What is a good age to start swim lessons?

At what age would you suggest a kid start swimming lessons? What are some good signals to look for that your child may or may not be ready?

40  Answers

2 0

We have 4 children and as soon as they were all 6 month, we were taking swim lessons at the local Y. By the time we had our 3rd, I was able to do the same thing the teachers did and I just did that in the pool without paying for the class. I truly believe the key to successful swimming and feeling comfortable are allowing your child to get a wet head, face, body and really turning it into a positive activity. If they cry with water in their eyes, make a game and have a smile on your face and then help them feel comfortable. I did this with every bath and still continue to do it with our little one. We continue to swim through the winter so they continue to feel comfortable. The other key to successful swimming is exposure! Swim a lot when you can as often as you can. We go to a pool everyday in the summer. We have 7, 5, 4, and 1 year old. The older 3 can swim without swimmies and can go a pretty good distance on their own. Our 7 year old just joined the swim team this past summer and is now doing winter swimming. Our 1 year old absolutely loves the water and by next year will probably be going under and swimming with swimmies. I often have people come up to me and ask how did they get to be such swimmers and I tell them lots of visits to the pool and helping them be comfortable in the water. I was in the water last summer and there was this boy who was in my eldest daughter's class. His dad was yelling at him to get in and calling him a baby. This boy had terror on his face. I felt so bad and wanted to say to the father, does it look like he is having fun and do you think you are helping him feel comfortable in the water? After that the boy got out and you could see defeat written on his face and body language; not to mention embarrassment! As a family, swimming is a great activity that we can all enjoy and now it is a sport that we can encourage and cheer our daughter to help her feel successful. I truly believe that the comfort level in the water is based on your comfort level; there are always little eyes, ears, and a sense they have on how you feel as a parent. Relax, go for a swim, and show your little one how much fun it can be:) Happy swimming everyone:)

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62 30

My eldest daughter didn`t start swimming lessons until aged 6yrs as she wasn`t ready for them until then and i didn`t force the issue! once she started she loved them!
My youngest daughter couldn`t wait to have lessons and did so a week after she started school aged 4yrs and continues to have them achieving her 5 metres unassissted swim at end of her first course of lessons! You certainly can`t force them and its distressing for them if you force them! i did however from being a baby take my youngest daughter swimming and regularly poured water over her head at bath times to get her used to sensation of having water on her face as that is often the fear factor in learning to swim!

6
2 50

We started our DD at 8 months old. And at nearly 3 she still takes weekly swimming class. I think the earlier the better, for sure. Gives them confidence thus reducing a fear of water. Our little one knows how to blow bubbles underwater, get herself to the side of the pool for safety and feels confident to let go of us in the water. I would suggest taking classes at the YMCA. They have the best method of teaching little ones. Good luck!

6
0 4

I started my daughter at age 3 and wish that I would have started sooner. Her class was only 2 weeks long but she is no longer scared to put her face in the water or go all the way under. A little boy in her class was also 3 and he could swim by himself already. It is never too early to teach water safety.

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15 4

As long as you have a good teacher, I say the earlier the better. My son started swimming lessons this past summer at 2 1/2, and I only wish I'd started them the year before. He had a fabulous teacher, and during the course of the 15 weeks he was in lessons (5 3-week sessions...we kept signing up for more because he was having so much fun) he went from refusing to put his face in the water to occasionally being able to do somersaults in the water by himself. I will mention that the teacher said we'd done a good job just getting him accustomed to water before he started swim lessons, and I do think that's important. We would get in the bath with him and encourage him to blow bubbles in the water, or lean back to get both of his ears wet at once.

3
0 3

We started our child at 8 months and she was able to swim at age 3. She is now close to 4 and she can swim the length of the pool by herself both backstroke and freestyle. The key to our success was to move to private lessons by age 2. She went once a week and it made all the difference.

2
0 17

My twin girls were 6 month old when we started swim class as we wanted to get them into the water and used to it without being afraid. They are now 2.8 years old and we are still doing swim class. They love the water and feel comfortable in it. They always want to practice in the bath tub. They always ask to go swimming these days. Might do more swim classes soon. The most important thing is to have a great teacher who get's to know you child so that they can bond together. We had at one point a terrible teacher and I pulled the girls out of class. Having a great teacher makes all the difference in how the child will feel in the water. Currently we go to Maki swim school in san jose, ca and they are great.
I think the earlier u start the better. Kids will love the water and they also end up getting really tired after working in the pool. You can't beat and happy and tired baby who just wants to chill at the end of the day :)

2
0 2

My daughter started swim lessons this past july she is 4. She is now able to swim on her back the full length of the pool. start swimming lessons as young as possable... it teaches them the rules of the water.

