What age is the best to start swimming lessons?(14 Posts)
I am about to put my 5 year old in a class but they would take my 3 year old too.
I'd rather wait if she is not going to make the same sort of progress as ds as the lessons are quite expensive and I can always take her swimming myself.
Personally I think the sooner the better. I've taken DS since he was 8 weeks old to the pool. You're lucky. My council won't let children under 6 do swimming lessons. Something to do with Health and Safety/insurance. They will take an U6 year old for 'water confidence' classes which is getting them used to the water.
Me and DH are taking DS once a week on our own at a standard swim session. DS is progressing well at his own speed. Some weeks he wants to float, some he wants to walk on the bottom of the pool and muck about and some he wants to make an effort.
Thing is not to expect anything from them, just take them and give them the opportunity to experience the activity. DS does Football and Rugby training too. It is infuriating when he spends 60 mins of a 90 min session sat sulking cos he can't reach a stick outside the railings (footy) or trying to run with the ball while sucking his thumb (rugby) but he does enjoy the idea and that's half the battle really.
ds1 didn't start proper swimming lessons until he was 5 and is now a competitive swimmer - so I don't think formal lessons early on makes any difference
what really helps is getting kids familiar with water - dd had always gone to the pool when her brothers were having lessons with the result that when she started at 4 and a half she was really confident, happy to go underwater, get her face wet etc she was also able to listen properly and understand what she needed to do which younger children often can't manage
DD1 (10) started when she was nearly 4 but was very nervous and lacked confidence, therefore little progress was made until she reached 5 and I moved her to a different (much better) swimming school, which doesn't take children until they are 5. She is now an excellent swimmer and does life-saving.
DD2 (just 5) started the same swimming classes last week. She was great the first lesson - even the instructor asked me if she had been to lessons at another school! Everything was great until tonight (her second lesson) when she decided she does NOT want to go swimming. I had to practically drag her there crying etc and I felt awful when the instructor had to peel her off me to start the lesson! Once she started she seemed to resign herself to it, but she didn't swim half as well as she did the first lesson.
TBH I feel awful dragging them to swimming lessons, but I think it's so important for them - they need to be able to swim for their own safety and also because, when they are older, they won't want to be left out of swimming parties with their friends, or be the only one sitting at the side of the pool when on holiday. All this is pretty hard to explain to a stubborn 5 year old. I am going to persevere with the lessons though apart from the fact I've paid for 11 lessons in advance anyway .
I'm not sure that the age they start is all that relevant - I think it's also down to the individual child's personality and their level of confidence. Personally, I wouldn't bother starting a child in formal swimming lessons before they were 5 - I always used to take mine occasionally myself when they were really little, just to get them used to it and to just have some fun in the water!
It does depend on the child, but 5 works well for many in my experience (swim teacher hat on). Definitely go with your younger one yourself though - just having fun in the water is of huge benefit later on.
Snorkle - what do you think about doing a week-long (or 2 week-long) bash of swimming lessons in the summer holidays versus one lesson per week throughout the year?
Snorkle can I just have a quick hijack to thank you for some advice you gave me about DS and his swimming a year or two ago. It was really helpful and while I know that DS will never be a fantastic swimmer he is now progressing and now at 7 can swim 25m breast stroke and is working on his crawl and back stroke and diving which is great. Actually I think, given the opportunity he could swim further than 25m.
DD1 started proper lessons when she was 3.5 but has only just learned to actually swim 2 years later. I think 4 is maybe a better age if you want them to make rapid progress.
Bozza - really glad to hear your ds has got past his plateaux at last . Swimming a length at 7 is great & even attempting diving shows he must have plenty of confidence. Well done to him.
Anna, Once a week is what I'm used to & is the tried & trusted method: like playing a musical instrument, practising 10mins a day is better than 1hour a week just before the lesson.
That said, the intensive courses are brilliant for some children (especially beginners) & can work really well for children that have been going every week for ages, but made little or no progress, (some children just forget whatever they've learned from one week to the next). I can't think of any child I know who has ONLY had a yearly week or two course, but I would think if you did it that way you'd need to at least visit a pool say once a fortnight (on average) through the rest of the year or you might well find your children 'forget' the skills they've learned the previous year. I don't see why this couldn't work OK at least to start with, but if you are looking at more advanced swimming skills then weekly lessons are needed for stamina as well as imprinting the correct movements on the muscle memory.
Well they are only sitting down dives, but I agree with you re the confidence they demonstrate. He does need to work on his technique, mind you, because his feet were very red last week after repeatedly slapping against the water. I'd never heard of a "foot flop" before.
Anna I think the weekly courses could be helpful, in a way, as I find that DS always makes big leaps in his swimming after a beach and pool holiday.
Yes, I'm thinking of doing both actually. My DD was four in November, so too young to do either a weekly class this academic year (she needed to be four in September) or a week-long bash last summer in a group of 3/4 children (she needed to be four for that too).
I will sign her up for one or two weeks of daily lessons in July and then for weekly lessons from September, when she will be nearly five. She's very strong and muscly and well-coordinated for her age and has amazing resistance to the cold - she wants to go the playground even when it's snowing .
I meant weeklong not weekly btw. Think your plan sounds good.
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