The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting on formal swimming lessons until children are at least 4 years old, when they are thought to be developmentally ready. Research studies have show that, children who learn to swim at age 2, 3 or 4 learned to swim well at approximately the same mean age of 5 1/2 years.
Supervised exposure to the water can be the best first step to getting young children comfortable in and around the water. Parents are encouraged to make early exposure to the water a positive experience. Parents should stay within an arm's reach or be able to touch the swimmer at all times while in the water. Be patient and encouraging, but persistent when teaching children to get their face and eyes wet. Use incentives to keep them motivated during difficult moments and demonstrate skills by getting your face and head wet. It’s recommended that the use of goggles and floaties are limited when children are learning to swim. These devices can present a false sense of security for children and can affect their confidence when not available.
If you’re interested in taking the next steps to enroll your child in swim lessons, be sure to find a program that fits your individual needs. Keep in mind that these types of programs do not decrease your child's risk of drowning and are not a substitute for adult supervision and safety in the water. Like learning to play a musical instrument, swimming is a skill that requires significant development, coaching and practice. It is recommended that students enroll in two or more swim lessons per week. Two lessons per week for 4, 8 or 12 weeks allows time for students to build rapport with the instructor, learn and practice new skills and improve technique.
For more information about swim lessons and water safety, visit us at www.yardswim.com.