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How Many Swimming Lessons Does a Child Need?

Swimming is an important life-saving skill you can teach your kids. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, participation in formal swimming lessons is associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in one to four year-old children. 

Swimming is equally as essential as walking, running, and talking. But you may be wondering, how many swimming lessons does your child really need

There are several factors that could influence your kid’s learning performance. Consistency is one of them. A regular swimming schedule for kids helps with familiarity with the water and creates a learning momentum. That said, one lesson a week does not have the required time to instill sufficient swimming skills and knowledge. Multiple lessons also build good muscle memory and coordination through repetitive motions, which enhances a child’s swimming ability. 

Factors That Affect Swimming Performance  

Like adults, children have varying degrees of swimming ability. Once they start taking swim lessons, different factors will come into play and affect how fast or slow they learn or advance their skills. These include:


Older children are easier to teach and are better at retaining swimming skills. As children grow up, their muscle coordination improves as well.

Level of Effort & Motivation

Children who have more drive and receive more encouragement tend to learn much faster than those who lack effort and motivation. That is why consistency is key in shaping good swimming habits.

The Instructor’s Expertise

Your child’s swimming instructor’s experience can accelerate the learning process. A well-experienced instructor can adapt and best cater to your child’s swimming needs.


Children that have more exposure to swimming will be able to learn faster. Make swimming a continuous activity for them, and they’ll be swimming on their own in no time.

Physical Ability

Children who are more physically gifted are more capable of retaining swimming skills. Great muscle memory and coordination boost a child’s ability to master swimming.

Number of Swim Lessons a Child Needs Based on Age Brackets

Infant (< 1-year-old)

Swim lessons for infants can take around 5 to 10 sessions. Babies that are less than a year old need to develop their comfort and familiarity with the water. Pouring water over their heads while showering can help with this, as they are exposed to water flowing on top of their heads in a safe and controlled way. Infants can also be exposed to brief underwater swims or “dunks” to help them learn how to hold their breath and not swallow water. Swim lessons for infants help with their coordination and balance and improve their strength. You can also take part in parent-child water play sessions to help your infant be more “water ready”.

Toddler (2-3 year old)

Typically, it takes around 20 to 30 lessons for toddlers to learn and perform basic swimming skills and safety habits. Toddlers are able to hold their breath and can swim with their faces in the water for a few feet. Certain skills such as blowing bubbles and swimming back to the side of the pool from multiple entries using leg propulsions. Toddlers can swim in small kiddie pools with adult supervision. 

Young Child (4-8 years old)

It takes about 12 to 20 lessons for young children to learn and perform basic swimming strokes, skills, and safety habits. At 4 years old, children should already have the cognitive and motor skills to learn proper swimming skills such as treading on water, floating, and swimming towards an endpoint. At this age, they can also start swimming face down and using pop-up breathing techniques on small 4-foot deep pools. It’s the best age to teach them different swimming strokes, such as freestyle and breaststroke which they can use to swim about 50 to 100 yards. 

Older Children (9-12 years old)

For older children, the number of adequate swimming lessons ranges from 8 to 20 lessons. Older children can understand and follow instructions fully to become proper, competent swimmers. They can now learn advanced techniques to dive and swim underwater for longer distances, do flip-turns, and perform the full four main strokes: freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly, which they can implement on longer swimming distances above 100 yards. They are able to perform and master swimming strokes, skills, and safety habits and swim in adult pools with adult supervision.

What Makes a Good Swim Program?

Choose swim lessons that not only teach swimming techniques but also impart water survival skills. A good swim program has:

Qualified and experienced instructors

Look for swim programs that have instructors who are trained in first aid, have previous experience working with children, and have certifications.

A consistent schedule

Having multiple lessons in a week will help accelerate your child’s pace in learning how to swim and retain their skills.

Comprehensive swim levels

A proper swim program implements standard stage layouts that focus on water safety habits and different swimming strokes and skills which gradually increase in difficulty, leading your child to be a competent swimmer.

Water safety component

Besides learning different swimming strokes, good safety habits towards the water is equally as important. Proper pool etiquette can reduce injuries and emergencies.

Emergency preparedness

Look for swim programs that also teach your child what to do if they find themselves or someone else in the water unexpectedly, like accidental falls on a pool or moving water, like lakes and rivers.

Benefits of Goal-oriented Swimming Lessons

Part of learning to swim effectively is having goals and achieving them. This includes identifying what swim skills you and your child want to attain. Having a realistic view of the number of swim lessons will help achieve those goals. The timeline of learning to swim for each child varies, factoring in their age, experience, and current skill level. A perfect timeline for this lies in multiple lessons in a span of months.

What sets our swim programs at Bear Paddle is our Progress Promise. We assess your child’s swim level and skills and discuss their goals. We will then create a personalized timeline to help them achieve these goals.

Our Swim Level and Reward system ensures that your child is on track with their swim journey and is progressing with confidence and ease. Each level tackles the different fundamental swim skills that a child needs, with even advanced competitive skills and strokes in the latter levels. As your child progresses, they learn swim skills and go on to achieve their goals. If your child doesn’t reach their swim goal in the designated timeline, you get to have 6 months of swim lessons for free.

Enroll Your Child in the Best Swim Lessons

Swimming has plenty of benefits: it builds stamina, muscle strength, and endurance, and promotes cardiovascular fitness. Swim lessons teach team-building and improve social skills, and can also be a fun way for your child to bond with others in the same age group. It is never too early or late to learn how to swim, so why not tag along with your child?

To learn more about swimming lessons for your child and their benefits, visit our blog today or check out our offered swim programs

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