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What age will/did you start swimming lessons?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My younger dd is 4, and that's about when my older one started having swimming lessons at the YMCA. If I remember correctly anyway.

I am not an expert on swimming, though. What age do you think is the right age for lessons to start?
post #2 of 22
I don't know that there's a right age, but for my kids I felt that the lessons we paid for prior to about age 4 were pretty pointless, so with any future kids I would probably wait until 4.

OTOH, some of my friends' kids (mostly those with backyard pools and therefore tons of early water exposure and a high parental priority on pool safety) were excellent swimmers already by age 4, whereas for my kids it seemed like it was just barely starting to sink in around that age.
post #3 of 22
I started my son last year, about 2 months before he turned 4. I have noticed as he's gotten older, he's grasping the skills more quickly. His program teaches them basics first, like front and back floating and streamline kicking. Then they move into the swim strokes. He can now do the backstroke with guidance and freestyle with rotating onto his back and then roll back down to continue. He just graduated the beginner class and now is in the advanced class where the strokes are perfected and the breaststroke and butterfly will also be learned. They also learn safety skills too. He loves it and would probably like to try competitive swimming at some point. We are always at the pool in the summer which is why I felt it was important for him to learn to swim. I'll probably start up DD in 2 years.
post #4 of 22

what is his personality like? is he interested in swimming? does he want to go take lessons?


if he is interested in learning how to dog paddle then sure start lessons. make sure though that they dont make him retake what he might already know.


my experience is the same as lima's. in dd's dc/ps class by 3 the kids who had backyard pools were fishes. seriously they could dog paddle and swim like pros. not just that, they knew water safety too and actually followed it. 


the other kids started at 3 or 4. 

post #5 of 22
My DD did lessons at three but they were too intense. We did mom and me at four then lessons at a new place with a better philosophy then y lessons after the outdoor pool closed. We played in the kid pool from one on and that helped her feel confident in the water, and she picked up bubble techniques and floating, which is what beginning lessons are mostly about.
post #6 of 22

My DD did "lessons" at 1 and 2 with a Parent and Tot. Lessons. Basically just getting used to the water, a little dunking, jumping into parents arms from the sides, etc. More of a way for her and her Mum to schedule in some swim time.


She will be 4 in another month and she is just finishing her first real swim lessons by herself.

It was great for her. Before these lessons she wouldn;t float, put her face in the water, blow bubbles, dunk or anything. And now she is doing all of that.

She will start the next group of lessons in a few weeks.


I think it is really important for her to learn to swim. We live in a region with a lot of lakes, beach culture, etc. People drown every year here. There are also a lot of pools in this city. For her own safety, she needs to learn to swim.


But also just of the fun of it. I want my kids to be able to take part in social activities and opportunities that are common here. So for that reason I want them to know how to swim, skate, and ride a bike (among other things).

post #7 of 22

mamazee i have a dd who does better with one on one lessons. 


so i was finally able to afford lessons when she was 4 1/2. private lessons. now let me say my dd LOOOOOVES water, swimming, even then water ballet. 


dd had never had any swim lessons before. i paid mucho mucho $$$s and dd had 3 sessions half hour each with the teacher one on one without me being there. the teacher was awesome and dd learnt how to swim in 3 sessions. seriously. after that the swim teacher asked me to make sure she got to practise which we did in public pools. 

post #8 of 22

Actual swimming lessons?  Depends on the child's personality and readiness.  But... keep in mind, beginning swimming lessons is basically getting the child comfortable in the water before you actually teach them to swim.


My oldest will be 18 years old tomorrow.  I had him in weekly "free swim" with me at the local indoor pool every Saturday beginning at about months old.  He was a water baby- I'm sure that helped- and he was comfortable enough and took direction well enough so that I taught him the basics and he was swimming well enough to swim "alone" (as in, me a couple feet away from him) by the time he was 3 1/2.  I think he was six when I signed him up for official lessons.


My little one is almost 2 and I haven't had the chance to take him swimming as such, so he's just getting really comfortable with the water now.  We live about a quarter mile from a lake now, so I'm hoping to be there often this summer and have him "unofficially" swimming by the end of the summer.


My fiance's kids aren't such waterbabies as my children.  The 12 year old had swimming lessons when she was about 6, is a pretty good swimmer, and enjoys the water immensely now.  The 9 and 5 year olds haven't had much exposure to swimming or water activities, so the 9 year old won't even go in the water and the 5 year old is mildly interested, but can be talked into trying to learn to swim.  As we're low on money at the time, I plan on getting her used to the water and "unofficially" teaching her how to swim this summer as well.


The most important part of swimming lessons is water safety (well, obviously), and getting the child comfortable in the water.  A child who is not comfortable in the water, or who is afraid of the water, will not learn how to swim until they overcome their fear.

post #9 of 22

What age did we do swim lessons? We started at 7 months and he loved it!

post #10 of 22

I believe that swimming is an important skill. We started Parents and Tots at 6 months to get comfortable in the water. Actual lessons on strokes, breathing etc. probably around age 3 or 4 but by then, they didn't hesitate to jump into the water, submerge their heads and hold their breath, and float. 


