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Baby Swimming Lessons and development

What are the positive impacts of swimming lessons on motor and cognitive development in babies

Baby Swimming Lessons  - Their positive impact on motor and cognitive development


Naturally, every parent wants the best for their little ones' growth and development. But this leads to the question, what can you do as a parent to aid your child's physical development? As it turns out, baby swimming has a rather important role in both the development of motor skills and cognitive development in children, which we will dive into in this article.


First, what do we mean when we speak about Physical development? In this case, we are looking at motor ability, both fine motor skills and total motor skills. One of the easiest ways to view your baby's physical development progress is through their interaction with some of their toys. Think about shaped-based toys, where you must put the correct shape into each hole, musical instruments or even bead maze roller coasters. These all test and demonstrate the motor ability that your little one has and how they are progressing in their development.

Motor development is so essential in the first 1000 days of your little one's life, but why is this? Simply put, it's the foundation of learning for a newborn. Everything they do involves motor skills, whether it be exploratory action, social interaction or interaction with objects; the only method of communication they have is through motor skills. Developing their motor skills opens up new learning opportunities, which span more than just motor skills. These include perception, cognition, language and emotional expression, making behaviour more functional and flexible.

What role do swimming lessons have to play in this? Well, movements in a pool or any body of water will be slower than the equivalent movement on land. Therefore, the time the body spends perceiving the movement increases, thus amplifying the sensory perception. Studies have been undertaken to see if this increased perception time impacts a baby's motor development. The results show a significant increase in motor development for babies taking baby swimming classes versus those that are not. Motor development was measured using reflexes, holding a stationary position, grasping items and fine and total motor skills tests.

These results are great news for parents taking their little ones to baby swimming lessons and show their importance now, not just for toddlers but also for babies. During these early periods of their life, motor development is so crucial. Not only are these swimming lessons giving life-saving skills to your little one, but they are also positively impacting their physical development and giving them an advantage over their peers.

Motor development, however, isn't the end of the story. It's long been known that learning and development is a complex process that is made up of so many different interacting factors. "Embodied Cognition" is a theory that combines motor development, cognitive development and language processes and shows a dynamic and interacting relationship between the three. In Escense, during a baby's development, the body influences the brain as well as the brain influencing the body.


This is imperative because as the baby's body can influence the brain and its cognitive development, a more developed motor skill set is evidentially crucial. A baby with a more developed set of motor skills will be able to interact with objects, explore new things and socialise to a greater extent. This, in turn, results in a greater degree of sensory input, which the body can feed back to the brain to help with cognitive development.

The number one reason any parent brings their little one to swimming lessons is to teach them the crucial life skill of swimming. However, this leads to the question of when a baby is ready to learn to swim, and so perhaps we should wait until this age before we get them in the water—thinking that these lessons are only teaching the little one the skill of swimming. It seems, however, that this is a backward view based on research that has recently been undertaken. Not only does baby swimming make a little one more comfortable and happier in the water, but it also positively impacts their motor and cognitive development at such a crucial time in their lives.



1. A Non-Randomized Pilot Study on the Benefits of Baby Swimming on Motor Development -


2. A brief guide to Embodied Cognition: Why you are not your brain -


3. The Importance of Motor Skills for Development -


4. Embodied Cognition -

Article by Jonathan Barnicoat

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