How old should my child start swim lessons?
This question is not as easy as a lot of swim instructors claim it is, but the basic rule of thumb is "the earlier the better". You just have to be aware of the what each age group can actually accomplish do to motor control and over all physical strength. So here is a quick break down of the ages up to five years old.
Under 1 years old: infants will be able to hold their breath, float and roll over to their backs. Once on their backs you can teach them to cry for help. Some people call this drown proofing thier baby, although the truth is you can never drown proof anyone. Everyone can be at risk no matter the talent or age.
1-2 years old: If your child is walking then they can kick. It can be time consuming to get your child's kick to propel them forward but once they get it down they can kick to safety.
2-3 years old: Once they can kick from point A to point B, it is time to get them to use their arms. You can and should begin to teach them how to breathe and swim at the same time. This will be challenging, but is needed for future development.
3-4 years old: Once they can use their arms teach them to breath. Breathing can be the hardest part for anyone to master. Whether they did it last year or not, it is now crucial for you to push this skill.
4-5 years old: Once your child aquires all of the above skills it is time to start introducing them to all of the different stroked and techniques. The earlier you start taching them the differences, the better equipped their muscles will be when you enroll them in a swim team.
Overall every child is different, every parent pushes their child at a different pace, and every swim teacher teaches a little differently. By following these basic guidelines you will be able to begin to teach your child to be water safe.
*Remember this is in no way "drown proofing" your child. During each of these steps your child should be accompanied by a responsible and water safe adult.