When should my child begin swim lessons?

  • [Posted: June 11, 2018]

    At Splash Swim School, we believe you only get one chance to be a beginner; while this may seem like an obvious statement, for us, it’s very important that all aspects of your child swim experience match up to ensure they are completely sold on swimming, as a hobby, as a pastime and a skill for life.

    Some join around the time they start school and thrive, other parents choose to wait until the child has settled at school, before undertaking an activity.

    Based on sound educational psychology, a child should be emotionally and physically ready to participate in a lesson.

    Usually the child will have started play school or school.
    Please consider the following questions:
    Is your child currently attending any other activity classes?
    Has your child expressed interest in swimming/ do they want to learn to swim?
    Have you discussed swimming lessons with your child?

    If the answers to the above questions are yes, please continue!

    We ask that your child aged four, can make eye contact, can accept instruction and attempt what is asked of them. Even though your three year old may be physically strong enough to join in a group, there may be other swimmers aged six or even seven beginning in the group. We don’t believe it is fair to expect a three year old to try and match the maturity of an older child.

    In return we try to ensure there is no more than four swimmers in your child’s lesson. We try to match up personalities, the correct time and day, so that no parent arrives at the pool hurried and stressed! Please see how beginner lessons are conducted.

    The teacher joins them in the water, to scaffold self confidence and to ensure their safety. We don’t believe in using arm bands, as we want your child to actively participate in achieving buoyancy. We feel arm bands do this work for them. Floating with arm bands is great fun and often a must, if a number of family members are visiting the pool together.

    However, while it may take some time, it’s very important to us that your child understand their role in learning to float. We use woggles and floats to ensure your child develops the correct arm pull and leg kick, for the chosen stroke.

    If you feel the above environment is suitable for your little fish, then they most likely are ready for lessons. What if my child isn’t settling at lessons?

    If you child starts an activity and simply hasn’t settled.

    If your child finds waiting difficult (very common for aged three to four) then another few months isn’t big issue. If they find processing instruction a challenge, then visit the pool with them, as often as possible, and reconsider lessons next term.

    Rather than forcing a child to continue, we advocate taking a step back.

    Have they recently recovered from an illness? Are they undergoing a change at school (a new teacher for example?) Is there a new arrival at home?

    Quite often, a reluctance to settle in a new activity can be traced to some other event. Have a talk with your child. Maybe take a few weeks out, to allow them to adjust and then decide, with their agreement, what the course of action should be. We have many successful swimmers who experienced a ‘speed wobble’ in the initial weeks.

    Give a child space- they will often surprise you!

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