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What age should your child learn how to swim?

April 06 2022 6 min read

For many of us, swimming is one of the first skills that we learn growing up, proudly collecting our 100 metre certificates at the front of the school assembly. As a nation, we are keen to pass this skill on to our children, encouraging them to take lessons so they can feel the benefits of swimming too.

Swimming is a fantastic way to stay active and healthy. It can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and strokes, according to research by the NHS, and most importantly, learning to swim could save your life one day. The intensity of your cardio workout depends on the stroke that you choose to do and the number of lengths swam, but overall it is a great workout as it simultaneously works multiple groups of muscles without putting undue strain on the body.


Introducing infants to water as early as possible is encouraged, the more familiar they become with the concept the easier it will be for them to learn how to swim. However, children can learn how to swim at any age so don’t panic if you didn’t throw them in the pool straight away - there’s still plenty of time!

It appears that the most common age to learn how to swim is between the ages of 4 and 8, as children are old enough to respond to instructions but young enough to learn new techniques quickly. Olympic athlete Rebecca Adlington took her first swimming lesson aged 4, whereas 22-time Olympic medal winner Michael Phelps began lessons at the age of 7.


The most important aspect of teaching children how to swim is building their confidence up in an environment that is completely new to them.

Ease your child in by taking them to the pool as much as you can before swimming lessons begin. Play games with them and have fun, this is important to encourage confidence in the water and get them used to the aquatic environment. While beginner swimming lessons will improve confidence too, you’ll see much quicker progress if you build this trust from the start.


At Fitness First Clubs we offer membership-free swimming lessons with professional instructors, guaranteed to teach your child to swim in a safe and enjoyable way. With copious testimonials from happy parents claiming that their children have been transformed from water-phobics to strong swimmers in a matter of weeks, our instructors certainly know their stuff.

Children will learn a range of aquatic skills during their first few lessons such as buoyancy, travelling in water, strength exercises and, of course, simple strokes. If you are unsure about signing up for a class, we are more than happy for you to come down and watch what happens from the side.

A regular weekly swimming lesson is the quickest way to improve your child’s skills and keep them motivated to swim.


While you may never compete with the Phelps and Adlingtons of this world, you can learn to swim at any age. So what’s stopping you from maintaining a healthy heart and strengthening your muscles?

We understand that learning to swim at an older age may seem a little embarrassing, but it needn't be. Learn to swim in style with our private luxurious pools, complete with relaxing hot spa pools, so you can rest your tired muscles after an intense swimming lesson. You can also learn about the importance of your bath here.