At what age can my child learn to swim?

There is no age limit for learning to swim. Conversely, the question often arises of the ideal age to start. At what age should your child sign up for swimming lessons?

From the age of 5, children can learn to swim, as they have the physical and mental capacity to learn swimming techniques. The good news is that survival reflexes and basic swimming skills can be learned as early as age 3. And familiarization with the aquatic environment as early as 6 months! So there are a number of ways to introduce your child to the aquatic environment, without belts, armbands or buoys, and prepare him or her for learning to swim.

Learning to swim from age 5

Contrary to popular belief, learning to swim can be done from the age of 5. Learning the technique of the 4 strokes (backstroke, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly) requires physical and mental capacities: maturity, memorization, concentration, motor coordination of movements, spatial-temporal and bodily reference points, balance… These aptitudes develop with age, at rates specific to each child, but they are generally not sufficiently pronounced before the age of 5. Mastering these strokes requires not only physical and mental ability, but also comfort in the water. Aquatic fluency, independence and learning the basics of swimming are skills that can be acquired from an early age.

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Anti-drowning courses from age 3: learning to save yourself before learning to swim

Following in the footsteps of baby swimmers, anti-drowning courses are available for children aged 3 and over, to teach them survival reflexes and the basics of swimming. The aim is to be safe in the water. Through repetition and mimicry, children acquire skills that will be invaluable in the event of a fall into the water: turning onto their backs in a starfish position (the safety position par excellence!) so they can rest, breathe or call for help, play the little dog to the shore and get out of the water on their own.

The skills acquired from an early age will greatly facilitate his further development: being more at ease in the water, not being afraid of being splashed, daring to put his head under water… As you can see, before learning to swim, you need to learn to save yourself!

Baby swimmers from 6 months: getting to know each other and learning to swim

From the age of 6 months, babies can be introduced to the aquatic environment so that they can discover, understand and feel confident in it. Baby swimming classes are suitable for children aged 6-36 months, and are a special time when parents can be an integral part of their child’s development by being in the water with them. Swimming with your baby helps him develop confidence in the water, muscle strength and motor skills in a progressive, fun way.

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Where can I register my child to learn to swim?

In many municipal pools and clubs, swimming lessons begin at the age of 6. Groups vary from 10 to 20 children. Under this age, the name of the activities may vary depending on the municipal pool: aquatic garden, aqua-kids, aquatic awakening, pitchouns à l’eau, water garden… As these activities are very popular and the number of places is very limited, it is advisable to register in advance and to respect school cycles. It is possible to take private lessons with lifeguards by asking at the reception desk of pools offering this service.

Learn to swim with Swim Stars

At Swim Stars, classes are adapted to all levels from 6 months, and take place in very small groups, with the coach in the water and without equipment (belts, buoys, armbands). They take place all year round (even during school vacations) in comfortable hotel or sports hall facilities.

Lessons last 30 minutes in a shallow pool heated to 28°C/30°C, and up to 32°C for baby swimmers. To be safe in the water, an average of 10 to 15 sessions is required, bearing in mind that each child evolves at his or her own pace. Swimming well takes years of practice before you achieve a perfect stroke (and not everyone wants to reach that level!). The important thing is to start somewhere and as soon as possible to combine fun and safety in the water.

The benefits of swimming

Swimming is one of the top 5 activities for many reasons: to keep fit, to let off steam, to develop endurance, to be safe in the water… The benefits are numerous, whether for an adult or a child.


Mastery of swimming remains highly uneven across age and social category: nearly 1 in 6 French people say they can’t swim. Learning to swim is not a trivial act, it’s a vital skill. Drowning causes almost 1,000 deaths every year in France; it’s the leading cause of death from accidents in everyday life in the under-25 age group, and the figures are even more striking in the 0-6 age group.

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