Water is everywhere in our lives. It’s not only pools and lakes, its neighborhood reservoirs and drainage pools. This makes learning to respect water and the ability to swim an important life skill for children. But swimming is also a wonderful sport that can be present throughout the life of a child. Enjoying the water through swim classes also helps develop water safety skills in children and adults. That brings the question of when should kids start swim classes? Children’s swim lessons offered by specialized instructors often start at 6 months, and babies can actually start taking water introduction (not swimming) classes as early as two months.
Advantages of Early Swim Lessons
Studies indicate that formal swim classes can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%, and that drowning is the second leading cause of injury death among children aged one to four years. The biggest step that parents can take is to start their kids with swimming lessons early in life.
Not only does this teach the respect of water, it also builds your kids muscles and coordination. As they move through the program, they also learn skills that help protect themselves while they are enjoying the water. The bonus benefit is the quality time that parents spend with their babies and toddlers in the water during their classes.
What Age Should Children Begin Swimming Lessons?
Every kid develops at different rates, so informed parents can make a choice about when to start swim lessons. As mentioned, many experts advocate for starting infants and toddlers with water babies classes at a very young age while others state that parents should wait until their child is at least a year old. Your pediatrician can answer any questions about your child’s development and whether they are ready to be introduced to the water in a structured class. Being an informed parent with information about your child’s development, physical abilities and emotional capabilities can help you make the best choice for your kiddo.
Swim Classes at Age Four and Up
Starting your child with toddler classes helps them to become more comfortable in water. By the time they reach four or five, they really begin to develop their cognitive and physical skills. They will also learn basic water safety skills such as treading water, floating and getting in and out of the pool. Then they will progress to the forward crawl. Each lesson builds your child’s motor skills and their confidence. It also increases emotional and cognitive maturity beyond that of their peers. Developing these skills still doesn’t prevent injuries in the water but it does increase your child’s awareness of water safety. And classes with young children is always an opportunity for parents to bond more closely with their child. You’ll both also have a lot of fun together!
Safe and Fun Swimming
Swimming together in classes is fun for both parents and children. Swim lessons are a new experience. Lessons on moving in the water are unfamiliar and new. During class, there is an abundant amount of supervision from parents and the instructor but in home or neighborhood pools, there needs to be the same level of mindfulness. Home pools need to be fenced and secured. The natural curiosity of kids can get them into dangerous situations when parents aren’t watching – around water, adults should always be watching. As children progress through their swim classes, this doesn’t mean that they should be allowed in the water unsupervised. Accidents can happen when parents are distracted poolside. Toddlers and small children should only be allowed in the water with their parents. They can swim as long as they are within arm’s reach. Practicing water safety reinforces the lessons they learn in class.
The Right Swim Class
Swim classes for toddlers and pre-K teach water survival skills that can help them in the water. Basic lessons include rolling over in the water and blowing bubbles. They will also learn to get comfortable putting their face in the water and learning how to get out of the pool. As they advance, your child will learn how to propel themselves along the surface of the water. Eventually, they will be able to swim 25 yards. When choosing a swim school, ensure that their curriculum includes strong water safety habits. Beginning classes will include both the child and the parent. For more advanced classes, look for ones that limit class size to four or six students per certified instructor. A red flag for parents is swim schools that employ teens for summer work. They may not have appropriate teaching skills and certification.
Where to Find a Good Swim Class?
Look around your community for available programs. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations about quality programs in the area. Your area YMCA has certified instructors for children at several skill levels. And there are many private swim schools now across America that offer trained and certified instruction for infants and growing kids.
involving babies, toddlers and children in swimming lessons early offers a multitude of benefits that will stay with them throughout their lives. Early development of motor skills, muscle strengthening, and coordination, confidence and mental and emotional development puts them ahead of their peers. Instill the love and fun of swimming early!