Plus, I think that swimming is a really great life skill to have. But then, how old is too old to start?
To help you figure out the best age to start swimming lessons, here’s a guide to different swim levels, what they entail, and what age is ideal for each.
How old is too old to start?
There’s no magic number for starting lessons. There’s no set guideline that says you can start lessons when you’re three or four or five or six or seven or eight. That’s because there’s no universal answer to this question.
What we do know, however, is that the younger the child is, the better. This is because kids will usually learn to swim faster and more effectively if they learn earlier in life.
There are lots of reasons for this. First of all, kids have stronger body parts than adults, so their bodies can stay in shape better. This can translate to more strength in their muscles, which helps them swim better. They also have much more muscular and vascular systems in their bodies than adults.
But what do the experts say?
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has a new guideline that says kids should start swimming lessons around age 1.
However, the American Red Cross recommends that kids between the ages of 4 and 13 get swimming lessons.
While your family’s circumstances and pool experience will differ, I recommend age 4 as the cutoff age for classes. Still, you shouldn’t force your child to get lessons if they don’t want to.
What are different swim levels for kids?
In the US, the American Red Cross determines the primary level of swimming instruction.
Ages 1 to 3 is called “infant swimming class.” Infant swimming class is for kids who can’t yet swim alone but can float for a few seconds.
The second level of swimming instruction is the pre-school swimming class. This level is for young learners who can swim with assistance and or by themselves. Still, they need a parent or guardian present while they’re in the water.
The third level of swimming instruction is called swimming lessons. This swim level is for kids aged 4 and older. Here, kids learn about warm-ups, exercises, dives, dry-land activities, drills, and more.
The American Red Cross also has a list of “blue water” levels of swimming instruction that kids need to learn.
Safe start swimming programs
Every second is critical, especially for young learners. You never know what might happen the moment you take your eye off them. Well, you can have peace of mind by enrolling in YMCA safe start swimming survival program. Here, swim instructors combine swimming lessons and lifesaving skills. Hence, young learners can feel more safe, secure, and confident.
How long does it take to learn swimming?
The answer to this common question varies from person to person. Some people learn how to swim in less than a day. For others, it may take months to learn how to swim.
But all factors held constant; the average adult will pick up swimming in about 20 hours of swimming lessons. Young kids aged 2-3 taking 30-minute lessons per week swim confidently within 12 months. On the other hand, children aged 3 years and above will be able to swim in about 6 months.
Factors affecting the learning curve
Several factors affect the learning curve. Such factors will determine how fast you pick up swimming. Such factors include:
Frequency & consistency
How long it will take you to learn to swim depends on how much time you dedicate to it. If you keep pool lessons consistent and take more lessons per week, you’ll progress at a much faster rate.
Motor skills/fitness level
How long it takes to learn to swim also depends on your current level of fitness. If you’re fit and with better-developed motor skills, you’ll pick up swimming faster.
Quality of instruction
It’s a no-brainer that a great instructor will speed up the learning process. This is because they have more experience and knowledge regarding teaching methods.
Fear of water
Most beginners may need to acclimatize themselves to the water. This can take some time, hence lengthening the learning process.
What you can do to speed up the learning process
Here are some great tips you can use to learn to swim in less time.
Swim in groups
Swimming in groups will keep you motivated. But for better and faster results, you’ll need a more experienced swimming partner.
Find a great instructor
Don’t worry too much about the cost. Instead, find a great swimming teacher with a wealth of experience and skills. Also, they should specialize in what you’re looking for. Kids, for instance, need a teacher who caters to young learners.
Set measurable, time-bound goals
Setting goals will help you stay consistent and focused. Also, you can set realistic goals by seeking advice from your swimming instructor.
Spend more time in the water
By spending more time in the water, you’ll be able to swim faster. Instead of fitting one lesson per week into your schedule, you can do 2-3.
Invest in decent swimming gear
You’ll face challenges throughout your swimming journey. To be on edge, invest in decent swimming gear. A decent pair of goggles, for instance, will help you battle eye discomfort.
Swimming lessons are a great way to teach children to be safe around water, build their confidence, and develop their swimming skills.
There is no “best age” to start. It will depend on a child’s development, readiness, and the swim instructor’s teaching style. But it’s never too late to start!