As a kid, I was scared in the water. Even though I took lessons for years until I was about 13 y.o, I always floundered, never had a good stroke, couldn't get the breathing right. If I believed in reincarnation, I would be pretty convinced that I drowned in a past life.


I've done vacations with friends at the beach and it sucked not being able to swim when they could. I finally took lessons as a young adult in college. I'm still not proficient and I really regret it. 


Thankfully, both kids are decent swimmers. They didn't hesitate to do some ocean swimming and surfing and snorkeling when they've had the chance. At the same age, I would have been stuck on the beach watching everyone else have fun. We also now have a lake-front cottage, although we didn't when the kids were very young. When we bought it, it was crucial to know that they are capable in the water and have some water safety skills. 

post #11 of 22

we started before 4, with a parent-tot class.   Boys then sat out for a bit, because it wasn't really their thing. We put them back in lessons when little sister was ready for parent-tot, and they've had lessons a few sessions a year since then. 

post #12 of 22

We started as infants.  But, we live in Phoenix, so learning how to get out of the pool is a priority.


Actual swimming, as in strokes across the pool, diving and jumping in, was at about age four-ish I think.

post #13 of 22

We are doing really well with free swim even at 6 or 8.  I tried paying for lessons, but at the beginning level the classes were half waiting your turn, nearly half saying "no" and 5 good minutes.  Mmmmm..... nope.  Found a good deal at the YMCA ($10 for the whole family, 2-5 hours depending on day/time), which has a 3' activity pool which we use at off-hours because we homeschool.  The open swim schedule gives us many options.  Both girls are teaching themselves to swim nicely, pushing their boundaries and reveling in new skills.  I really like how it boosts their confidence that they are learning this kind of thing for themselves.   On down the road I'll consider lessons to strengthen their skills.

post #14 of 22

We plan to try swim lessons for my six year old and my three year old this summer. Neither have taken lessons previously and neither can swim. I wouldn't put my three year old in lessons if it weren't that he wanted to have lessons like his big sister and they ran concurrently. I don't expect him to learn to swim from it, just keep him busy during her lessons.

post #15 of 22
DS is almost 4, and DD is 22 months. They are starting lessons with ISR (infant swimming resource) next week. They will not be learning formal strokes, but they will learn to swim with their faces in the water, and learn how to float and get themselves to the side of the pool if they were to fall in water accidentally. ISR starts teaching at 6 months, and I am really excited about them starting. http://www.infantswim.com/
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Where is your favorite place to get lessons? I honestly wasn't thrilled with the YMCA ones, though we aren't living at the same place we were when my older daughter took them, so it would be a differnet YMCA.
post #17 of 22
Our DS is nearly 5 and has been swimming strongly for almost 2 years just by being at the pools all summer long. Is there any reason you can't just work with your DC on your own on a regular basis in the pools? We started with a life vest in the wading pools until he figured out how to move himself in the water, showing some strokes and kicks to try. Then he began trying it without the vest, and quickly was swimming across the pool without a vest, head under water at times. Discussing water safety happens with each trip to the pool- stay where you can touch or reach the edge, never grab onto others in the pool, always be sure you have enough space around you, etc.
post #18 of 22

It probably depends on your own swimming needs, access, and skills. In my family swimming was like walking. Everyone was doing it. It was all around me. I just did what they did and got on with it. My parents did formally "introduce" me to the water, as did my sisters with their babies. Mostly this was done by sitting on shallow steps, etc, or holding baby in the water while going on about splashing around and conversations. This is from 6mo on, I think. 


I live in Denver now, and wonder what we're going to do because oceans and pools are just not part of our life the same way. I go to a gym to swim laps, but I've never been to the Rec center pools, and I don't know if just hanging around in the pool fits in between scheduled classes!! 

post #19 of 22
It's one thing to try and get your kid comfortable in the water, but if you don't know how to teach them to swim or they don't want to learn from you, then lessons are best. Plus with lessons you can go year round whereas getting access to an indoor pool year round is more difficult.
Heck, I have trouble getting DS to show me what he's learned when we do go to the pool. A YMCA membership probably costs more than lessons.
post #20 of 22
Originally Posted by Skippy918 View Post

It's one thing to try and get your kid comfortable in the water, but if you don't know how to teach them to swim or they don't want to learn from you, then lessons are best. Plus with lessons you can go year round whereas getting access to an indoor pool year round is more difficult.
Heck, I have trouble getting DS to show me what he's learned when we do go to the pool. A YMCA membership probably costs more than lessons.

I don't think kids need lessons to get a basic competency in swimming.  Exposure to the water with a little assistance is plenty (this assumes you don't have a specific outcome in mind: X skills after Y hours, etc.).  


You're right about the pool access-- it took us quite a bit of looking around to find a good deal and a good schedule for open swims, but indoor pools were not a problem in our area--most are indoors.  The open swims at our Y are free for members, a fee for non-members which is $10 at our Y -- even at 4 times a month for us (2 girls, plus me and/or dh) that saves a lot of money, and even though they pick up skills more slowly, it stills compares favorably in a financial sense.  The other nice thing about free swims is that reluctant kids have time to slide in and get comfortable at their own pace.  For my girls it was about 10 minutes beyond the length of a typical lesson when they would start getting playful and adventurous.

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