Teach the child to swim: Sure, but when?

Martine Bernier

Health journalist, editor-in-chief

July 29, 2021

Most children love water – whether it’s in the bathtub, a fountain, or a puddle of water – it’s hard for them to resist. That’s why it’s important to let your child explore water in a safe way. In Switzerland, drowning is the second most common cause of death among children (source: Swiss Lifesaving Society).

But how do you safely teach your little one to swim?

Various associations, such as www.wassererleben.ch, offer baby swimming courses. From the 3rd or 4th month, your toddler can participate in such a course together with you as an introduction. Step by step he will learn to trust the water, to float relaxed on the water and to free his airways. For children from the age of 3, the same association offers swimming courses for children who already have experience with the water. But it is only in the 5th or 6th year of life that children really learn to swim efficiently.

Swimming lessons are organized everywhere in the swimming pools or in the swimming clubs attached to them.

In any case, the lessons must be playful and enjoy the time in the pool. Never force a child who is afraid of the water – you will only make the situation worse. If you do not want to take a baby swimming course, then you can contact the nearest indoor or outdoor pool, where professionals will suggest the appropriate course for your child. Depending on the child’s age, you can expect a weekly lesson to last between six months and a year until the little swimmer feels at home in the water and can move around without any worries.

At school, your child will regularly go to the swimming pool. However, do not expect your child to learn to swim in this setting. In fact, school swimming lessons are more about getting used to the water than real swimming lessons. In fact, it is very difficult to teach an entire class to swim. Therefore, swimming lessons remain the responsibility of the parents.

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