Swimming lessons become a chore that most parents dread, not to mention one of the most expensive after school activities for kids…

Knowing how to swim is essential for any Aussie kid, but a growing number of parents are becoming frustrated with the process of getting their children to and from regular swimming lessons. Not only that, but many are questioning whether parents are starting the lessons with their children too early, suggesting they are a waste of time.

An Essential Or A Luxury?

One mum took to the Essential Kids forum to ask whether paying for her fourteen month old to attend swimming lessons was a bad idea. “Our fourteen month old attends swimming classes and I’ve now had two negative comments along the lines of ‘why would you pay for your small child to splash about in the water?'” she wrote. “I’m second guessing myself but I thought I was doing a good thing!” Responses to the post were mixed, but many parents echoed the mum’s doubts. “My third child had no swimming lessons until the age of five,” wrote one forum member. “After a few lessons, he was pretty much at the same swimming stage as his brothers were…yet they’d be doing customary swimming lessons from a few months old.”

All Too Hard

Many parents are being put off taking their child to swimming lessons due to the difficulty of getting to the lessons on time, the requirement for parents to remain poolside for the duration of the lesson, and the lack of interest shown by their children in learning how to swim properly. Caitlin Fitzsimmons, from The Sydney Morning Herald, says that starting lessons too early can do more harm than good. “One mistake a lot of families make is they start too young,” she wrote. “Then, fed up with the grind, they pull the children out before they really have the skills.”

We can totally understand why some parents become frustrated with the whole process, but learning to swim is such an important part of growing up in Australia. If you’re concerned about the cost and commitment, we definitely think it’s important to wait until your child has the interest and motivation to get the most out of structured lessons, but the sooner you get them used to being in the water, the better!

Do you think swimming lessons are non-negotiable or a waste of time? Tell us in the comments!

  • We live on an island, we live near lots of water and many activities and hobbies are water based – so….absolutely a big yes to swimming lessons. An essential skill and good for health and well being too. :)


  • Swimming lessons are important. Young age introducing babies to water. As they grow, lessons are a safety. But trying to get them to lessons make it difficult for working parents.


  • As a baby you can probably do it yourself but definitely essential for little kids.


  • I think learn to swim classes are invaluable for kids. Whether paid or just you teaching them water confidence yourself in their younger years. But nothing beats supervision when you have kids around water


  • We can’t afford swimming lessons but I think it should be funded for all kids from about 6 months until about age 10. You aren’t teaching them how to swim as a baby, you’re teaching them how to survive if they fall in a pool or something.


  • All my kids had swimming lessons around age 3-4, except for my youngest who had many ear problems and grommets and didn’t learn to swim . She’s 5yrs old now and I just had her grommets removed, but she hasn’t had swimming lessons yet.


  • Swimming is a skill all kids have to learn
    I booked a whole months of swimming lessons
    my kid fell sick week 1 with ear infection that we couldn’t make it for the last 3 weeks


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