Some kids can start as infants — with you in a Baby and me class. Some can’t. My oldest son was a fish in the YWCA and Millcreek swim classes at age 3, but my daughter wasn’t keen on the whole thing as a baby. She liked saying and doing the “kicky, kicky, kicky” part, but that was about it. We started her again when she had friends she could hang out with.
My youngest son battled ear infections and every time we signed him up for swim classes, he never made it through the classes. But when neighbors installed a pool, he became a great swimmer at age 5. The main thing: Give your kids the opportunity to learn, but don’t push too hard. Just like all kids learn to talk and walk at different ages — they’ll take to the water when they are ready.
What I learned: Unless you are a professional, sign your kids up with a pro — it’s much easier and more fun for you and your child. And be prepared for them to fail at some things. They may never get the breathing down on the crawl but master the butterfly or backstroke with ease.
Encourage them at every level. Remember, It takes a lot of endurance for little kids to swim across the width of a pool let alone a length of the pool. But before you know it, they’ll be swimming lengths … and loving it. Click on the link for an age by age guide from Parents magazine.