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What Age Can a Child Swim Independently?

For those seeking high-quality swimming lessons in Blackburn and Darwen, Splash Riverside is the go-to choice!

At Splash Riverside, we offer engaging swimming lessons for children in Blackburn and Darwen, starting from as young as 3 months. 

Our focus is on nurturing your child’s swimming abilities in a secure setting. We employ the latest teaching methods to make learning to swim an enjoyable experience.

What makes Splash special? 

At Splash, we’re committed to making swimming an enjoyable and valuable skill for every child! 

1. Early Start: We begin lessons from 3 months to build skills early. These are 30-minute parent and child classes, where parents join us in the water.

2. STA Starfish Scheme: For babies and toddlers, we hold sessions focusing on water safety and confidence.

3. Ducklings Scheme for Ages 3-4: Transition to more structured learning.

4. ASA Swim Stages for Ages 4+: Start at Stage 1 with goals like swimming 5 meters and back floating.

5. 1 to 1 Lessons: During the school holidays, we offer tailored 1 to 1 lessons for children who need additional support.

6. Family Swim Sessions: We have a limited number of private family swim sessions available every month, so you can get the whole family into the pool.

7. Qualified Instructors: All teachers are first aid trained and Level 2 (or higher) qualified, supporting children with developing the tools to swim independently.

What age can a child swim independently?

When it comes to swimming, starting early can make a significant difference in a child’s ability to swim independently. The importance of starting early cannot be overstated. Early exposure to water helps children become comfortable and confident in the water.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all age for children to swim on their own, many can begin to learn basic swimming skills as early as 3 to 4 years old. At this age, children usually start to develop the physical coordination and cognitive understanding necessary for swimming.

It’s important to remember that even if a child can swim independently, constant supervision is crucial, which is why we follow a safety-first approach.

How to support a child with a fear of water

There might be barriers preventing a child from swimming independently (for instance, a fear of water). Supporting a child with a fear of water is a delicate process that requires patience, understanding, and a gradual approach. Here are some strategies to help a child overcome their fear:

  • Acknowledge Their Fear: Recognise and validate the child’s fear without dismissing it. Understanding that their fear is real to them is the first step in helping them overcome it.
  • Gradual Exposure: Start with small steps. This could be as simple as playing with water in a bathtub or a small inflatable pool. Gradually increase exposure as the child becomes more comfortable.
  • Create a Positive Environment: Associate water with fun activities. Use toys, games, and playful learning to make interactions with water enjoyable.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate how enjoyable and safe water activities can be by showing your own calm and positive behaviour in and around water.
  • Enroll in Professional Swimming Lessons: Consider enrolling the child in Splash swimming lessons, led by a qualified instructor. They can provide structured and supportive learning.
  • Never Force or Rush: Forcing a child into water situations can heighten fear. Allow the child to set their pace and offer encouragement and praise for small achievements.
  • Use Floatation Devices: Start with floaties or life jackets to build confidence. 
  • When using flotation devices, it’s crucial to maintain active supervision.
  • Stay Calm and Patient: Children can pick up on adult anxieties. Remaining calm and patient during water activities can help ease their fears.
  • Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate each step forward, no matter how small, to build confidence and motivation.

Remember, overcoming a fear of water is a process that can take time. With supportive and empathetic guidance, children can learn to manage their fears and eventually find joy in water activities.

What swimming skills do children need? 

When it comes to equipping children with swimming skills, there are several key abilities they need to ensure safety and enjoyment in the water. These foundational skills not only promote confidence but also form the basis for more advanced swimming techniques.

1. Water Comfort and Safety Awareness: Before any strokes are learned, it’s crucial for children to feel comfortable and safe in the water. This includes understanding basic water safety rules, such as not running near pools and only swimming with adult supervision.

2. Breath Control and Submersion: Learning to control their breathing and comfortably submerge their face in the water is a fundamental skill. This helps in reducing fear and building confidence for further swimming lessons.

3. Floating and Treading Water: Being able to float on their back and tread water are essential skills for resting and staying afloat in the water, which are critical for preventing drowning.

4. Basic Strokes: Mastering basic strokes like the dog paddle, freestyle (front crawl), and backstroke gives children the ability to move through the water effectively.

5. Entering and Exiting the Pool Safely: Children should learn safe ways to enter and exit the pool, whether it’s using a ladder or the pool edge.

6. Kicking and Arm Movements: Proper kicking and arm techniques are important for propulsion and navigating through the water.

7. Jumping In: Learning to jump in safely from the poolside is not only fun but also an important skill in being comfortable with deeper water.

8. Turning and Orientation: Being able to change direction and orient themselves in the water helps in navigating and also in emergencies.

Regular practice and quality instruction from instructors, such as those from Splash Riverside, are key to developing strong, confident swimmers.


“Brilliant swimming lessons for little ones, they make it fun and are supportive when the little ones get overwhelmed. Would definitely recommend”  Laura

“Excellent highly recommended my little girl’s first swimming lesson and the swimming teacher is amazing” Nikki

For swimming lessons in Blackburn and Darwen, get in touch today for availability and prices on 01254 679828