As a parent, what should we be looking for about the developmental milestones of how your child is performing as a swimmer, when they are five to seven years old?
Children can learn to be comfortable while swimming and enjoy the water at any age. However, not all children ages one to four need to take swimming lessons, says the American Association of Pediatrics, but should consider lessons based on factors such as the how often your child is around water.
The American Red Cross’ swimming and water safety skills chart says that from six months to about three years, young children can pick up basic skills such as submerging under water, floating, and gliding. Preschoolers between four and five years old, who have learned these basic skills, can pick up more advanced skills that require coordinating with their arms and legs and treading water. The Red Cross recommends skills like stroke development, stroke improvement, and stroke refinement; and even more coordination and techniques using their arms and legs to move through the water, until they become proficient and confident swimmers.
A child's motor skills, or what the child is capable of in terms of their development, will play a critical role in the student's progress. How quickly a child learns any skill is limited by their physical development. Naturally, as children get older, their motor skills improve. So while a three year old may be able to learn to swim a distance of 15 feet with their face in the water in 25 to about thirty lessons, a six year old may be able to learn the same skill within ten to 15 lessons. This is because the six year old's motor skills are further developed. While there are advantages in starting later on (for example, a six year old child may learn twice as quickly as a three year old), there are also disadvantages, i.e. the child who learns at a younger age is usually "more natural and comfortable" in the water.
Another factor can be influenced by the past positive experiences of the child while in the water. Additional practice opportunities will greatly increase the child's improvement rate, while any past negative experiences can certainly hinder the child's ability to progress at a normal rate. The frequency or the number of classes per week can also play a significant role in the child’s progress. For young children, two to three sessions per week are superior to one lesson per week, unless of course, you discontinue lessons after two to four weeks. If your child is enrolled in swim lessons for four months per year, at an average of two times per week, that would equal 32 lessons. Those 32 lessons at twice per week will be more effective than 32 lessons in a once per week or four days per week scenario.
No matter the age of your children (or even you!), we welcome you to take private classes with us! At The Noodies Swim School, we are more than welcome to help you out in developing your child further, always teaching our students water safety, readiness, and techniques. Don't hesitate to send us a message to schedule a class with us!