Why You Should Start Your Kids Swimming at a Young Age

A young boy wearing goggles uses a training kickboard while learning to swim in a pool.

Even if your child can doggy paddle with the best of them, they might need to be more proficient to use the pool safely. Teaching your kids to swim young will lower some safety risks and raise the fun you and your family can have in your pool or a natural body of water near you.

When Should Kids Start Swimming Lessons?

Although it will vary from child to child, the best ages to start swimming lessons are between 1 and 4. The goal of early swimming lessons is to familiarize children with water. Sometimes referred to as “water survival classes,” they’re designed to help young children learn the basics that can help them survive in a pool in the event of an accident. The skills your kids will learn might help them prevent drowning for seconds, but they should never be treated as a substitute for supervision.

How Long Does It Take Kids to Learn to Swim?

If you start your kids in swim lessons between ages 1 and 4, they will probably be confident swimmers by age 5 or 6. Remember, just because your child demonstrates movements used in swimming doesn’t mean they know how to use them to swim or survive in the water. It’s important to reinforce their natural movements with formal swimming lessons that will cover the movements needed to swim safely.

When Can Kids Swim Unsupervised?

The short answer is never. Even if your children have been taking lessons, it’s never a good idea to let them use the pool unsupervised; you should at least be poolside. Drowning risk can be decreased but never entirely removed. No matter how experienced a swimmer you or your child are, always swim with a buddy.

Tips for Teaching Kids to Swim

Although children must take lessons with a trained professional, you can assist them in becoming safe and confident swimmers by continuing their teaching at home. Different levels will require different certifications, with Levels 1-3 needing a Basic Swim Instructor certification while Levels 4-6 require a Water Safety Instructor certification.

Work with your child on what they’ve been learning in their lessons and familiarize them with your pool.

  • Identify dangers. Identify and explain the drains and skimmers and how they must avoid these areas to prevent getting stuck or sucked down under the water. While your child is still developing as a swimmer, they might not be able to swim strongly enough to escape the pull of a drain.
  • Keep them in the shallows. Keep your child in the shallowest part of the pool until your child becomes a strong swimmer. Encourage them to practice their skills and explore slightly deeper water when you’re in the pool with them; otherwise, keeping them where they can touch the bottom is a good idea.
  • Support your child (emotionally and physically). Although cheering on your student while they learn to swim is great, you can also support them physically by practicing various strokes and kicks, helping them build the necessary muscle memory to swim.
  • Make it fun. Swimming is supposed to be fun. Even though there are serious risks, you shouldn’t try to scare your child into being safe. Explain how safe swimming is the most fun swimming and work with them to enjoy the pool with adult supervision.

For Additional Pool Safety, Turn to America’s Swimming Pool Company

Pool Safety doesn’t stop with learning how to swim. Turn to America's Swimming Pool Company for inspection and repair services that will ensure you and your family can relax and focus on helping your young children learn to swim. Make your pool safer by requesting service online or calling (866) 253-0455 today.