I believe swimming is a very important life skill every child should learn. So when is the best age to learn to swim? Some say, as young as possible. In areas with warmer climates, children may start swimming when they are babies. I’ve seen articles online that suggest three is a good age to start or as soon as a child is able to walk. Albeit I was born in the Caribbean, I did not learn to swim until I was about six years old. My husband, who is a native Floridian—one of the few—started swimming around the age of four and both of my kids began official lessons at the age of four.
I believe there is truth in having a child learn to swim at an early age, but just because your child isn’t swimming as a baby, doesn’t mean he/she is at a disadvantage. Neither of my children learned to swim as babies and now, one can swim, and the other is still learning. Every child is different. Some have a natural love of water, others take a bit and sometimes lots of coaxing to get near it.
My son loves the water. When he was born, we lived close to the beach and did lots of water activities. Once he started swim class, he quickly learned as he already had an idea of how to swim. My daughter went to the beach for the first time at age two and cried like there was no tomorrow. Where we currently reside, the outdoor pool is only open from Memorial to Labor Day and the beach is far. My daughter does not like strangers so I thought she would completely freak out in a swim class even with me there. So I decided to wait until she started preschool and got the understanding of following instructions from a teacher. In a four year old swim class, I can’t go into the water with her. I think that strategy worked well for her. She did not cry the first class, however we ran into some issues as the class progressed--I’ll share in my next post.
The best advice I can give is to let your child start having swim lessons as soon as you can. That may be as an infant or at four years old.