Swim Lessons - 4 Yr Old

Updated on June 19, 2012
R.F. asks from Richmond, TX
15 answers

I'm placing my daugher in swim lessons Wed. This will be the first time. Does anyone have any experience w/this? If so about how many sessions did it take your child to learn?

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answers from Kansas City on

Well, what does she do already? Like can she float, does she go underwater, etc.? My daughter started lessons at 2 years old but she was has been going underwater and trying to swim on her own her whole life. She is now 4.5 and swims quite well underwater but I still put her in swimming lessons to learn extra skills, work on the skills she already has and practice, practice, practice!

If she doesn't really have many water skills right now then I'd say you should keep her in lessons for a while. She will probably need at least 6-8 sessions this summer to get her comfortable.

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answers from San Antonio on

My five year old has decided this summer that she does not want lessons...she is happy to float around in her floaties...and refused to participate in class. So I canceled her class (what pay good money for her to do nothing...wouldn't even put her face in the water...

My seven year old can't wait for class...he wants to learn and is super ready to go and does everything the instructor tells him. He is swimming already now learning strokes.

Maybe my five year old will be ready next year...I am not pushing it.

So with a four year old it could go either way...

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answers from Minneapolis on

It depends on what you mean by "to learn". They will gradually learn more about staying afloat and be able to swim further and use different strokes, etc. It will depend on the child's aptitude and willingness.

My daughter started going to the pool with a YMCA teacher (that's where she was in daycare) at six months old and at age 9 she completed all of their swim levels. She is now in Swim Crew which is preparation for either Swim Team or Lifeguarding training once she's old enough for that.

There wasn't a particular age that I considered her able to swim, it always depends on the circumstances. Here in Minnesota we have a lot of lakes which always require caution. In pools, I am quite confident of her abilities and have been for several years.

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answers from Minneapolis on

We started my son at 2 and he has been in every session (13 weeks) except for 1 ever since (he's 4 1/2 now). He will probably go until he's 6, at least that's waht I would anticipate at this point. A lot depends on how comfortable they are in the water and their coordination. My son can do what he needs to but it isn't very smooth. I just want him to be able to get safely to the side but he still needs some time. We started at our community center but switched to a swim school which we found to be much more effective for him.

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answers from San Antonio on

My son is four and is on his 3rd round of lessons. We started last summer when he was 3, I wanted him to be able to get to the side of the pool safely by himself, should he need to. Those were private and one on one. His second set of lessons were at the Y this past spring, and they did a lot of stuff he already had learned, so it was a good refresher course. He is now back to one-on-one lessons, that just started last week. He can doggy paddle (after about his 4th lesson) and is working on a basic crawl stroke. He can also under-water dive to get a toy or dive stick. I would say total, he has probably been to 17 lessons, 9 private and 9 at the Y, although, again, the Y ones were pretty repetitive.

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answers from Dallas on

At your first lesson, they will probably assess his skill and comfort level in the water to determine where he should start for learning. If she's afraid of the water, she'll be learning to become comfortable in the water. If she likes the water, she'll probably start out learning things like how to monkey walk on the side of the pool, how to get in/out of the pool, floating on her back, blowing bubbles, etc.

My daughter started as soon as she turned 3, and she has attended 1/2 hr group sessions twice a week almost continually since then. It's hard to say how long it took for her to learn to swim, but she was in the highest level preschool class within about 8 months. They won't promote her to the elemetary levels until she's 6, but I keep her in the preschool lessons almost year 'round to have her continue mastering the strokes and gaining strength in the water. He'll probably learn the basics to monkey walk and pull himself in/out of the water by the end of the first or second round of lessons. (A round of lessons here is usually 6-8 lessons.)

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answers from Los Angeles on

All kids are different.

My kids all learned to swim in less then a week once we (and when I say 'we' I mean 'me' I taught all 3 of my kids to swim) started. All had 'lessons' but all knew how to swim before I put them in.

