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to not see the point of baby swim classes?

(109 Posts)
Madmum24 Fri 12-Apr-13 12:28:11

Another epic thread about baby swim, but I honestly don't know what the point is so someone please enlighten me.

My kids go swimming once a week and at the same time there is a baby swim class in another pool; it is a half hour class with babies ranging from about 4 months to maybe a year. All they do is walk back and forward and occasionally join in a circle and the instructor (who is by the pool side) floats little plastic ducks in and pours over some water in a little watering can.

I understand these classes are a rip off expensive, so I am seeking MN wisdom on this one :-D Are they more a social meeting for the parents? I get the whole water confidence thing, but you could just take your baby for a regular swim and walk up and down the baby pool for a fraction of the price.

Have my children been disadvantaged due to missing this experience?

bruffin England Sat 13-Apr-13 12:25:13

Its not just splashing around that's the point. They are learning through play ie jumping in, you automatically turn to the side. Blow on the face so they hold their breath then dunk them etc. Its fun that's it.
Mine went to council lessons and there was pennies in the difference and because you overpaid you are more likely to go.
I have spent 1000s probably on lessons for me and the dcs over the years. I don't
I have gone to adult lessons for the last 10 years and am still learning, but i go for the social aspect as much as anything and its my me time.

Madmum24 Sat 13-Apr-13 13:48:55

How many baby swim lessons are "needed" before they are able to rail grab, not panic etc? What age would this be expected at? I don't imagine that a four month old would be able to do this? Genuine questions by the way......:-D

hackmum Sat 13-Apr-13 14:15:39

I think it's true that if your child to swim when it's older (say four or five) the differences even out - you don't get a long-term advantage from baby swim.

However, I did take my DD to swimming classes from when she was a baby. I did it partly to get out of the house (I was fairly desperate) and partly because I wanted her to have confidence in the water. I liked the idea that she wouldn't be able to remember a time when she couldn't swim. That indeed proved to be the case - she loved swimming lessons and she was able to swim independently by the time she was three. And that meant that for the next few years, taking her swimming was a lot of fun (for her, anyway!) She was and remains extremely confident in the water, though now she's a teenager, she isn't any better than her friends who learned later. But I have no regrets about doing it.

YoniTrix Sat 13-Apr-13 14:22:59

Maja, babies lose the reflex that makes them automatically hold their breath upon their face being submerged at between 10-15 months. It then becomes a learned response. So babies that have done baby swimming lessons will still automatically hold their breath even if they have lost the natural reflex. Babies that have never been submerged and have lost the reflex may not hold their breath and instead inhale on their face being submerged.

No madmum, that would be G&T at 4 months. grin I can't remember exactly what age my two were able to hold onto the side themselves, but it was surprisingly early.

MummyBre Sat 13-Apr-13 15:44:51

I took both my babies to baby swimming classes and yes, it was expensive and yes, it was a big committment but i can now see the results as they are now 8 and 10 - both really confident in the water, swimming really well and will be moving onto swim club shortly, and both very strong physically. It was hard work at times when they went through wobbly stages but Water Babies were brilliant at helping us with this and building confidence and reassurance. Having had a really bad experience as as child, i really think swimming is a life skill and all children should learn. Of all the baby activities I did, baby swimming was the most worthwhile for us as a family!

AmandinePoulain Sat 13-Apr-13 16:32:47

Mad we started when dd2 was around 4mo. We go weekly, apart from lessons missed whilst ill/over Christmas etc and she's now 8mo and knows to grab the side, and has done for a few months I would say. She can't get there by herself though obviously! We don't go to water babies and don't practice submersion in our lessons, just playing, 'swimming' across the pool (ie. I lead her across) and jumping in from sitting.

Mutley77 Sun 14-Apr-13 13:14:51

madmum - it's just about instilling the basics really - lead a horse to water enough times and eventually they will drink. Babies do learn to instinctively grab and hold the edge under 1 year old - mine certainly did.

So for example (although I am sure this actual circumstance is very rare and it would not be the reason I took my DC's to baby swimming) if my child was 2 and had been doing that swimming routine for 12 months at lessons, then fell in water somewhere unsupervised where he was in reach of an edge, I am confident his instinct would have kicked in to reach it. As I say very unlikely a) he would fall in water unsupervised and b) in reach of an edge - but it is about general habit forming for water safety. Not essential by any means but certainly not pointless IME. When they get in the water for "proper lessons" and are swimming initially unaided these habits are helpful. As is the fact they are familiar with being in water, a lesson routine, and being confident in putting their head underwater etc.

JuliaScurr Sun 14-Apr-13 13:22:44

It was the only way to use thewarm hydrotherapy pool It's to keep the advantages of the early instincts so they never lose them and become anxious. I never learned to swim until age 35 smile
so wanted dd to learn easily - which she did

PenelopeLane Tue 16-Apr-13 09:06:38

I think it depends on how often you take your dcs to the pool otherwise. I've had my DS in lessons since he was 9 months, and he loves it. I've also learnt some good tricks for how to increase his water confidence including ways to hold him and games to play that never would have occurred to me otherwise.

When I signed up, my antenatal group was split in two, those who did lessons, and those who said there was no point as they could go themselves for less money, that they didn't learn etc - much the same as said here. Last time we caught up 2 of the women in the latter group admitted that at best they go to the pool once a month, so while they could go all the time in theory, they don't. Whereas when you've signed up to lessons, at least you make the effort to go regularly. If you take your dcs to the pool often anyway, then sure, no reason to enroll a baby.

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