" Teach your children swimming, archery, and horse-riding" - Prophet Muhammad saw.
Do you know that studies has shown..
1) Babies who have been swimming during the first few years of their lives develop a greater sense of their surroundings, and thus are already learning to be more creative and observant.
2) Experiences in water allow little ones to better develop their psychomotor skills, because there they can move more freely and begin to understand concepts of distance and movements.
3) The cardio-respiratory system is also strengthened as the baby exercises his or her heart and lungs.
4) Swimming lessons help babies become more confident and provide them with a sense of relaxation.
5) The experience also contributes to their socialization as they pass time in an environment filled with people.
6) Their bond with parents grow stronger as together they share new and rewarding experiences.
7) As infants learn to move through the water on their own, they develop an abundance of independence and self-esteem, and this further stimulates their interest in learning and experiencing new and more difficult tasks.
8) The smooth and fluid exercise in the water results in healthier naps following class. Parents have noted improved sleeping patterns throughout thr night.
(Credit from Water Babies brochure)
It has been almost a month since I enrolled my boy, Abdul Kareem Qays, to a swimming class. I found out about it when I was itching to follow my husband for his Aikido training at Sri Damansara Club. I didn't see any of the swimming instructors teaching babies/infants, but I was just trying my luck. Then one of the instructor directed me to the person in charged. I really wanted to send him for an activity, and at this early age, swimming would be a great choice. To send to Gymboree would be a wee bit early, ye ke? he can't walk or talk...nor he can play with his peers, what he can do best now is exploring anything that come on his sight by gobbling it in his mouth...Hehe..
In my opinion, it's better to start them young, because babies are born with a reflex called bradycardic response. It allows them to hold their breath and open their eyes when being submerged. Unfortunately, the reflex will slowly be gone as they age. Plus, I heard that swimming lessons for older children are more expensive, so yeah...why not SAVE!..haha
Ok, back to the swimming class. The program was under Advanced Aquatics, lead by Ms Erika. It is held once in a week, and I chose the Sunday morning class. Parents must jump into the pool to accompany their babies...I like this kind of thing. It means it's an activity for me too. Instead we observe them having fun, I prefer TO HAVE fun WITH my boy. Baru lah namanya spending quality time together.
The first time my boy attended the class, he didn't cry at all. Luckily we exposed him to a swimming pool way earlier. So he got used to it, although occasionally he will shiver, but it won't last for long. Some of the babies in the class cried (for the first few classes), and won't let go of their parents. Maybe they felt cold ke, or they felt scared of the new environement. So the purpose of the first class was to make them feel comfortable in the water. But never to force them to stay in the water.
The next following classes, they taught us how to submerge. My son cried at first, he felt uncomfortable terminum air pool tu, eventually, with practices, Alhamdullilah, dia ok. Parents were taught to sing or make a count of 1-2-3 with the same intonation, so it is conditioned in their mind that it is time to submerge.
Next is to teach them how to float, paddle, how to jump into the water, how to hold to the side of the pool and many more. I think it may take weeks to months for my boy to actually being able to do all this. But there's nothing to worry about, after all, it is a gradual progress. I don't expect my boy to swim, I'll faint if he can do so, he is just 8 months young!..hehe.
The cost?..It is not expensive like I've imagined it before. I would say it's affordable.
I'm looking for any other activities to do with my boy(s). If you have anything in mind, do share with me :)