If your child enjoys spending time at the pool, you might be wondering when is the best time to start swimming lessons. Is there such a thing as the perfect age for swimming lessons? What happens if you start too soon or leave it too late?
If these questions are niggling at your brain, keep reading to find out the answers.
We are surrounded by water, so good water safety habits are essential. Canals, seas, rivers, and backyard pools are a part of everyday life. Swimming is an important life skill that can keep your child safe around water.
Swimming is also a great low-intensity exercise that is known to benefit heart health. A lifelong love of swimming could help your child stay healthy long into adulthood. Including a trip to the pool in your weekly routine gives your kids a healthy dose of exercise each week.
And, just as importantly, it’s fun. The pool is a great place to bond with your kids and make lasting memories of family fun. If you think back to your own childhood, you can probably remember having fun in the pool or the sea with your loved ones.
The best age to start swimming lessons
The best time to start swimming lessons will depend on your child. If you regularly take your child to the pool and he is comfortable in the water, you might be considering signing him up for formal swimming lessons.
It was previously thought that young children did not have the developmental ability to master swim strokes; however, it is now believed that swimming lessons can help even very young children develop water safety skills.
There is no such thing as the perfect time to start swimming lessons, but keep reading to find out what to expect at formal lessons for different age groups.
Swimming lessons for babies
There are lots of exciting baby groups you can take part in during your maternity leave. Baby swim lessons have grown in popularity in recent years. Infant swim classes usually take place in a warm, quiet pool so babies can enjoy a nice introduction to swimming.
While these are a great place to meet other new mums and a fantastic place to encourage water confidence, your baby won’t learn to swim independently. These classes are more about having fun in the water. If you’re nervous about taking your baby swimming, a baby swim lesson could be the perfect place for you to develop water confidence as a parent.
These lessons can be
Swimming lessons for toddlers
Toddler lessons are a great way to encourage water confidence and getting your child ready for learning to swim. Most toddlers aren’t great at listening to or following instructions (maybe you’ve noticed?) so they’re not ready for swimming lessons designed with older kids in mind. Instead, toddler swim lessons are about having fun in the water, learning pool safety skills, and developing swim readiness skills at a young age.
You will usually be required to stay in the water with your young child during these lessons. This is a great way of introducing your child to swimming lessons because you’ll be right there with him, helping him feel safe.
If your toddler is nervous in the water and you’d like to build confidence, look at My Toddler Hates Swimming – What To Do.
Toddler swim lessons are great for children who are already used to spending lots of time in the water. They will help your children develop basic water skills that will be useful when they start to learn swim strokes.
Toddler swim lessons can also be great for kids who aren’t familiar with the pool. Whether you choose to familiarise your children with the pool yourself or enroll them in a class, toddlerhood is a great age to start. Regular trips to the pool will be beneficial – even without a qualified instructor. A weekly swim trip with you will help your child prepare for swimming lessons and will help develop a love of the water.
Swimming lessons for age 4 and over
At four years old, your child will be able to master the basics of swimming. Swimming lessons for children in this age group include things like floating on their back and swimming to retrieve toys. Your child will enjoy water survival skills training as part of regular swimming lessons. The swimming instructors will encourage your child to develop swim skills and learn new strokes.
Classes are usually child-only, so you’ll be watching from the sidelines. This might take your children some getting used to, so reassure them that you’ll be nearby the whole time.
If your child is nervous about starting swimming lessons, ask if you can go alone and watch a class in advance. Your child might feel better once he knows what to expect. Seeing other children having fun in the pool might help to convince your child to join in.
Is there a perfect age to start swimming lessons?
There’s no such thing as the perfect age to start swim lessons. The best age for your child to start will depend on various things including your child’s developmental ability, what you hope to achieve from the lessons, whether you can afford them and how much time you spend in the pool.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for toddlers from age one. One study found formal swim lessons were associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning.
If you’d like more information, you can read this study.
If you are always at the pool, your child might be ready for formal swim classes earlier. If children already have water confidence and are keen to learn, they can benefit from swimming lessons as soon as they’re able to enroll.
The sooner children can swim, the sooner they will be safer around water. However, it’s important to bear in mind that swimming lessons do not mean your child is 100% safe. There is always a risk when in or near water; adult supervision is vital for keeping children safe.
Do children need swimming lessons?
Children certainly need to have swimming lessons at some point. It is absolutely essential that your child knows how to stay safe in the water. Swim lessons will help your child feel comfortable and confident in the water, as well as teach water survival skills that could one day save a life.
Most schools recognize the importance of swimming lessons and offer them to all pupils. In theory, you could wait for your child to learn at school. However, these lessons might be offered later than you would wish your child to learn, so it might be worth enrolling in swim classes before then.
Can I teach my child to swim?
Technically, you can teach your children to swim, but they might get more out of swimming lessons. Swim instructors have years of experience in helping children to develop water confidence. They will not only teach your child to swim but also help develop essential water safety skills.
The great thing about swimming lessons is that experienced and qualified instructors will do the hard work for you. Regular lessons also mean your child will be continually learning and developing important skills. While you could theoretically teach them yourself, you might find it’s well worth spending money on classes while your child is young.