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When do kids typically learn to swim on their own?

im sure it's a matter of comfort, but just ballpark estimate, what age?

my oldest is 4, last year i finally got her over her fear of water. she swam inside a floaty ring made for kids, and once she was comfortable with that, i put her in one of those things that snaps around their back, and they put their arms in. so like arm floaties with an extra thing around their tummy. she got really good with that, although she was terrified at first. she has some anxiety about trying new things, she was terrified to let me give her a piggyback ride too, but once i had her do it, she asks every night since!

so anyway, i cant remember when i was old enough to swim on my own. im thinking around 5 or 6? im sure she could benefit from swim lessons too. all my children could, actually (ages 4, 2, and 1)


Asked by tnm786 at 3:41 PM on Mar. 9, 2011 in General Parenting

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Answers (11)
  • My 2 year old learned to float last summer (turned 2 in 11/2010), but my older ones didn't learn to "swim" until they were 4-5. I taught them.

    Answer by missanc at 3:47 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • No one learns to swim by themselves, they need pointers classes, and be fearless.

    Answer by older at 3:49 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • They might learn to doggie paddle but that is not enough.

    Answer by older at 3:50 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • I would say generally around 4-6. It depends on the child and how fearless or fearful they are. My son only learned last year (6yrs old), and this is only because we got our own pool and he spent every day in it. Prior to that he had three summers of lessons and no one was able to teach him to get his head under. Now he's a fish. If you get kids lessons, make sure you do it all year. Absence from the water gaps their learning, and re-establishes their earlier fears. Good luck. Hope this helps.

    Answer by Marinagraphy at 4:04 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • I used to teach swim lessons to children from 6 months old to (roughly) 5 years old. I taught some of the 6-12 age group too, but mostly the younger age group. As babies they will learn the motor skills to splash around and "swim" but most kids won't really learn swimming skills until closer to 5 years old.


    Answer by Rosehawk at 4:04 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • My son was the same way -- he spent an entire summer hanging out by the stairs and he was 5. My daughter is different. She's going to be four, but she was in the pool with a floaty all last summer. Hoping she learns this summer too, but she's showing anxiety over bath water getting on her face. It's all unnerving. Good luck with your little one.

    Answer by Marinagraphy at 4:17 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • I think it would depend on how much time they spend in the water. I learned to swim at 5 because I had a pool in my back yard and spent my entire summer in it. I learned to swim under water when my mom told me and my friend to hold our noses and then dunked us, lol. When my kids were 7, almost 6 and almost 5 we moved back with my dad (who still has a pool in his yard) they started swimming a lot (well, the older 2, the younger one was terrified of water). They learned to swim as soon as they could touch the bottom in our 4' pool. They learned just like I did by jumping in when they could touch (so no floaties or anything). They are 10, 9 and 8 now and swim pretty good. Enough to get them out of the deep end if they fell in. They went to the public pool and were jumping into the 12' deep section without flinching. And they've never had a lesson.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 6:21 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • right right.. i understand all that. maybe i worded it wrong. when do they learn to swim without floaties assisting them?

    Comment by tnm786 (original poster) at 3:50 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • we havent even tried letting her get her head in the water.. her getting off the steps was accomplishment enough for her LOL im anxious to see how comfortable she will be in the water this summer! =)

    Comment by tnm786 (original poster) at 4:07 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • It is very rare for a child to learn water safety on her or his own. Find a Red Cross swim class

    Answer by rkoloms at 8:13 PM on Mar. 9, 2011