25 answers

Can a 3 Year Old Really Learn to Swim?

My 3 year old daughter (just turned 3 in April) took swimming lessons last summer, introducing her to the pool. She initially hated it and screamed, wanting out. Then she gradually improved to the point that she enjoyed the water. She's been taking classes for a month so far this year, and loves it...but she still doesn't know how to swim. They focus on putting their faces in the water and blowing bubbles and gradually learning how to kick their feet and move their arms. It's time to sign her up again for another class...but it doesn't sound like she'll be actually swimming on her own in the next class either. Is she still too young to swim on her own? She now loves water to the point that it scares me and I really would like her to learn to really swim. I'm not a good swimmer myself. Thanks in advance!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all of the responses! I did check the infantswim.com website but didn't find any instructors on the southwest side of the metroplex...but I'll keep checking. I'm going to keep my daughter in her swimming lessons for now. They're not perfect, but I think it's still good for her until I find something better. I didn't learn to swim until my early 30's, so I want my kids to learn at a young age. When we go to the lake to feed the ducks, it scares me when she gets too close to the water...even though my husband says he's got her! Knowing that she could swim would give me more peace of mind. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Hi. I noticed several people mentioning ISR swim lessons. I am one of the few people in the area who is certified to teach this technique. I teach students as young as 6 months (if they are crawling) up to 6 yrs. Students under around 14 mo learn to float until someone can get to them, and students older than that learn to swim and float. All lessons are one on one. It's an amazing technique. You can go to www.infantswim.com to watch video and learn more. I have a few openings, so let me know if you're interested.

I. Kohleriter
###-###-####
www.waterkids.com

Emler Swim School is the best! We have been going there since my son was 15 months old and he is a great swimmer! He loves the water! I would highly recommend Miss Carla - she is an absolute doll! She is so patient and sweet - she has 6 kids herself!

Yes. a 3-year-old can learn to swim. My daughter learned at 2. We went to a private teacher at her home. Good Luck!

More Answers

Becky,
I would like to encourage you to look very hard around the metroplex and find someone who teaches swimming using the ISR (Infant Swim Research) style of swim lessons. I moved here from FL nearly five years ago and it is very popular there because FL is covered with retention ponds and drowning is the #1 cause of death in FL for children under 5. Two weeks before my daughter turned 3, she started her lessons. This program is amazing, my daughter took her lessons M-F for 10 minutes. Yes, 10 minutes, that's all it takes. My daughter started on a Monday and by the beginning of her lesson on Wednesday, she was swimming. The idea is to teach your child survival swimming. They learn to swim under water and to roll over and float to rest and breathe and then back under water until they can get to a safe place in the pool (i.e. steps or side). Most kids complete the program in 6 weeks, my daughter took 4. It is pretty pricey, back then, it was $50/week. But it was the BEST $200 I ever spent on my child, I had 99.9% confidence that unless she was unconscious in the water she would not drown if she should fall into a body of water. What's really neat was the very last lesson, I had to bring her fully clothed with shoes and all so the swim teacher could "test" her to see if she were to fall into a pool, could she save herself. It was one of the proudest moments I've had with my daughter. I have to warn you though, that the first few days can be a bit tough watching and you may even need to walk away. In no way do they hurt your child but they do get them under the water from the beginning and until your child learns how important it is to hold her breath, she's not going to like it. But I GUARANTEE withing 3-4 days, you will have a child that can swim alone under water, holding her breath. My daughter swam that way until nearly 5 when she taught herself to doggy paddle. The lady my daughter took her lessons from taught my friends 6 month old son to float on his back, she said they can learn to swim underwater starting at 9-12 months. Could you imagine having that kind of peace of mind? I can't express enough what an amazing program this is.

1 mom found this helpful

Becky,

I 100% agree with Glenda W. on the ISR classes. We have a pool and actually took our infant daughter last year to ISR to teach her just the float portion for safety reasons...just in case. I don't beleive that you can be too safe with this. Anyway, this is her second year and she is 17 months old and learning to swim, float, and get to the edge....SO in answer to you question, 3 is definitely not to you. IRS instructors do 1 on 1 training with the children, and you don't even get into the pool. Like Glenda said it is only 10 minutes, but they catch on very fast and I see anwhere from infant age on up to 4 when we are there. The class is really not for "Fun", but it is designed to teach your child to swim and survive in the water. Most of the children your childs age seem to enjoy it , while mine screams through the whole thing (ugh) any, like I said I cannot put a price tag on her safety. I live in Plano and it is $75 a week, and if your daugher has already started to learn, she will probably catch on pretty fast. You can check to see if you have an instructor closer to you at www.infantswim.com

Best of luck to you!