~We own a pool so it was imperative that they all be strong swimmers, and like ASAP!


answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is almost 6 and we started w/mommy n me when she was 2(screamed and hated the the lessons when she was 2 and now she would live in the pool if she could). She learned when she was 3 (2 mo of weekly swim lessons in summer).Its kind of a process, first they learn to be comfortable w/water and then learn to pull themselves out on the side (save themselves basically). They learn how to blow bubble, float and use a kickboard. Somehow this all comes together and then they learn how to dog paddle (swim). Your daughter is older so I think it will take less time to learn how to swim. If you have a pool or access to one, use it and have her practice what she learns at class and this will help her learn quicker. When my daughter was almost ready to swim the instructor told us when practicing not to let her use the floaties b/c she needed to learn how to swim without them, and this really speeded up her learning to swim. This summer my daughter can swim laps, but she does have pools to practice in and b/c we live in the desert, we frequent them :)



answers from Houston on

my guys were swimming across the pool and on the swim team at
3 1/2, but were burned out before they got to the next level (above 6).
In my experience, the lessons were more for me than my kids, so that
I would know how to teach and reinforce what they learned.


answers from Grand Forks on

Learn to what? Dog paddle, front crawl, life saving? Swimming lessons usually last years. My boys (7&10) both started parented lessons as toddlers, then graduated to unparented lessons at the age of three. They have weekly lessons at the YMCA from September to June, and I usually put them in two weeks of daily lessons over the summer.



answers from Austin on

There are several factors that will go into your daughter's success. I taught swimming for many years, from infants to adults. Every individual is different. What I can tell you is that it is generally much easier to teach children than adults. Children have less inhibition and lack the fear most adult learners have established. Be patient, this is most likely not going to be a one shot deal. It may take several lessons for her to be a full on swimmer. The best thing you can do for your daughter is to get her into the water as much as possible. Not as "practice" or "work", try keep it fun. The more comfortable she is in the water, the faster she will learn to swim. My son was born in mid March, by May he was in the water. He could swim 25 meters unassisted before he was 3. Was it a perfect freestyle or breast stroke? No, but he was comfortable and confident and I was always right there for moral support. He knew when he felt tired to just roll on his back and relax. If he truly started to panic, I was an arm's reach away. He is now 6, still without a "text book" stroke, but I am more concerned with safety than how pretty it is. You are doing the right thing by putting her in lessons. It may seem like it is taking forever, but be patient, it will be worth it. It is much easier for her to learn now than as an adult, and I truly believe it is an essential life skill. Good luck!!



answers from Victoria on

Our son started when he was 2 it is/was a two week course. He cried and I had to sit out of sight (teachers in the water). The first four days were all tears but he swam across the pool in the deep end. He is now 4 and were going next week again. This is the main time he actually swims for two weeks I will take him until he is about six unless he still needs improvement! I have video of him swimming across at 2.

Of course take all the reg stuff, towels, sun block but dont forget the first aid kit...seems like they scrape or a bee or something always happens at the pool.



answers from Los Angeles on

We did swim lessons last year shortly after my daughter turned 4. It was 12 sessions. They really made a lot of progress! I am eager to start again next week (she's 5 now) and see how she improves this year.

After the first round last summer, she got comfortable doing short swims with her face under the water, back and forth between an adult and the steps. Heading toward being "water safe" (they really emphasized water safety and talking to the kids about pool rules and stuff). I personally did not feel she was "water safe" after last summer because I think she would panic quickly if she fell in or lost steam trying to swim. BUT she started the sessions just sitting on the step, not wanting to put her face in, and they got her actually swimming forward with her face in and keeping herself bouyant.

They warned us we would be backtracking this year because they would have forgotten everything they learned last summer... but MIL has a pool and has been working with her so is she right where we left off.

It really was an amazing process to watch (I thought)... there were a couple lessons in the middle that really seeemed brutal, like they were pushing the kids to the limits of their comfort zones, and it was tough to watch. But suddenly it clicked and the kids all just took to it.

Our swim lessons were in a private home, by a mom and grandma who have been teaching the local kids for years. Like, people my age learned to swim there and now their kids are learning to swim. The mom's sons hop in the pool and help out too (10 &12) so it's a family affair. They were awesome.



answers from Austin on

Make sure the instructor keeps it fun. If you have access to a pool, go often and keep it fun. Don't "practice" what she worked on in the lesson, just do it yourself and have fun copying each other. The more fun she sees it, the more relaxed she will be.


answers from Columbia on

I put my boys in a class every year from age 5 to age 8. Three years, three classes. Took them to the YMCA.

Yes, they were swimming after the first class, but putting them in the next level class the next year increased their confidence and ability.

I didn't worry too much about how long or how many classes. Just listened to the instructors and put them in whichever classes they thought were best. They're the pros.

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