Teaching your kid to swim is one of the most important and precious moments of raising a child. Not only is swimming together a fun and healthy family activity, but it’s also a vital skill that could save your child’s life one day. Many new parents have questions about when they should start to teach their children how to swim. Some parenting books will recommend waiting until your child is around six years old, while others will say that you should start your children in swimming lessons while they’re still an infant.
With so many conflicting pieces of information, it’s understandable that many parents are confused about when to enroll their children in swimming lessons, or if they should even enroll their children in swimming lessons until they’re old enough to ask themselves. Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a set of guidelines to help parents decide what level of aquatic education their children should receive during childhood. Here’s what you need about swimming lessons for your child at every age.
Many aquatic education facilities offer swimming programs for infants, such as a Mommy (or Daddy) and Me swimming class. While children under the age of one can enroll in these swimming “classes,” these programs don’t actually teach children how to swim. Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend actual swimming lessons for children under the age of one since they lack the necessary breathing skills for swimming, making independent swimming impossible.
However, simply playing with your baby in the water can be a very positive experience for both yourself and your child; it allows children to become acclimated to being in water, potentially reducing their fear of water later in childhood, and allows parents to connect with their baby in a fun way through physical touch. Children at this age should always be supervised by a parent when in the water and should only be playing at a pool with a licensed lifeguard trained in first aid and resuscitation, to minimize the risk of drowning or injury.
Children between the ages of one and four, while still requiring adult supervision whenever they’re in the water, are able to begin swimming lessons according to the AAP. However, research has suggested that children who start lessons at 2, 3, or 4 years of age all begin to swim proficiently on their own at the age of 5 and a half. Starting swimming lessons earlier may allow your child to become more comfortable in the water, however, and may encourage your child to play in the water more when going on family beach trips and the like.
Nevertheless, it’s also important to take your child’s attitudes towards swimming into account. If your child seems anxious about starting swimming lessons, it’s probably smart to wait until they’re a bit older. When starting your child in swimming lessons, remember to get them a quality swimsuit. Brands like Tidewater Tots, a women-owned company, make ethical swimwear for kids using UPF 50+ fabrics.
According to the AAP, children between the ages of 4 and 12 are ready for formal swimming lessons. They strongly recommend enrolling children in this age bracket in swimming lessons to help teach them vital water safety skills. Make sure that any swimming programs you enroll your children in are taught by certified instructors. This is especially important, as kids this age will likely be swimming on their own at lessons.
Teens and Adults
The AAP also recommends that teenagers -- or adults who haven’t learned how to swim yet -- should learn as soon as possible. Swimming is an extremely important safety skill that can save a person’s life in dangerous situations. Don’t be embarrassed about enrolling in a beginner’s swimming class as an older teen or adult. There are classes specifically for that age demographic, and it’s much better to learn how to swim now instead of never.
For teenagers and adults who learned how to swim as children, it’s important to exercise your skills regularly in order to maintain them throughout adult life. To get your family started on swimming, please do not hesitate to browse our fine selection of swimwear today. Or to learn more about the benefits of our swimwear, please feel free to reach out to us. We look forward to serving you!