From pool rules to being confident in the water, it's no doubt that water survival skills are essential for a child. Swimming lessons are not only an effective way to develop your child's water confidence but a great way to keep them active too! However, before you start clearing their schedules for swim classes, it's important to know that not all kids are equally excited to jump right into the pool. So, at what age should your child be introduced to the water? Here are the pros and cons of starting your child young.
Infants 3 months to 1 year old
At this age, aquatic programs for infants are a great way to get them used to being in the water, apart from it being an enjoyable parent-baby bonding activity.
During this period, swim classes can establish water awareness skills early on which decreases the likelihood of your child developing a fear of water. Apart from their regular playtime, swimming is a great way to expand the development of their physical and cognitive skills as well as an awesome opportunity to socialise and play.
Infants may have trouble adjusting to uncontrolled water temperature and their lesson progress may not be as quick as older children.
Young children 1-3 years old
These few years are one of the peak periods of development in a child and can fly by quickly. It is important that you take the time to build their independence, cognitive skills, as well as physical mobility.
Swim classes are a great form of exercise to increase their aquatic and land mobility. Additionally, at this curious age, it’s essential that your child learns water safety and the basics of swimming independently. This can also reinforce their water confidence and cultivate a love for water.
As children in this age group start to become more imaginative and start developing fears, it is possible for them to form a fear of going underwater. Being very playful at this age, your child may be more interested in playtime than learning fundamental swim strokes.
Children 4 years and older
Most children are stronger and have better coordination needed to swim strokes by the age of 4. At this point, it is essential for your child to start formal swimming lessons, if they haven’t, in order to learn basic water safety.
Being older and stronger, your child will be able to pick up swimming skills more effectively and are more likely to be able to swim independently. At this age, children are more inclined to pick up hobbies and enjoy swimming lessons more.
If your child has not been exposed to swimming since young, it may be more challenging to get them comfortable in the water by this age. Deciding to wait till your child is 4 years old or older may cause them to feel unnatural in water. On top of that, they may not be able to independently deal with aquatic dangers when they face such situations.
At the end of the day, allowing your child to be exposed to water and establishing a love for swimming is an essential life skill. Starting at a young age can cultivate an active lifestyle and may even become a hobby for a lifetime!
Find out more about The Starting Block's swim classes here