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When is the best time to learn to swim? Before you have to.
Learning to swim gives children and adults a skill that can protect them from accidental drowning; it can literally save lives.  What’s more, you only have to learn to swim once to have a whole lifetime’s protection; it’s like riding a bike – you never forget how to do it.

Of course, on a lighter note, when you learn to swim, you can also benefit in many other ways:

Swimming is a brilliant way to keep fit

• It opens the door to other water sports like snorkelling, scuba diving, canoeing and water skiing, etc

• Swimming is a requirement for some professions

• It’s a lot of fun!

So whichever way you look at it, the best time to learn to swim is as soon as you can!

When can a baby learn to swim?
Babies do not have the co-ordination to actually swim properly until they are two or three years old, but early
baby swimming lessons (from about four months old) can teach babies to enjoy being in the water, and to feel confident and relaxed about it – and that’s a fantastic start! Children as young as two and three can learn to swim underwater and learn to be safe around water.

Time spent together in the water is also an excellent way to develop the level of bonding, trust and communication between a young child and the parent.

To prevent accidents in the pool, special swim nappies are available for babies and toddlers who are not yet potty trained.

The best way for children to learn to swim
Learning to swim doesn’t just ‘come naturally’ to most children – they need support to build up their confidence in the water and different children progress at different speeds. No child should ever be pushed beyond his or her level of confidence in the water; apart from being unkind, it can have long term effects. Many a swim-phobic adult still remembers being thrown in the deep end as a child.

Supportive swimming lessons with a certified instructor can ensure that your child:

• develops a healthy relationship with the water

• learns correct swimming techniques

• is aware of water safety.

When choosing a swim school for your child, make sure the approach is about providing motivation without pressure – and having fun!

Is it too late to learn to swim as an adult?
Not at all. Adults who have never learned to swim can attend lessons and develop their swimming skills at any time of life. Many adults simply never had the opportunity to learn to swim whilst younger.

In many cases, people choose to learn to swim as adults because they feel that although they can swim ‘after a fashion’, they would like to learn to swim properly. Lessons with a qualified instructor or swimming school can teach correct technique and enable you to get the maximum possible benefit out of swimming as a form of exercise.

For some people, the idea of learning to swim as an adult is quite frightening. They may feel anxious about coming to swimming at a late stage. Or they may actually have avoided learning to swim for so long because they have a fear of the water. Such fears can almost always be overcome in a supportive environment.

How to overcome fear of swimming
For many people, the fear of swimming has arisen out of a specific frightening experience of near-drowning as a child. For others, the fear is more general – they may see the water as an unfamiliar element where they feel out of control. Many people are scared to put their face in the water or to breathe out whilst under water.

For anyone who has a fear of swimming, one-to-one private tuition is likely to be the most effective approach to learning to swim. And with the right support, it is usually possible for most people to overcome fear of swimming.

The first step is to build confidence and relaxation in the water, using gentle floating techniques, working at each person’s individual pace, and making sure there is no sense of pressure. Once a person is feeling confident about being in the water and able to manage floating face down in the water, it’s possible to begin teaching some formal swimming skills.

Whether you are thinking about learning to swim yourself, or want your child to learn to swim, it’s a skill that will last a lifetime and bring years of enjoyment!