How long before my child learns to swim

FitnessParenting Tips

Before we start, we need to remember that your child is unique. The rate at which children learn to swim varies widely and depends on several factors, including the child’s age, comfort level in the water, previous exposure to swimming, and the quality of instruction. Here are some general guidelines that will help you with your expectations:

Age and Learning Speed

  1. Infants (0-2 years)
    • Focus: We are looking at working on water familiarity and comfort
    • Learning Speed: Infants can be introduced to water through play-based activities. While they won’t learn traditional swimming strokes, they can become comfortable with the water and learn basic skills like blowing bubbles and floating with assistance.
  2. Toddlers (2-4 years)
    • Focus: We are looking at working on basic water skills and safety
    • Learning Speed: Toddlers can start learning fundamental skills such as kicking, arm movements, and floating independently. Some may start to coordinate these movements into a rudimentary dog paddle or similar stroke. Consistent practice can lead to basic swimming abilities within several months to a year.
  3. Preschoolers (4-6 years)
    • Focus: We are looking at working on fundamental swimming techniques
    • Learning Speed: At this age, children can learn more structured swimming strokes and water safety skills. With regular lessons (typically once or twice a week), many children can achieve basic swimming proficiency within 6-12 months, but again does depend on their exposure prior to lessons.
  4. School-aged Children (6+ years)
    • Focus: We are looking at developing and refining strokes
    • Learning Speed: Older children can learn and refine various swimming strokes more quickly. With consistent practice, they can progress quite quickly from beginners to good swimmers, often mastering multiple strokes in around a year.

But don’t forget there are factors that will influence the learning speed:

  • Individual Comfort Level: Children who are naturally comfortable in the water may learn faster than those who are initially fearful.
  • Previous Exposure: Kids with prior exposure to water, even through casual play, often progress faster.
  • Frequency of Lessons: Regular, consistent practice speeds up learning. Ideally, children should have at least one or two lessons per week.
  • Quality of Instruction: Experienced, Empathetic and skilled instructors can significantly enhance the learning process by providing clear guidance and encouragement.
  • Parental Support: Positive reinforcement and encouragement from parents can boost a child’s confidence and interest in swimming.

Learning Environment

  • Group vs. Private Lessons: Every child is different, some children thrive in group settings where they can observe and interact with peers, while others may benefit more from the individualised attention of private lessons.  Remember one size does not fit all and you can change at any time from one to the other.
  • Consistency: Regular attendance and practice are key to quicker learning. Sporadic lessons can lead to slower progress.

General Timeline

  • Basic Skills: Most children can learn basic swimming skills, such as floating and basic strokes, within 3-6 months of regular lessons.
  • Proficiency: Achieving proficiency, where a child can swim independently and confidently for a distance, typically takes 6-12 months.
  • Advanced Skills: Developing advanced techniques and endurance can take several years of continuous practice and instruction.

It’s important to focus on making swimming a fun and enjoyable experience to foster a lifelong love for the water.  At Swim-With-Me our focus is just that – we work towards swimmers being proficient in water as soon as possible along with our water safety elements in every lesson.  We work towards developing confident, competent swimmers through building block practices that develop strong and permanent techniques.



Why choose Swim-With-Me?

Because we have the qualities and qualifications that set us apart!