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5 33

I haven't started my daughter in lessons yet and she is 4. But I take her swimming myself whenever I get the chance to get her used to the water and build up her confidence etc. At times I have felt guilty about this thinking I should have started her early as so many people seem to do these days. However a friend of mine said that they only learn very basic stuff in the younger years, so it doesn't matter too much. Regularly committing to the lessons is also a bit of an issue for me working part time and trying to balance everything.

2
7 9

Both of my daughters started swimming lessons at the age of 6 months :) My youngest is very confident now at 2 and will be swimming on her own soon, however my eldest is 4 and is just starting to gain her confidence. I would have not like to have seem what she would have been like without the lessons. We live only 5 minutes from the beach so for us it was really important that they learn water safety and as we are in Australia the beach is a huge part of our lives :)

2
15 2

I started both my kids at 6 months. It has increased their confidence - my three year old can almost swim on her own (not that I would let her though!). It's good for them to socialize as well as for me having regular contact with other parents who have kids the same age. If they are sick obviously they don't go but it also has helped us establish a good weekly routine for them. The only drawback is that they can get sick easily from the pool. Overall it is a good experience for us all round. I believe that the confidence it builds in the kids is well worth the time and effort.

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0 34

I started my 3 kids out when they were between 2-3 years old. We skipped a few years because we moved a few times, but now my oldest is at level 5 and progressing great. My middle child is also progressing nicely aslo with his lessons. My youngest I started last year with "mommy and me lessons". He loved them and wanted to continue with lessons this year. My youngest is now in level 1 swimming. I, also, say the youngest you start them out, the better; as long as mom & dad are there with them to get used to the water. Plus I belive the older they get they will enjoy it if mom or dad are there to support them.

3 16

We started our twins at 6 months in ISR lessons. They now can "fall in" a pool or body of water and instantly roll over to correct themselves and float on their backs for at least 5 mins. It is important to teach them early on mainly so they will not be scared of water.

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3 20

from 6 weeks - and definitely prior to 6 months. This way the breathing reflex is in tact and can be utilised. Blow on a baby's face and watch how they take a breath. Taught properly by instructors that know what they are doing, this is utilised so that taking a breath before you go underwater become second nature. As this reflext goes around 6-8months, you need to teach them prior to that. Inthe classes myt children went to the children happily swam on their own underwater from about 3-4 months of age

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3 20

none of the baby's in the classes my daughters have done have been distressed. Quite the opposite - they loved it. We always go under with them so they are staring at our faces. My youngest daughter is 2 1/2 and can swim a little more than 5 metres on her own. She dog paddles underwater and comes up for a breath. We never had to go through any forcing or not wanting to issues because its always been a part of their life.

0 12

4 years is the best age to start swiming leasons because at that age the child is confident enough and listen and follow the instructions :)

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0 20

I believe that the younger the better. It not only gives them confidence but also gives you reassurance that if something were to happen, that most likely they would be able to swim and not drown. I think it is more a safety thing. Kids all need to know how to swim and as early as possible. I have 6 kids ranging from 4 to 19 and they have all had lessons and they all are little fishes in the water. The more they are comfortable, the more they enjoy it as a fun activity to do.

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1

If i could get through to any parent out on this topic,its my belief they shouldn't start until they can hold there breath under water .my little girl now has twice had stomach infections i believe from lessons.And until they can learn to swim how about the parents responsibility looking after them????

http://john

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872 0

Our kids weren't crazy about the water as babies and toddlers. We did one baby / swim class with an amazing teacher with a wonderful philosophy, but our kids really weren't ready until they were 6.

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64 0

I heard to get them swimming or acquainted with water before they walk. My daughter is 9 months old and loves the pool. So far, i just tell her the word "kick" and move her legs back and forth until she does it by herself. its really cute and she has the deepest nap afterward :)

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29 31

I think every child is different, but with all my children I started them as babies with the mommy and me classes. By the time they were three they were able to swim on their own. Also, all three of them by the time they started school they joined swim team. All three of mine are fish. We go to the pool daily during the summer, and weekly during the winter outside of their normal swim team schedule.

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2 118

We had our daughter in swimming lessons at 9 months old. I think it has benefited her alot in that it's gotten her used to being in water and comfortable with it. She is now 2.5 years and loves her swimming lessons. She looks forward to them each week and always asks to go swimming. I would highly suggest getting them in lessons as soon as possible to get them comfortable with the water.

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2 29

I started taking my daughter to baby and mommy swims when she was just 3 months old and we've kept her in swim ever since. She's 2 and a half now and is very close to swimming unassisted. I feel like swimming is a very important thing for kids to learn and the earlier you start, the better. It's all for their safety.

