Kids and Teens

At What Age Should A Child Learn To Swim?

When is the best time for your child to take swimming lessons? It’s a question more parents are asking themselves these days, but unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer as what is best. That’s because each child is different and their willingness to get into the water can vary.

But if you notice that your child has demonstrated a growing interest in being in and or near water more readily as of late, then it might just be time to get them swimming lesson. It doesn’t need to be warm outside either as many swimming instruction programs are conducted indoors, making this a year-round activity for kids of all ages.

If you are considering enrolling your child into a swim program, you must be sure he or she is actually interested in participating instead of this being something you are trying to make them do. You may feel as if learning to swim is a vital skill that they must have and you would be right. But if the child is not ready yet, in any regard, then hold off and let them tell you when they would like to begin taking swimming lessons.

The best way for a child to learn is at his or her own pace.

The Ideal Age

So what is the youngest age for a child to start their swimming lessons? According to the American Academy of Pediatircs (AAP) the earliest that an average child should be enrolled in a swim class is around the age of four.

But this is merely a suggestion, as your child might be physically and psychologically prepared to get into a pool at a younger age. Some children may not be properly prepared even at the age of four and might need to get started later than that. But as for actually allowing your child into a pool, the age of four is really the minimum.

This is largely because a child of the age of four is not properly developed to perform basic strokes and this could actually discourage him or her from showing any further interest in pursuing swimming. You don’t want to dampen their enthusiasm by making it much harder to achieve their goals.

The Best Swimming Lessons

Age is only one component of knowing when your child is ready to swim. While physical and mental readiness is critical, it’s also important that your child has the capability for coordination in the water. That means they need to be able to perform basic paddling and kicking motions in unison.

If the child isn’t demonstrating an ability to perform these simple functions, they may not be ready to get in the water just yet.

Fear of Water

Before the child is enrolled into any swim program, have a talk with your child about how they feel about getting into or being near the water. If he or she has any fear of the water or even a small display of reluctance about going into a pool or lake, then you don’t want to force the issue.

Age is a big factor here because if you insist that the child participate in a swimming program even if they are afraid to go into the water, you could be doing substantial psychological and emotional damage that results in the child becoming even more frightened of getting into the water.

There are ways to get your child to overcome these fears but thrusting them into a situation against their will is not one of them. This will only make them more afraid to get involved and you will do more harm than good in this area.

But if your child is demonstrating excitement towards being in or near water whether it’s a local or backyard pool, a lake, or the beach, then you should start to seek out qualified swimming programs in your region. This will not only help your child develop an interest in swimming but bring their skills up to par.

Choosing the Best Program

Once you’ve ascertained your child’s readiness for a swim program, discuss your child’s age and capabilities with the teachers of the programs that you are considering. They can help you decide what type of regimen is right for them. Younger children will no doubt need to focus on the fundamentals of floating, kicking, and using basic strokes.

As your child grows older and his or her skills become more advanced, you can seek out more expert programs and even consider having them Swim RVA swim team and other competitive options.


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