Before I had my daughter I had decided I would get her in the water as soon as time would allow. I read all this crap about how babies love water because it reminds them of the womb, so why waste any time? My real reason wasn’t to recreate her womb, but to teacher her swim skills asap. I grew up on a lake and was a competitive swimmer. Swimming was such a big part of life, and I want the same for my daughter. Of course, I want her to choose to do things she enjoys down the line but for now learning to swim will help her stay safe, avoid fear of water, and get her on the swim team by 6 years old (ok, maybe 7).
After doing some more research, I discovered that swimming has more benefits than the ones I was banking on. Here’s a few reasons why it might be worth opening your wallet for:
- Starting babies in swim class at a young age can help improve cognitive functioning because of the multi-body part movement required.
- Swimming can help build confidence. A 2010 study suggested 4-year-old children who had began swim lessons between the age of 2 months to 4 years were better adapted to new situations, had more self-confidence, and were more independent than non-swimmers. (www.healthline.com)
- Those mommy and me classes are a great time to strengthen the parent child connection.
- Swimming helps support muscle development and control, especially that which is developing in young babies learning to support their heads and maneuver body parts. It can also help strengthen the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
- All that exerted energy can help your little one’s appetite and quality of sleep.
If you are thinking of diving into swim, there are plenty of swim schools out there in your local community. Below you will find information on a few of the bigger swim schools located throughout NJ.
Your local YMCA is a great place for all things babies and kids with tons of classes for the whole family. Our local YMCA (Sussex County) offers family memberships for $89.00 a month which includes childcare for when my husband and I want to work out AND swim lessons until our child is 3 years old. If you know a friend with a membership, they have something called the 20/20 program bringing the rate down to about $71.00 a month. The only draw back is that the Y (at least our local branch) only offers mommy and me swim classes for those under 3. After 3, the rate is about $42 a month for swim school. I believe the center does offer private lessons for a higher additional cost. However, they do have open swim, so you can also choose to teach your little one on your own during those times giving him or her a private lesson at no additional cost!
NJ Swim is a swim school that has been around for some time now and bases its curriculum on water safety. They have multiple locations throughout NJ from Sussex to Monmouth county. One of the great things about this center is that they offer mommy and me classes for FREE for babies from 3-6 months old. After that, the price goes up to something like 106.00 a month. We took my daughter here when she was 3 months. It might seem crazy, but it was a great way to get her acclimated and I swear I can contribute this early introduction to her love of the water. After she turned 6 months, I just couldn’t justify over $100 for mommy. You can start your child in group swim class as young as 15 months so we chose that. The only draw back in starting lessons at that age is that there are at least 2-3 other little ones in the class with one teacher. Since they are young, they have to take turns with the teacher and sit on the pool steps while they wait. I am pretty sure the lifeguards would dread my daughter’s lesson day because she doesn’t stop moving. However, you might be able to find a class during a down time that has less students enrolled. I recommend staying away from Saturdays if possible, as there are multiple classes going on in a small pool at once which means there could be 4+ babies all expected to sit and wait on the pool steps! A lifeguard does sit with the children. Again, it also depends on your local branch and how the school operates.
Goldfish Swim School
A new Goldfish center just opened near us and I’ve heard great feedback. I can’t speak too much about how the school operates, but I did look into the pricing. The cost is about $98 a month and runs in a style similar to NJ Swim. There are only mommy and me classes for children under 2. A benefit is that they have open swim times, where you can play in the pool with you little one. Even if you are not a member, anyone can drop in for $10 per person. Not bad!
(8 Benefits of Infant Swim Time, https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/infant-swimming)