How long does it take for a child to learn to swim

You’re asking the most popular question parents ask about swimming lessons. And it’s a great question – learning to swim can be a considerable investment of time and money. Plus, you want to know how long it’s going to be before your child is a safer, independent swimmer… right? 

I’ll walk you through how long it takes for a child to learn to swim with swimming lessons first – then I’ll show you another way at the end.

The last time I asked Google, “how long will it take my child to learn to swim,” the top answer was – “20-30 swimming lessons until your 3- to 5-year-old child could swim 15-feet on their own.” 

And that’s about right for swimming lessons. But let’s unpack that, so you understand what that really means

  1. 20-30 swimming lessons is a long time – that’s a 5-to-7-month commitment without taking breaks
  2. 15-feet isn’t very far – that’s only 5 yards

But what will it cost you?


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Why 5- to 7-months? (seems too long doesn't it?)

Because most Swimming Lessons meet only once a week.

Which would be fine if the lesson were longer. But the typical lesson is only 30-minutes. And it gets worse because most kids are learning to swim in groups of 3 to 4 kids per instructor. 

So, that’s like 7.5 to 10 minutes of swim time per class. 

And when you understand that exposure and practice are how kids learn to swim – not coaches – you can see precisely why it takes so long for kids to learn to swim. They aren’t getting enough time to swim and figure things out. 

What other skill would you only give your child 7.5 to 10 minutes once a week to figure out?

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Are you done when your child can swim 5-yards? 

If your goal is for your child to be a safer, independent swimmer – then that’s a hard no. It’s going to take more time – I’m just being honest with you. 

Your child will need to build up a lot more endurance and skill if they’re going to be a safer swimmer – think about how much your child swims when they’re zipped into a life jacket to play. They need to be able to swim around that same amount without the life jacket before you’re done with swim lessons.

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What else?

So far, I’ve only talked about the time investment of learning to swim with swimming lessons. Let me break down the money side for you too, so you know what you’re looking at if you go with swimming lessons. 

Most swimming lessons are private lessons or group lessons. Private lessons are more expensive upfront -- usually around $160 to $200 per month at any well-known franchise swim school like Goldfish Swim School or Aqua-Tots. Group lessons are more affordable at about $90 per month on average. 

Right there, you’re looking at spending around $800 to $1400 for private lessons and somewhere around $450 to $700 for group lessons. And that’s until your child can swim those 5-yards on their own independently…

Remember, it will take longer than that before you have a safer, independent swimmer who can swim as long as you really want them to. That’s a lot. 

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What about Swim Discovery™? 

If you’re new to our content or are unsure what Swim Discovery™ is, watch this video first: What is Swim Discovery™? 


Here’s what you need to know – Swim Discovery™ is the quickest, easiest, safest, and most affordable way for kids to learn to swim. Here’s all you have to do: 

  1. Go swimming!
  2. Put your child in a Life Jacket (this one from TYR)
  3. Let them Play!

That’s it! Before you shun Swim Discovery™ because we use a Life Jacket – this isn’t any regular Life Jacket. It’s built specifically for kids learning how to swim. It isn’t just one piece of flotation foam – it’s made with 8 pieces of flotation foam.

And that means we can reduce the flotation level as your child gets stronger and more skilled in the water. We wean them off slowly until they don’t need it anymore at all! 

Swim Discovery™ is quicker because your child will swim around 300% more in the same 30-minute window than they would in the same duration swimming lesson.

And since you do Swim Discovery™ in your own backyard or community pool, you can swim an hour or more. Remember, kids learn to swim through exposure – and that’s a lot more exposure. Kids learn faster with Swim Discovery™. 

Swim Discovery™ is safer because wearing that Life Jacket instantly turns your child into a safer, independent swimmer on day 1… not 5- to 7-months later. 

Swim Discovery™ is more affordable because you can do it for free! But if you want us to walk with you every step of the way with personalized tips and extra help – Join SwimAble Kid and become a member for only $20 a month!

SwimAble Kid Members get:

  • New games every week – designed around “purposeful play” that help your child learn essential swimming skills like paddle swimming, breath control, jumping in, and swimming with toys.
  • Personalized Tips – what you need, when you need it, based on where your child is in their learning
  • Members-Only Group – direct access to Jim and Jeff the entire time and a very supportive community of parents using Swim Discovery™ with their kids.
  • Exclusive access to our 60-Second Virtual Swim Test – we use it to personalize everything we send you!

Watch this video to see how we use the TYR Progressive Training Life Jacket:


Check out our SwimAble Kid, Swim Discovery™ program to see how your child can learn to swim for only $20 a month!