Are any parents teaching their toddlers or young children how to swim themselves or with a baby swim group? I am curious to learn about the benefits of such activities, frequency of swimming sessions and any problems faced, directly from participating parents.

asked 27 Sep '09, 20:11

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 27 Sep '09, 20:50

We take all our boys to swimming lessons every Saturday morning. Due to the difficulties of managing three children with two parents, we didn't start the twins swimming until they were about 2 1/2, but our eldest started much earlier.

We're now at a different pool to the one our eldest started in, with a very significant difference: the twins are in their depth, so spend a fair amount of time walking in the water rather than being carried. This makes an enormous difference to their confidence. For the first couple of weeks, we didn't encourage them to put their feet down, and they were very unhappy - but as soon as they found they could walk (and as soon as we realised that was okay!) it was a completely different story. It's now one of the highlights of our week.

Our eldest son is now a fairly confident swimmer - and has enjoyed lessons an awful lot more now that he's in the pool on his own instead of with us. I think it gives him more of a sense of accomplishment. (It's also easier for us, of course.)

I'd thoroughly recommend getting the kids in the water - and in my experience, earlier is better, but I take the points made by other posts.


answered 28 Sep '09, 06:05

Jon%20Skeet's gravatar image

Jon Skeet
accept rate: 35%

We had my daughter in the pool about 4-5 months and she didn't seem to react much, just floated around like it was a normal thing (kinda strange). At 7 months we started a baby swimming class and she LOVED it.

There were 3 toddlers (2 yrs+) in our class and 3 babies my daughter's age in our class. The older toddlers all seemed to be very nervous about the water, the babies (including my daughter) loved the water and didn't mind even going under the water. The toddler's eventually became more interested in some aspects of the class, but were nowhere near as comfortable as the babies. My daughter (2 1/2) still loves to be in any type of water. We sometimes fill the bathtub quite high so she can "swim." My son went in his first swimming pool at 10 months and loved it right away. So I'm not sure if it's just that my kids love water or if younger is better. From what I've seen the younger the better.

Our baby swim class was 2 times a week and after 5 of the 7 weeks I was kinda bored, but my daughter loved it so much that I signed up for another 7 weeks. I haven't been in a while because as Jon said it's harder with more kids. We've stopped swimming lessons for now, but we swim a lot while we're on vacation at our parent's houses that have pools. :)

The nice thing about swim lessons is that if you take one session you don't really need to go again (unless you like it) because you'll have learned everything you need to know and can teach your kids on your own. It's pretty inexpensive to attend a public 'open day' swim which is what we do now on the weekends when my husband can help.


answered 28 Sep '09, 07:49

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

Thanks :) sounds like the younger the better, I never had the chance to attend classes like that before. Now my daughter whose 5 has swimming lessons at school, so I am no longer part of the process in any case except for holidays at my parents summer house or at the beach!

(28 Sep '09, 15:21) Emi

I've had 2 two very different experiences with swimming lessons. We started our son in swimming lessons when he was about 7 months old and he hated it. So after a few more attempts over the next 18 months we decided to postpone regular lessons until he was 3.5 years old. Although he was nervous to begin with he quickly adapted and now enjoys his lessons (he is now 6 years old). For him I think it was a combination of his personality (he tends to be a bit reserved/anxious sometimes) and the swimming teacher. A good teacher has a tremendous impact on the success rate and to be honest they can be hard to find so ask around for recommendations from friends

Our daughter started lessons when she was 6 months old with a fantasic teacher and she has loved swimming from the very start and is very happy and comfortable in the water. She is 2.5 years old and has had regular lessons for about 2 years and has never had an ear infection (touchwood).

If both you and your child are enjoying lessons it's great to start early but if they find it traumatic take a break and try again when they are more comfortable. However whatever age they start lessons a good swimming teacher is very important consideration.


answered 28 Sep '09, 08:33

npe's gravatar image

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In Canada a child can start swimming lessons as early as 4 months, as long as they can hold their head up. We are encouraged to introduce our children to the water early to get them used to it. We took our daughter to parent and baby swim lessons at 5 months. At first she was fearful of the water but quickly got used to it and now loves to be in the water.


answered 28 Sep '09, 00:09

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

Slightly off topic (as all my answers today seem to be!):

We have been taking our 20mo since he turned 1. He loves it.

However he's rather susceptible to ear infections, so we asked our GP if we should stop the lessons -- at least for a term.

He was horrified! As he says: Many more kids die from drowning than die from an ear infection.

Good point I thought.


answered 04 Oct '09, 04:36's gravatar image
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Seems like the earlier the better, and yes the point you make is important! :) I wonder if earplugs are available for toddlers?

(04 Oct '09, 06:31) Emi

We take our 14 month old to a mommy and me type swim class. She gradually seems more an more comfortable in the water and enjoys it a lot. The pediatrician told us that their association of doctors doesn't recommend swimming until 3 years old. I thought it was due to ear infections but it's actually due to inhaling contaminated water and possibly getting a lung infection.

I suppose this wasn't your exact question but I figured this information might be interesting or helpful to some people who are interested in this topic. Furthermore, in a mommy and me type swim class you do actually do a lot of the teaching yourself (by not totally by yourself, which seems to be the angle of your question). Your question is actually a "yes or no" type question and it might be good elaborate what specific information you are looking for.


answered 27 Sep '09, 20:32

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Simon 3
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Thanks :) I will elaborate.

(27 Sep '09, 20:42) Emi

We started lessons at age 2, and the boys love it. I have seen videos of 2 year olds swimming by themselves - able to turn onto their backs and kick back to the side.


answered 01 Oct '09, 12:04

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Asked: 27 Sep '09, 20:11

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Last updated: 04 Oct '09, 04:36