I think this question may vary for every family. However, living in South Florida, where bodies of water are in nearly every corner (whether a pool, canal or the ocean), I believe this topic often gets overlooked; learning to swim should be a priority in every family dynamic. Learning to swim plays a crucial role in helping to prevent drowning, which is a leading cause of death amongst children.
With my oldest daughter, I experienced a child who feared having water touch her face. The thought of making her suffer through swimming classes made me postpone the start of enrolling her in swimming classes until she was seven years old. Although most kids her age already knew the basics of swimming, she caught on quickly in just a few swimming lessons.
With my youngest, when she was just a year old, my husband and I decided to enroll her at the same swim school we had enrolled my oldest a few years back since we had great results. We lived in a house with a pool, and she loved splashing away on the weekend. However, because of her age, a parent was required to get into the pool and was group-based. We attended these classes for almost two months and saw no advancement, and instead, my daughter ended up fearing the "Humpty-Dumpty" dump in the pool.
Fast forward a few years. My youngest turned five this year, and I decided to sign up for private swimming lessons in our local community. The two-week program consists of teaching vital survival skills for staying safe. My daughter completed her first week, and I have already noticed a significant improvement. With our upcoming vacation, we would be near a pool or beach almost the entire time. This took me back to our cruise vacation we took nearly two years ago in which we forgot to take floaties, and my daughter thought she could float around the pool by herself.
So you ask when is the best age to teach a child how to swim? The answer is simple: start as soon as possible. Most swim schools begin at 6 months old. Classes typically run for 30 minutes and include ten sessions. Although I wish we had started sooner, I am glad that we got started now! Once she completes the program, I will be signing up for weekly privates to maintain the techniques learned. As we all know, if we don't continue practicing, we will lose it very quickly.
As a busy mom, working a full-time job and also building our online business, here are a few SIMPLE tips to make this attainable:
Find a local swim school located in the area of your home/child's school and your workplace.
Schedule classes during your lunch break.
Prep a swim bag and lunch/snacks. Again, keep it simple - swimsuit, pool sandals, sunscreen, detangler, hairbrush, towel, change of clothes.
Enjoy the moments and take pictures!