How old should a child be before they start swimming lessons?

At our swim schools in Australia, we taught babies from 3 months in lessons with professional teachers.

Our general rule was the younger the better, however there are exceptions to this with certain children.

The Uswim program is only for children aged over 3 (at the moment), as they need the developmental ability to follow verbal instructions.

If my child's scared should I just wait until they get older to start swimming lessons?

Generally no, but it really depends on the child. The longer you wait, the harder it could be to introduce them to swimming as the fear of water can become more ingrained. If your child is anxious around water, begin by practising level 1 at home or at a place where they’re more comfortable.

My child fears water and will not get into a pool, what should I do?

Please read our BLOG on ‘Fear of Water’.

Find a pool that has a shallow area that they can slowly enter. Make it fun and engaging. Bring a toy (or toys) from home and use them at the pool as something that is familiar to the child. Always keep them close by and feeling secure.

Are flotation aids a good idea for children learning to swim?

Flotation aids can be useful in helping children build confidence and independence in the pool. However, aids (like the ones used in Vietnam) can build a false sense of security and overconfidence. It makes sense young children may believe they can jump into deep water if the aid has allowed them to do that previously. If you are going to use flotation aids, we recommend spending equal or more amounts of time without the aids so the swimmer understands their true ability and possible dangers.

When should I feel confident leaving my child in a pool on their own?

Never!! Children should always be supervised when in or around a pool. Even if you are confident with your child’s ability, accidents can happen easily, like a bump on the head or slipping over on the pool deck.


Does the temperature of the water matter for swim lessons?

Yes. Cold water will cause drop in concentration, reduced motivation and may lead to sickness. A warmer pool will be more comfortable for the child (and you) to learn in.

When should I use goggles, or should I leave them off?

Mixing up when you use goggles  is a good idea, so children don’t rely on their goggles too much. It is recommended using goggles for the majority of lesson time or when learning a new skill, such as submerging the face. The reason for this is that students will relax and be less distracted when they can see underwater. Using goggles will also stop the children’s eyes from getting irritated. No goggles in playtime is a good idea.

How long should a lesson be?

It really depends on the skill level of the swimmer, however the ideal lesson time for children under 10 years using the Uswim program is 30 minutes.

It’s important to note this is lesson time where the child is concentrating. You need remember that kids need to see lessons as enjoyable, so while a longer lesson may be possible this week, it will eventually get harder and harder to get the student to return if they feel forced. Playtime or exploration can be added if the student wants to continue swimming, we recommend using playtime as a reward for listening and effort after the lesson.

Can I teach group lessons ?

Group lessons produce a wide range of complexity to teaching. Unless you have been professionally trained, teaching multiple children at once can be very dangerous, as your attention is split and multiple children may need your help simultaneously.

If you want to teach group lessons please seek the proper accreditation, training and insurance in your country.

I have never learnt to swim myself, how can I teach a child if I can't do it?

Following the Uswim program will allow you to confidently teach your child to swim, step by step. If you are a non-swimmer, you must be supervised by a lifeguard or someone confident in swimming. If you are not confident in the water, we recommend using a shallow pool that you can stand in to stay comfortable and safe.

Uswim Program

Can you use the same methods when trying to teach an adult how to swim?

Yes! The step by step Uswim program has been used successfully to teach all age groups of people. We only claim to be experts with children as this is the age we specialized in.

Why does Uswim suggest teaching Backstroke before Freestyle?

We cover this question extensively in our BLOG.

There are 3 simple answers.


Children should  learn Backstroke (or a version of) as a safety stroke because this will be possible before they can perform Freestyle over distance.


Children can swim further at a younger age with Backstroke. The tangible distance gives them confidence and the motivation to continue learning.

Speed of learning

When a child learns Backstroke first, they build the foundational strength and core stability which makes Freestyle (in particular correct side breathing) easier to learn. Basically, they will swim 20m Freestyle at a younger age.

Why do you teach Catch-up Freestyle First?

Catch-up Freestyle is difficult – try for yourself. It is one of the aspects this training stroke which is why it is so effective. Catch-up is an effective platform because it gives children the strength, stability and stamina necessary to begin learning the difficult skill of correct side breathing. Children who can perform Catch-up Freestyle learn standard Freestyle faster and with better technique.

When do I know my child has completed a level and is ready for the next?

The level guide videos will show you an example of what the skill should look like before progressing onto the next set of skills.

What if my child keeps swallowing/ingesting water

Ingesting large amounts of water can be seriously dangerous, it has led to deaths. If your child seems to be doing it habitually, you should stop the lesson. You then return to a very controlled environment, like the bath at home to start learning Breath Control once again.

How old should a child be before I start using Uswim?

Children need to be over 3 years before they start the program.

Why don’t you teach treading water?

Treading water is not a necessary skill to swim 20m Freestyle, so its not in our program – we explain more about this in our BLOG. Also many children don’t have the strength to tread water properly.

Should I get my child to blow bubbles when they first start?

No. Bowing bubbles or exhaling the breath underwater is not a good habit for beginner to learn. They must first learn to hold the breath so they have oxygen in their lungs to get to safety. Please read our BLOG on this topic, which goes into detail.

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