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When summertime arrives and the temperature starts to rise, most families take a trip to the pool or beach to beat the heat. While water can be a great source of fun and relief from the heat, it can also be a source of danger for young children. Even with adult supervision, young child can quickly drown if they haven’t learned water safety and basic swimming skills. Every parent wants their child to be safe around water, but it can be difficult to decide the right time to enroll a child in swim lessons.
The age at which a child begins swim lessons will vary, but children should never be introduced to swimming before the age of 3-6 months. At 3-6 months old, babies will be able to participate in swimming lessons with their parents to become comfortable in the water. Pat Yonker from Into the Swim suggests that parents wait until they can make swim lessons and time in the water a regular, year-round part of their children’s lives before they start swim lessons. She warns that “no infant will retain what they have learned when starting at a young age without staying acclimated to the water regularly, year round.” Consistency is key, so wait until you can make swimming lessons a regular part of your family’s life before beginning.
Swimming lessons for infants and toddlers consist of teaching comfort while in the water and basic water survival. This means that your child will learn how to safely float on their back if they fall or jump into the water. The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its policy in 2010 to state that swimming lessons for children aged 1-4 decreased their risk of drowning. It is important to remember that while this experience around water is important for toddlers, it is not a substitute for parental supervision and proper pool fencing.
Once children are coordinated enough they can begin to learn actual swimming strokes. The age at which children begin to learn strokes will vary based on their individual development, but Pat Yonker begins teaching strokes to children as young as two years old. Once children become stable and strong in their strokes they can start to build speed and endurance if competitive swimming is their goal. Yonker warns parents against pushing their children to swim competitively before they are ready. There is no specific age at which children are ready to compete; they must master the basics at their own pace.
Into the Swim offers swim classes for all ages and abilities including Baby and Me classes, competitive swimming, and private and group lessons. They strive to provide a fun atmosphere for swimming classes and private lessons alike. Your instructor will work with you to set goals and achieve them during your time each week.