At What Age Can Children Learn To Swim?

July 10th, 2014

Updated on

Many parents want to know..

At what age can children learn to swim or When should their kids start taking swimming lessons? 


There is a lot of evidence that children younger than 3 years old CAN learn to swim on their own and CAN learn to perform water safety skillsWatch this child learn to swim from 6 months old to 2.5 years old

And yet some articles suggest that children younger than four years old are not physically ready for learning to swim. Or that kids won’t really become competent swimmers until the age of six or seven. Some websites even say: “Very early may not be best, experts say”.

The latter kind of articles can be confusing and can affect a parent’s decision of enrolling their baby/toddler in swimming lessons. Parents may even ask themselves: are swimming lessons for my young child detrimental or just plain useless and a waste of time and financial resources?

True: children younger than four years old CAN learn to swim on their own. In general, children who start weekly private swimming lessons as babies (at 6 months old) will swim on their own before or around the age of three. By swimming on their own I mean they are able to move through the water with good breath control and to perform water safety skills necessary to save themselves from drowning. Here is a video of a two year old swimming by herself after taking private lessons with Gilda Dobrica for one year:

Learning to swim takes time and consistency. Swimming is a combination of motor skills, muscle memory, instinct. Learning the arm and leg movements, as well as the coordination involved in swimming is not necessary easier for a five year old with no swimming experience than for a two year old. Also kids who start swimming lessons at an early age will most likely not develop a fear of water. It’s better to prevent the development of a fear of water and not wait until the child becomes afraid of the aquatic environment.

Swimming as a sport has many benefits for a young child’s physical abilities: coordination, motor skills, strength, balance – to name a few. Also, swimming has many emotional and psychological benefits – my young students exuberate with confidence every time they learn a new skill or overcome their fear of performing a challenging skill. And I have no doubt they take this confidence with them outside the pool: to school, to the playground etc.

Our professional advice for parents

Begin to teach your kid to swim at the earliest possible age. 6 months old is not too early for kids to start learning to swim. Learning to swim is not an event that happens overnight, but a process that takes time – at any age. The sooner your child will begin swimming lessons, the sooner they will become water safe.

 Teach Your Child To Swim™ was especially designed for parents who want to help their kids learn to swim step by step and be safe in the water:
If you have any questions for us, post them on our Facebook Page:
Get your swimming gear and teach your child to swim!

Gilda Dobrica,
Swimming Instructor

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