As a swim school owner, I almost never get this question. Most people agree that swimming is an important life skill that is beneficial, even necessary, to learn. To many, being in the water is second nature, like riding a bicycle; to some, however, it is a source of fear and can be daunting.
So when is the right time to begin lessons? Our answer is always ‘As soon as possible’; the key is to start young! My children began swimming at 6 weeks old, as did I. Many families worry about the safety of an infant beginning at such a young age, but studies show that infants are perfectly comfortable in the water and maintain aquatic instincts from the womb.
Before the age of 2, children often have an under-developed sense of fear – they are constantly challenging new boundaries, from walking, to climbing etc. So why not help them explore the water as well? Positive water exposure is imperative before 6 months and should be incorporated into infants’ crucial developmental stages in order to prepare your little ones for enjoying their swim time in the future.
“But what can I do if I’m afraid of water?” This question often plagues concerned parents who may have never learned to swim, or had negative experiences in the past. Sound familiar?
This is where the professional expertise of a swim school can help you out. Whether you choose to enter the water with your little swimmer, or have a confident companion go with them while you proudly watch from the deck, you may find that you will learn even more about water safety, water confidence and positive association than your child does.
As children grow older, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get them comfortable in the water. With cognitive development, many of their earlier instincts give way to learned thoughts and behaviors. At this point, swimming lessons encompass not only physical skills, but also exercises in self-trust, instructor trust and overcoming the fears that have developed through their experiences. Swimming lessons may be a source of anxiety, although we find that most kids’ fears are short-lived once their instructors help in building their confidence in the water.
“What about me?” is a very popular question at our swim school! Many adults spend the majority of their lives avoiding swimming pools, lakes and oceans, possibly missing out on many social events and memories with friends and family. At Davina’s, we firmly believe that it is never too late to learn! When it comes to adult lessons, it is mainly a mental game – our bodies are fully developed and equipped with the ability to swim.
There is no real answer to the question “when is the right time to start swimming?” – as realistically, the answer is as soon as YOU are ready!