Impossible! Can A 1 Year Old Learn To Swim?

1. 1 Year Old lEarn

Being in the swim lessons business for nearly a decade now, a question we get asked every once in a while is “Can a 1 year old learn to swim?”


Of course, we don’t constantly get bombarded with calls from 1 year olds wondering whether or not, can a 1 year old learn to swim.


This is a question that goes through the mind of parents every once in a while. Most of the time, we are talking about parents who live close to bodies of water, or who own a pool.


If you are trying to teach a 1 year old to swim, most of the time, you want this to be a survival reflex, something that can combat drowning-related accidents. 


So, what is the answer? Can a 1 year old learn to swim? Well, no. Realistically a 1 year old cannot learn to swim, at least not like an adult can.


There is more to the story however. Not only do people ponder the question ‘can a 1 year old learn to swim’, but they also register their children for lessons starting around that age.


We also need to consider the fact that the age in which the American Association of Pediatrics recommends that swim lessons are safe and productive is precisely 1.


There is substantial evidence to back this up, and the conversation behind this question is much deeper than initially observed. 


How Much Can A 1 Year Old Learn To Swim?

Can A 1 Year Old Learn To Swim At The Beach

The number one issues that we face with toddler lessons are the unrealistic expectations that parents can at times put on their children.


It is not normal to expect your toddler or your 1 year old to learn breaststroke technique with just a single package of a few swim lessons. 


Most of the time, what swimming lessons aim to do for children of this age group is provide a safety mechanism, a means for the toddler to deal with the water, until help arrives.


The same can be said when trying to answer ‘can a 1 year old learn to swim’. You are essentially asking the wrong question. 


There are plenty of things that a 1 year old can learn regarding swimming activities. You need to realize this and then have the expectations that correspond with this fact. 


We work with countless toddlers and specifically with plenty and plenty of 1 year olds. No two stories are the same. 


While one student can progress quite impressively, another may need some more time and more effort to show the first results. This is something that is true across, pretty much, all human activities. 


Some students take swimming like… Fish takes to the water (pun intended). It’s fascinating to see and there are cases out there of 1 year olds doing quite remarkable swimming. 


But earlier we answered ‘Can 1 year olds learn to swim’ with no… What is going on here? Well, these cases are the exception and not the norm. 


We still believe that 1 year olds cannot learn proper swimming! However, there is a lot that a year old can learn. 


For How Many Lessons Can A 1 Year Old Learn To Swim?


 Can a 1 year old Learn to Swim


This is another variant of the infamous ‘can a 1 year old learn to swim?’, and just like before the answer here is multifaceted and cannot be put into universal terms. 


To get even a slight grasp on this topic, we need to begin by asking what sort of lessons are we putting our 1 year old in.


If we are doing private swim lessons then chances are they will learn more, in a shorter amount of time. Group lessons are totally different, and highly unrecommended for younger children.


But you also need to take into consideration that there is immense difference between instructors, companies, swimming styles taught, etc.


All these can have massive effects on how fast a 1 year old learns to swim. However, if you want to generalize as much as possible… And don’t even care how accurate your average is… You still can’t!


We are aware that this sounds very frustrating, and it truly is so for the parents. But, it is just as frustrating for the instructors.


Imagine having to explain and re-explain this very specific thing, over and over again to each and every single one of your clients. 

As passionate as you may be about swimming and teaching, explaining one thing on repeat is an understandably tiring thing.


Your expectations as a parent should be as minimalistic as they come. Keep in mind that every small improvement, no matter how seemingly insignificant, it is actually as grandiose as it gets. 


It can be super challenging for children of this age to learn to swim and you need to understand that any progress you make, is immense progress made. 


If you are considering starting your one year old with swimming lessons, then definitely go for it. 

That can be a great gift that has multiple benefits!


As mentioned earlier, to this day, swimming lessons remain the number one means of drowning prevention.


And although there is no precise way to answer ‘can a 1 year old learn to swim?’, the precise answer to “should I put my 1 year old into swimming lessons?’, is a resounding “Yes!”