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253 2

My daughter started swim lessons at age 2 in a class with 3 other kids, but that's only cause I was paranoid at exposing her to the flu, which was rampant back then, otherwise I would've started her much earlier in a Mommy & Me class. She's 4 now, is still taking them and loves them. My own Mom started my brother in swimming when he was only 6 months and that was back in the 1970's and not even a Mommy & Me class. So, it's never too early.

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25 2

For our family, we had no thoughts about swimming lessons until we took our just-turned-3 year old daughter to the pool and she wanted to walk along the bottom and hold her breath. My husband and I were both very surprised but we let her practice and when swimming lessons started up in the fall a month later, we signed her up. She was already excited about putting her face in and didn't need much encouragement from us--she stopped needing my husband in the pool with her after the first class and is still enjoying lessons.

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3 9

Great info from many moms! Thanks!
Here is a great article on how to teach your child how to swim. It's for toddlers, but pretty good.
http://alifeabroad.com/2011/06/25/teaching-your-toddler-how-to-swim/

Good luck!

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15 20

As an Infant Swimming Resource Instructor, I can tell you that most children age 1 and older can be taught to swim in about 6 weeks and ALL children age 2 and up can be taught the same skills...
In fact, MOST instructors will allow you to watch lessons free without any commitment (to see what your child will lean) AND most will offer not to charge past 6 weeks of lessons (if, indeed more are needed) if you bring your child to all scheduled lessons up to that point.
Further, if you are looking at safety, we have the best safety record in the industry along with self-rescue skills (independent floating) for children as young as 6 months old :)

I found the program when my 15 month old was trying to push his teeter-totter against the pool fence to climb over, already knew how to escape his crib & remove the block & unlock the sliding door to the back yard... ISR was the only program in my area that offered any reassurance he would swim that summer... (all others said around age 4-5)... He wouldn't have made it that long :(

He was able to swim our entire pool in 6 weeks & loves to swim to this day (age 9) :)

ISR is NOT for everyone, lessons are daily (require a lot of commitment) and some children do cry along the way ;)

Check out www.infantswim.com to find lessons in your area :)

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11 47

I am a baby and toddler swimming teacher. The youngest baby I have taught is 6 weeks. With my kids I started when they were 4-5 months old. So to answer your question you can start when you like really. As we all know all kids are different and they will only start actually swimming independently when they are physically and emotionally ready. It is important that they have fun in the water and go to lessons that teach them water safety and how to swim whilst having fun through excercises/games. It really is a lovely bonding experience too with your kids so ENJOY!!!!!!

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9 15

Swimming lessons can start from 6mths of age. The child does not need to be showing signs of any kind. There are swimmer nappies for babies/children that are not yet toilet trained. In the lessons you will learn everything you need to know and your child will work up to showing signs they are ready to submerge (go under the water) and as they continue with lessons they will become more confident and follow on to other skills. Initially they will be teaching 4 basic skils; Safe entry and exits; turning; propulsion and breath control. From there, they will work on basic swimming styles and safety skills.
I hope this helps you.

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64 20

We put our first child in at 1 and he enjoyed every minute of it. My youngest we put in as soon as we could. He enjoys the water just was much. We only pay for swimming lessons during the winter and have a pool in the backyard during the summer. So they are exposed all the time. I am a true believer in swimming lessons! That summer after my oldest first swimming lessons he was in my parents pool with 4 other adults. He was in one of those floating boats where you put there legs through and they can kick and play. Well he flipped over and went underwater. My mom started yelling at my uncle to grab him. When my uncle got him he was fine. He knew enough to hold his breathe and didn't panic. In that moment swimming lessons paid for themselves, things can happen in a blink of an eye. I now buy swimming lessons for nieces and nephews for their birthdays.

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2 2

We have a swimming pool at home, so getting our little boy water-safe was a big priority. He started lessons at 6 months, and LOVED it. He's now almost 4yrs, and we still go once a week. We found a stuuning programme called Aquatots, where the moms (or dads) get in the water with the kiddies, and the whole lesson is based on games and rhymes, so it's loads of fun and a super bonding experience for mommy and baby. Plus, we have a fabulous instructor - that makes all the difference!!
About six months ago, we were cleaning our pool, so the net was off, and Samuel fell in. He immediately turned himself around and got himself to the edge of the pool - every cent we'd spent on swimming lessons was paid back in an instant!!

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6 13

My kids are September babies. Our local metro parks dept offers lessons starting at 3 unless the parent will swim with them. I have a strong opposition to kids learning with their parents in the water because I've seen so many kids be uncomfortable once mom (or dad) doesn't get in any longer. Because I wanted them to start in the summer so I could be more available if needed (I'm a high school teacher), I was allowed to start my kids three months before their 3rd birthdays. Both kids have birthdays in the next week.

