Swimming is one of the very few, if not the only, cradle to grave sports. It is a sport you can introduce your child to at a very early age, and they can continue to swim through all stages of their life.
Swimming is also a sport that can be picked up at any age or at any stage in a person’s life.
Remember parents, swimming takes place in a very different medium to other sports – water. Because of this, we recommend that you introduce your child to the environment as early as possible. The easiest, cheapest place to do this is your own bath at home. Allow children get used to the feel of the water on their skin, particularly on their face.
Once a child has received their vaccinations they can be brought to your local swimming pool. Again, the earlier this is done, the better it is for a child. It is also important that going swimming is a regular occurrence as it allows your child to get used to the different smells and noises that can be found at the pool.
Once your child reaches the age of approximately 12 months, and wants to explore moving in the water on their own we recommend the use of a floatation device. Of course, it is vital that parents stay close to their child at all times while the child is in the pool. The important thing at this age is allowing them to get comfortable in the water.
We do not recommend formal classes for children until they reach school going age, but there are a number of classes out there should you wish to avail of them. These consist of Swim-A-Song; a Swim Ireland programme for children from 3-36 months encouraging them to explore movement in the water through the use of nursery rhymes or Waterbabies; a programme for children from 6 weeks – 12months teaching parents how to teach their children to swim.
Once a child reaches school going age (or an age at which they can understand instruction) we recommend they join a Learn to Swim programme. Click here to find a pool close to you where you may find a programme.
As your child progresses through the Learn to Swim programme you will see huge improvements in their confidence and their abilities in the water. As your child moves up through the levels, they may decide they would like to join a swimming club. Discuss this option with the swimming teacher and contact your local club (details can be found by clicking here) to find out about how to join.
Should your child not want to swim, but would like to take part in some form of activity in the pool, you can also find details for your local water polo or diving clubs by clicking on the above link.
If you would like further information on Child Learn to Swim or swimming clubs etc, please read our FAQs which can be found here:Child and Adult Learn to Swim FAQ