When is it right to start signing our kids up for swimming lessons? It’s a question that generally comes with a few assumptions about what lessons look like at different stages of child development.
In my experience, I’ve come across parents with infants that believe water safety classes at 6 months – 1 year are generally less important because the exercises being worked on in these classes are less skill based and more about acclimation. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. If anything, acclimation and water safety classes are the most important steps in teaching our swimmers to be independent around the water as they develop. Often times, when comparing a swimmer who started at 6 months with a swimmer who started at 2 or 3, the difference in comfort around the water is pretty visible.
When swimmers start taking water safety classes early on, and their parents are committed to working through the feedback or resiliency that may come up during our sessions together, those swimmers become accustom to the work and learn to love and respect the water much faster than those that are introduced to the work after they’ve already become comfortable with the control they have on land.
The pool, or any body of water for that matter, is an environment that is never truly 100% within our control at any given time and as children develop beyond infancy, they become comfortable with how their body moves and feels on land. The longer we delay water acclimation, the more uncomfortable that lack of control feels when we start swimming lessons.
Let’s ensure that we’re always giving our children the best possible opportunity to learn water safety and independence by acclimating them to the skills and sensations introduced during infant and young child classes. I promise, it’ll be worth it.