My oldest is turning 6 and is on the swim team currently. She swims 4 days/week now (at her insistence - coach requested at least 2 days) and is confident with crawl stroke, back stroke, and is beginning breast stroke. She dives off of the 1 meter springboard and jumps off of the 3 meter board. She is the youngest on the team. The next one closest to her age is 4 years older.

My youngest is turning 4. He's still in the tots class because they won't move him up until he's 5 but he can swim underwater 10 feet, front float, and glide. He's not confident with back floats yet but he's getting there.

I think it is because we encouraged them to get in on their own at a young age and encouraged them to keep trying even when they struggled to improve that we've seen such tremendous results. So far their instructors have been high school kids with some basic training in giving lessons, but the pool managers have strong leadership skills. My kids have done really well and the oldest walked up to her coach on the first day of practice to let him know she plans to try out for the Olympic diving and swimming team in 12 years so he needs to get her ready. He didn't bat an eye. He took her hand and led her to the starting blocks. Then he told her that to be on both teams she's have to be a 3 meter springboard diver and a distance swimmer so she could be at both trials and told her to give him three laps for warm ups. If she can swim 150 meters for warm ups without stopping at 6 years old, he said, she'll make the Olympic team without any trouble. She did it and hopped out to ask what's next and his response made her shine. He said, "Next is Olympic gold. Are you ready?"

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50 11

I started my twins at 6 months old, and now at 3 they love swimming and the water.

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3 36

I started my son at 6 months and have continued them. He has no fear of the water and swims like a fish. At five he knows all four main strokes, can dive to the bottom of the 10 foot section, jumps off the diving board (since he was 2) and loves it.

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34 20

Funny that you mention this as this evening is my daughter's first of 6 weeks of swimming lessons. She is 3. She is a FISH in the water. My parents have a pool and we go there on a weekly basis. She puts her swimmies on and just goes. We signed her up for lessons just for the added fun of being able to swim longer since we live in Western NY and it is already getting chilly here. Pllus any tips that I find, I thought that we could apply to our 4 month old who also likes going in the pool.

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11 25

My 27mth old started private swim lessons when she was only 8mths old & now she can swim 3 mitres on her own (side to side) not full lenght of in ground pool... Younger the better i say. As a mum who cant swim & have got 4 kids swimming is a big deal for me for my kids. My older ones r 24,22 & 21 all water babies.......

0
0 0

Our son started swimming a month after his polio shot (as it is a
Water-bourne disease according to our pediatrician) and he was 3 months old then. At 1 year and a half old, he started threading water without floaties. What my husband did was he removes our son's arm bands when they are about to come up and ask him to swim to the edge of the pool in a very short distance and one day, he just learned and refuses to wear his arm bands. He is 3 now and can float on his back and we just enrolled him for swim class for him to learn more strokes like freestyle, backstroke, etc. We'll see. I think letting your kids be exposed to swimming as much as possible is a great thing you can do for them as knowing how to swim is a great thing. Also, when they see older kids swimming is also good as they set an example to the little ones.

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0 14

Age 3 was perfect for us. he was able to listen and learn from the instructor.

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0 0

We have a pool, so I started my daughter at 17 months. We used a place that specialized in babies and younger children, and I couldn't be happier. At 3 and 1/2 she is confident, can swim without any assistance and loovvveess the water.

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0 35

I started B swimming around 4 months old, I had previously been a nanny and had done the classes with families before so knew what tyhey did so just took her swimming once a week. I always dunked her under the water and made sure she had water in her face and was not bothered by it. She is now 4 years old and swims unaided and has been doing so for the past 8 months. She can swim a width of the pool on her own on her front and back so I think the younger you teach them the less likely they are to be afraid of water and will get water confident. I have always been a great believer in children being water confident from a young age.

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0 4

My daughter started at Murray Callan Swim School when she was 18 months. She is now three and is the most confident and comfortable kid in the water. They actually teach kids how to swim, none of this survival stuff. She can now swim the full length of a pool using her arms and taking breaths when she needs to.

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0 5

I agree with several of the posts that the earlier the better. I started going to the pool with both my boys (now ages 2 & 3) when they were 2-4 months. My eldest is a fish in water and has no fear. We've probably done 3 - 4 sessions in swimming lessons, but I think the real value at his age is just allowing him the time to spend at the pool with us and learning to enjoy swimming safely. My youngest is the exact opposite and is very slow getting used to and comfortable being in water. We've chosen to do less swimming lessons with him as he just doesn't seem to enjoy them. We've only done parent/tot swim lessons with him and he pretty much has been a screamer and neck clinger. Now that he is almost two he is starting to enjoy the water more; lots of baths in our big tub at home and allowing him to see how much fun his older brother has in the water has helped.

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