – Caoilainn are you ready? Go and then we gently splash the water on her face which teaches her when she needs to hold her breath.”
Bethan Laker National Partnerships and Pool Programming Manager at Swim Ireland said “We are delighted to support National Baby Swimming Week here in Ireland. As the National Governing Body for Swimming in Ireland we are passionate about children and adults learning to swim and being safe in and around the water. Baby swimming has so many benefits for both the baby and the parent and building water confidence early is simply the start of learning a life skill that could, potentially save your child’s life and lead to a lifelong love of aquatic activity.
National Baby Swimming Week is supported by Water Babies, the world’s leading baby swimming school. Through the Water Babies social media channels, there will be the chance to enter some competitions to win prizes, ‘Live’ content about the benefits of baby swimming and how you can build water confidence at home, and content from our partners on how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle throughout National Baby Swimming Week.
The safety of our customers and teachers is Water Babies number one priority. We have made a number of changes to Water Babies lessons, to ensure we are in compliance with Covid 19 government guidance, and we are very confident that our lessons are a safe place to be. We’ve completely redefined our safety procedures to provide the utmost level of care and consideration for all so that our swimmers and customers feel safe at our classes.
Carol McNally, Water Babies said: “It’s been a very tough year for everyone including the families who run Water Babies classes across Ireland, so I’m thrilled that we’re able to celebrate National Baby Swimming Week once again and raise awareness of the benefit Water Babies classes can have for little ones and carers. However, we are so disappointed that we are not in the pool due to COVID-19 restrictions. Getting active for babies and carers has never been more important.
“Teaching your little one to swim is one of the best starts you can give them in life, to build water confidence, help their physical, emotional, and cognitive development and learn vital safety skills. This National Baby Swimming Week we are driving awareness of the physical developments of what baby swimming can have.”
National Baby Swimming Week will help babies, parents and carers to learn about the benefits of what baby swimming can bring.
9 Benefits of Baby Swimming
1. Builds their strength
Shockingly, our children are at risk of becoming the least healthy adult population in living memory. It’s more important than ever to get our little ones active, and swimming is a super way to get children exercising from a young age. It strengthens their heart, lungs, arm, leg and neck muscles, and helps with their coordination and balance.
2. Develops their social skills
The pool is the ideal place for your little one to turn into a social butterfly as they interact with other babies in the class! It’s also a brilliant way to meet other like-minded parents.
3. Enhances the bond
Focused time in the water builds the bond between you and your baby, through skin-to-skin and eye contact. It gives you that space to connect, away from the demands of daily life. And it’s also a great way for grandparents to spend that special one-on-one time with their grandchildren.
4. Boosts their confidence
When your little one grasps a new skill, this sense of achievement gives them the confidence to try new things. So, you’ll soon see them flourish in and out of the water.
5. Accelerates their learning
All the movements your little one learns in the water strengthens their brain connections and sharpens their mental skills. The Early Years Swimming Project at Griffith University in the Uk found that by the time they start school, children who swim in the early years are ahead of non-swimmers by six to fifteen months in solving maths problems, counting, language and following instructions.
6. Enhances wellbeing
Warm water relaxes your baby, while swimming stimulates their appetite. This means they’ll have healthier eating patterns, as well as a good nights’ sleep (which is great news for you too!). Regular swimming lessons also help structure your day and week. And the fact that they’re fun and social means you’ve got something to look forward to!
7. Gives them aquatic skills
To top it all off, your little one will learn breathing techniques and strokes that will help them become amazing little swimmers. You never know, you could have the next Olympian in your family!
Water is a great leveller, a place where everyone can flourish and have fun in a non-competitive environment. Swimming has a whole range of benefits for babies and toddlers with disabilities. And as well as the physical rewards, it also improves their confidence. By focusing on the achievements of your little ones and not their limitations, their confidence will grow and grow.
9. The earlier the better!
Get your baby swimming! The HSE guidelines say that you don’t need to wait until they’ve had their vaccinations before they go swimming. And those who start learning to swim earlier pick up the health bug, which is very encouraging news, set against a worrying worldwide crisis of growing childhood obesity.
Find out more about the benefits of baby swimming, visit https://waterbabies.ie/national-baby-swimming-week