Why is music important for swimming with babies?
Music is generally important for a child’s development, not only on the «dry», but also in the water! It makes a significant contribution to a smooth connection of the baby with a new environment, the water.
A rhyme, a familiar rhythm, mummy’s or daddy’s voice, give an extra soothing stimulation to babies in the water. They are the most efficient way of communication between parents and their children in the swimming pool. Music and rhymes are relaxing not only for babies, but for their parents as well, since most often that’s their first experience too. The best baby swim classes are those with a bunch of simple activities followed by a number of rhymes, and dancing with very carefully «designed» moves.
From the moment I got myself involved in the Baby swim club (2013), and the work with a large number of babies, especially when my little shark and little fish were born, rhymes and a good rhythm have become the way I start and finish my baby swim classes.
My children were only four months old when they started spending time in the water with music. This is why my little fish, today as a two-year-old girl, hums and moves her hips to the well-known melody: «Babies splish splash in the pool...» while putting on her bathing slips and getting ready for a baby swim session.
The contribution music makes to the baby swim classes (children aged from 4 months to 3 years):
A touch and a rhyme: Water is a perfect medium to stimulate a baby, especially in combination with a rhyme. With slow moves to a familiar melody, babies get more relaxed in the water. Even now my kids often sit at the pool’s edge, waiting for me to play for them their favourite song on my guitar or a percussion instrument before they jump into the pool. This evokes the well-known positive emotions from their first experience with the water..
Mummy’s voice breaks every «wave»: Both inside and outside the water, the most important «instrument» for a baby is his/her mummy’s and daddy’s voice. It is soothing and relaxing. So, no matter if you are a good or a poor «interpreter», if your baby gets upset (and you know that he/she isn’t hungry or sleepy), feel free to sing him/her the favourite rhyme while being with him/her in the pool or while bathing him/her in a bathtub, and you will see he/she will calm down. Positive emotions related to the moments spent in the water will remain forever.
Model of behaviour for every single move and tune: Parents are the first teachers of baby swimming. You will see that the babies in the pool, as well as on the grass, are trying to imitate your moves. In that way, with your active participation as a model, your baby in the pool, stimulated by music, will overcome every «task». The accent should always be on a comfortable fun the parents have with their children. Which sport or activity can you engage in with your baby at an early age? Well, of course, in the swimming pool, making the first “steps” with your baby who is only a couple of months old!
Swimming to a good rhythm: The baby’s activity combined with the musical experience in the water will additionally stimulate their development. While in the water, children need to repeat regular movements to an adequate rhythm over and over again. This is why the repetition of movements in the water along with the familiar rhymes is often soothing for babies. It is recommended to «learn» how to swim using the modern methods with rhymes and dancing in the first year, or between the second and third year of age, since at that time it’s most efficient. Children feel comfortable in the pleasant and familiar environment. The rhythm (of arms and legs) while mastering the swimming techniques can be rather useful for children later in their life.
Will my baby get bored with the same rhyme? You might get bored, but trust me, your baby won’t. Observe your baby all the time and you’ll see the same excitement and trill he/she feels every time he/she hears the rhymes! That’s something he/she will never get bored with, especially when the entire group and the others are enjoying the performance all together, it’s a pure joy!
Has it ever crossed your mind that your child can dive underwater with a smile!? Of course he/she can, while singing and dancing to “Ring A-Ring O’ Roses”! The group in which all the little babies are having fun and singing, and at the end, once they hear the word “plop” they dive together with their parents, and it’s like a miracle, but actually, it’s quite a natural and exciting thing to do, for the joy of the entire group!
Swimming at the earliest age means, at the same time, making friends, well-spent free time for parents with their baby, working on self-esteem, but also a positive impact on the psycho-social and physical development of the child. When you add music to all of this, the benefits are much bigger, both for your baby and for you.
So, free your voice and sing to you baby, if not in the pool, then at least while you are bathing him/her. Have you tried it yet?