How to Tell When Kids Are Ready to Start Swim Lessons

How to Tell When Kids Are Ready to Start Swim Lessons - The California Beach Co.

Swim lessons are a great way to teach young children and toddlers crucial survival skills when in the water. Although knowing basic swimming strategies are sure to help keep your young child safe at the pool, they do not completely eliminate the potential for a drowning incident. You should always supervise your child when they’re playing in or near a pool. 

As your baby grows into a toddler, you may be wondering when the right time is to get started on swim lessons. Today we’ll answer this question and share additional valuable information relating to poolside safety and swim lessons for children. 

When Are Children Ready for Swim Lessons? 

The answer to this question is that every kid is a little different. In general, it is recommended to wait until your child is at least one-year-old to start swim lessons. It actually has not been proven that infant swim lessons do a better job at preventing drowning so there is no real reason to rush it. If your child seems ready, then they most likely are. However, you may be able to enroll your infant in an aquatic program that allows you to aid in the swim lessons, which will likely be fun for both you and your child. 

When it comes to teaching toddlers to swim, some evidence has proven that lessons can help lower the risk of drowning. It is recommended to begin swim lessons some time between the ages of 1 and 4. Always choose swim lessons that include you in the learning process so you can gain knowledge on water safety for your child. This will also help ease your child into it as it will likely be less scary for them to have you nearby.

Swim lessons can be scary and even traumatic for children so it is important that you are always present during your child’s swim lessons. Never force children to participate in swim lessons against their will and know when to give them a break. If your child is crying and scared, it would not be appropriate to try to force them to keep participating. Give them time to calm down, then see if they’d like to continue on once they’ve had a moment. Traumatic swim lessons can lead to a longer road of swim lessons or a fear of the water that could follow them throughout their entire life.

Typically, most children are ready to start swim lessons by the age of four. If you think your child may be ready sooner than this, you can ask some of these questions:

  • Is your child excited to be in the water or do they act reluctant?
  • Does your child do well around other adults?
  • Is it easy to get your child to follow basic instructions?

Ultimately, you know your child better than anyone, so you can follow general guidelines and use your best judgement to determine when your child is ready. 

Tips For Finding the Best Swim Program

  • Only enroll your toddler or young child in a swim program that allows for your observation and participation.
  • Opt for a swim program that offers a low-pressure atmosphere. Some programs force children to dunk their heads underwater, whether they’re ready for it or not. This can lead to a fear of water later on in life. 
  • Seek out swim instructors that are certified and trained in CPR. 
  • Ensure that the pool that the instructors use is kept clean and at an appropriate temperature. 

Remember: Swim Lessons Are Not a Substitute for Supervision

It is important for all parents to keep in mind that while swim lessons are helpful and important, they are not a substitute for supervision. You should still watch your children when they are playing and swimming in a pool until they are avid swimmers, which typically isn’t until at least the age of 12. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental injury in infants and toddlers, so it is incredibly important that parents go out of their way to keep their children safe around swimming pools. Here are some poolside safety tips to help you keep your child safe. 

Keep pools covered or fenced off

If you have a pool in your backyard, always keep it covered or fenced off when your child is playing outside. Never let your child play unattended near a pool that is not covered. It is important that if you have a cover over your pool that you ensure it is working properly. Ultimately, it is safest to keep your pool closed off with a child-proof fence. 

Utilize flotation devices

Until your child is an avid swimmer, they shouldn’t be going anywhere near a swimming pool without wearing some type of flotation device. Floaties that cover the arms as well as the chest are some of the safest options since they help keep your child’s entire upper body above the water. 

Learn CPR

As a parent, knowing CPR is incredibly important for a number of reasons. If your child were to fall in the pool, being able to stabilize and resuscitate them until further help arrives is a crucial skill. You can easily sign up for a local CPR class and get certified quickly.

Educate caregivers

If your child is going to be home with a babysitter or family member watching after them, make sure that their caregiver is educated about pool safety. Teach caretakers to never leave your child unattended near the pool and show them how to check that your fence is properly locked. 

Final Thoughts

Swim lessons are an invaluable resource for parents and children. It is important that you pay attention to certain cues from your child and wait until they seem ready to embark on the journey of learning to swim. There is no need to rush the process of swim lessons and pushing children too far out of their comfort zone could ultimately prolong the process. Until they are expert swimmers, always stay within arms reach of your child when near the water. 

The Pop N’ Go Playpen provides a safe place for toddlers and babies to play outside.