K.

I moved to Garland when my daughter was two years old, about to turn three in September. We lived in a townhome with a pool. During the summer she wore "floaties" for most of the summer--but hated that she couldn't go into the area where the "big kids" got to swim. I told her she had to swim really well before she could take off the floaties and go into the deeper water. During that one summer she learned to swim like a fish. People were amazed how strong a swimmer she was. So, yes, it is possible. A lot depends on how much they want to learn. My six year old still can't swim that well. He just doesn't have the same "drive" that my daugher did.

i begain swim lessons last year when my oldest turned 3 - it took alot of times going to the pool and well this year he can swim, but not good enought for the swim team KWIM ??

My daughter could swim by herself at this age. But she was around a swimming pool all the time!!

Hi becky -
i agree with many moms here that what you are doing is great, but having taught swim lessons for almost 7 years - red cross, ymca and ellis- it depends on the child and very few children have the coordination, mental development to swim - i realize that some may dog paddle, but few can grasp the concept of what to do in am emergency. Now, i have never heard of the isr, so that could be helpful - all this rambling to say - let your son have fun with it, play around and enjoy the process. there is plenty of time for him to learn strokes - also at this age how vital isit that they learn to "save themselves" they shouldn't be unattended in the water - EVER. And if you have concerns about your own abilty swim where there are lifeguards and share your concerns of your child's swimming ability. You know what could be fun - take private lessons with your son! Both of you could come out on the other end a little more confident - good luck.

Absolutely! We just finished a session at Emler b/c we just built a pool and I wanted her to know how to swim. We tried at the YMCA last summer and it was a disaster and she ended up more scared. Emler was fantastic. My daughter is 4 1/2 and I saw plenty of kids that were much more advanced than she is and far younger too.

Emler Swim School is the best! We have been going there since my son was 15 months old and he is a great swimmer! He loves the water! I would highly recommend Miss Carla - she is an absolute doll! She is so patient and sweet - she has 6 kids herself!

My son took lessons with ISR and was swimming across the pool alone at 18 months. It's amazing what the little ones can do! I definitely recommend Sheri in Plano with ISR (infantswim.com). They teach them to swim-float-swim. Swim under water until they need to rest, then float while resting and swim under again. I think teaching them to rest is one of the most important things.

I think it really depends on who's giving the lessons. Both my kids took lessons through the Y or the local lifeguards at our community pool last year (they were 4 & 2). Both learned to be comfortable in the water, blow bubbles, etc but were nowhere near swimming.
This year I put them in Aquakids. My 5 year old was swimming almost the width of the pool after 4 lessons. My 3 year old was doing really well also until she scared herself, but that's a different issue. If you're using the Y or a community pool you might want to consider a swim school instead.

Of course! If you can swim with her, do it! The early classes are to get them used to the water and make them feel more comfortable. Have her arms out and on her back or belly on the water, with your hands supporting her and teach her hoe to paddle (doggy paddle). Once she gets the hang of it slowly give her more space, but let her know that you will be right there. Soon she will be paddling on her own and keeping here head afloat!

Yes, we taught our nephew to swim at this age, they are not afraid of the water and learn quickly. First we showed him to hold his breath under the water, then we showed him how to float, and then showed him how to swim with floats on his arms then when he got it moved to no floats. Now he jumps in the water in the deep like nothing.

There's a program called Infant Swimming Resource that is a drowning prevention program. There are only 3 instructors in the plano/McKinney area. It is a 6 week program that teaches kids how to do a float/swim/float sequence. I wouldn't say my son can swim, but I know he would know what to do if he fell into the water. I hear kids can't "really swim" until they are about 4 years old. Look us ISR on their website and read more about it. I am VERY impressed with the program.

My 3 yr old started swim lessons in January. 30 mins a week. It seemed very slow going at first. The focus was the same as you daughter, face in, blow bubbles etc. The goal of the class was to swim 5 ft unaided. About a month ago it all came together and she was swimming the length of the pool! My daughter is an older 3 almost 4 yr old. Hope that helps.

