Aquatics consultant for the YMCA, Laura Slane, holds that kids should be taught how to swim when they feel comfortable around water, and are ready to listen to the instructor’s directions for an entire class and can follow the directions that he offers. However, parents often ask about the earliest age when it is safe for children to learn to swim. There are different theories when children should be given swimming lessons.
Between 6 and 12 months
According to former national swimmer and teaching expert of Britain, Rita Goldberg, latest studies on the subject recommend that kids should best be taught swimming techniques when they are between 6 and 12 months. She holds that teaching swimming to children at such an early age makes them absorb information very easily. This makes swimming just like their second nature.
But she does not conform to the age-old idea of throwing kids into water and making them learn swimming gradually. Rather, she mentions that this very act can make children scared of water. She holds that kids should be gently taught how to swim, first being instructed how to float on water on their backs. Once they are able to do so, it can minimize panic for them.
Between 2 and 4 years
Generally, kids aged between 2 and 4 years are found to have enough coordination to start learning swimming techniques consisting of more complex motions. It is important to look for a warm pool that can make it more comfortable for your children. Also take care that the swimming classes do not have over 10 child-parent pairs, so that your child can easily listen to what his teacher has to say and get enough playing space in the pool.
3 – 4 Years
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), kids will possibly not be developed enough in minds and body to understand formal swimming lessons until they are at least 3 – 4 years old. It suggests that classes for kids less than 4 years might be enjoyable but there is the risk for parents to grow too confident about the number of swimming techniques that their kids pick up in such classes. According to the AAP, a grown-up should always be within a feet whenever their toddlers or infants are in, or close to, water.
If your child hates bathing or has not been around water that much, it can be a good idea to first have a parent-child class in order to make him feel comfortable.