How Early Should your Child Start Swim Lessons?
The benefits of starting swimming lessons under age 4
As a parent, you may wonder what is the right age for your child to begin swimming lessons. The goal of professional swimming lessons is to teach kids to feel comfortable and safer in or around the water, so the sooner they begin lessons, the better. At Ocaquatics, babies as young as 6 months can be introduced to swimming through Parent and Me classes where they are accompanied by parents or caregivers in the pool for 30-minute lessons. Let’s explore the benefits of early childhood swimming lessons.
1. Starting swim lessons early will build your child’s confidence
Swimming lessons help young children build confidence in the water, and also in themselves. As children progress through lessons and gain new skills, they build confidence in their abilities and progress. Fun games and songs create a positive learning environment where children learn to interact with others in a group setting, and build self-esteem.
Early swimming lessons can also prevent your child from developing a fear of water. Fear will not necessarily diminish with age. Older kids who have never had real exposure to the water may be reluctant to learn how to swim later on, which often results in adults who are fearful of the water or unable to swim. Parents can begin by getting babies used to splashing and playing in water at home in the bathtub, then graduate to formal lessons with certified and specially trained instructors starting at 6 months of age.
2. Swim lessons can help save lives.
While you never want to leave any child near the water without adult supervision, no matter how much instruction they’ve had, swim lessons have been shown to make children safer and reduce drowning risks. Statistics show that drowning and water-related incidents are the leading cause of death in Florida for children under 5 years old. A study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found swim lessons can reduce drowning risks by 88% for children between the ages of 1-4 years old.
At this age, the goal is not to teach form or specific strokes, but float-swim techniques that are designed for emergency situations. These lessons teach young children to hold their breath, kick to the surface, and roll over onto their backs. As they become more comfortable, they can learn to swim toward a wall or steps and then return to their backs for rest periods, repeating the sequence until they reach safety.
3. Swimming lessons make kids smarter
Naturally, as a cardiovascular activity, swimming lessons promote heart and lung health, strength, endurance and balance. You may be surprised to learn that swimming also makes kids smarter.
The Griffith Institute of Educational Research found that children who participated in early childhood swimming lessons were, on average, eleven months ahead of the normal population in oral expression, six months ahead in Mathematics reasoning and two months ahead in brief Reading.
The study also showed that children who learned to swim at an early age also displayed improvements in emotional intelligence. Young swimmers displayed a better understanding of direction, adaptability and improved social interaction compared to the rest of the population.
At Ocaquatics, our mission is to teach families to love swimming and to become safer, more comfortable and more responsible around the water – while having FUN. If you’re interested in swimming lessons to help your child feel safer, smarter and confident, contact Ocaquatics today!