AS A FORMER SWIM INSTRUCTOR, YES, YES, YES, a 3 year old CAN LEARN TO SWIM!!!!!!
I had great success with 2 year olds and up. If they are old enough (or probably more accurately, mature enough) to follow commands, they are old enough to learn to swim!!!!! I had babies swimming that could not even talk yet, and by swimming I litteraly mean like 10-15 feet. It is all about technique and getting them comfortable enough to do it the same (or at least very simular) every time.

But a class of several kids is really not the way to do it! It really needs to be a private lesson with 1-on-1 instuction and little distraction (no parents, siblings, other people, activities, etc around) and needs to be done by someone who is trained or experienced in teaching toddlers!

Though I no longer teach, you can e-mail me if you want further ideas/help!

Hope that helps!
T.

My son was swimming by himself when he was 3. But, as someone else said, we have a pool and we have it since he was 2.

No, but they can learn how to get to the side of the pool and hold on to the edge if they fall in. I believe strongly that swimming lessons for 2 and 3 year olds is very important. If you have her in a class that teaches her not to panic if she falls in and how to get to the side and hold on. I have known several families that had a swimming pool and had a child drown. It usually happens when there is a large group of people in the pool and everyone else thinks the other is watching the little ones. Don't think that they will be loud or scream. They never make a sound. Don't give up. It is setting a foundation for her not to panic in the water. You are doing good.

I think it's great that you are putting your child in swim lessons so she won't have a fear of water. Personally, I think all children should learn how to swim. Maybe you need to find a swim class that has a small ratio between teacher/students. If your daughter loves the water now she'll be more determined to swim.

Yes. a 3-year-old can learn to swim. My daughter learned at 2. We went to a private teacher at her home. Good Luck!

YES!
Not with the proper strokes ofcourse. My middle one learned to swim last summer, he was 2 years and 5 months. First he could only swim underwater, but after two weeks he had the strenght to pull his head out of the water and take a breath. He swam the whole length of a swimming pool.

Good luck,
I.

Yes, children can learn to swim at 3. I took my children in at 6 months and they were swimming then but an ear infection made us quit and at 2 and half for my daughter she would not do anything the teacher told her. I believe if you listen to the instructor you can teach them. We used a toy that they swam to then we got farther and farther away. Soon my kids were swimming. But the more they are in water they will learn. I get so mad at people that dunk kids and put the face in first. There is a way to take then from the edge where the water hits the top of the head first then it is shoved away from the nose. When they get water up their noses they get scared. Mostly common sense. I taught my children to swim and to ski. A life jacket is fun too. They start to float and realize they are not drownding. They soon learn to rely on them selves. Keep trying the best part is your little one is not afraid of the water and will get braver as time goes on. My granddaughter took one session of lessons at age 5 and that is all it took. She swims all over. I have no fear she can hang on and go or swim across. Good Luck and happy swimming. Just make sure she knows mommy and daddy need to be there. G. W

Kids learn at different rates and at different times. She will learn. My son started when he was one, he's 12 now and on a swim team. My daughter started when she was two, and in seven now. Be patient and it helps if you get in the pool with them.

Hi. I noticed several people mentioning ISR swim lessons. I am one of the few people in the area who is certified to teach this technique. I teach students as young as 6 months (if they are crawling) up to 6 yrs. Students under around 14 mo learn to float until someone can get to them, and students older than that learn to swim and float. All lessons are one on one. It's an amazing technique. You can go to www.infantswim.com to watch video and learn more. I have a few openings, so let me know if you're interested.

I. Kohleriter
###-###-####
www.waterkids.com

I know what you are talking about, when I put my oldest in a swim class, he still didn't know how to learn. I have thought about a private instructor, but yesterday I was looking on Mamasource home page and looked under Local Business Reviews and came across a site called Infant Swimming Resource, it has not been reviewed yet. The site though talkes about teaching children as young as 6 months what to do if they do fall into water to save themselves. It has a video that shows you what they are taught. It doesn't say that it teaches them how to swim actually, but that is what they are doing. I was going to find out more info on it to see if it would be what I am looking for. Maybe it might be worth a look at for you.

Yes Becky she can. My daughter has been swimming by herself (not unattended though) since she was 2 1/2. We lived in Ft. Lauderdale, and it was vital to us that she learn quickly, so we started her in lessons at 4 months. She is now 4 and she is quite the fish! Good luck with your efforts. It does seem like you need a place that is a little more agressive with teaching her though.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.