to make my 2 year old carry on doing swimming lessons?

(33 Posts)
needaholidaynow Mon 02-Sep-13 13:15:46

Ds1 is meant to be having a swimming lesson this afternoon. He's done 3 so far and he hates it. He's absolutely petrified of the water. It's not an enjoyable experience for either of us.

I thought he would have loved it as he loves playing in the bath/ paddling pool, but because the swimming pool is deeper than he's used to he is scared. He cries all the way through the half hour session and whilst I'm in the water with him, trying to reassure him it's okay, there just no consoling him at all.

It's in a little pool away from everyone else in the big pool, there's obviously arm bands, rubber rings and then there are little toys to play with in the water- it looks so lovely but he's not having it at all.

Part of me doesn't want to "force him", but then another part of me knows that swimming is a life skill. I knew I should have introduced him to swimming when he was younger.

MrsLettuce Mon 02-Sep-13 13:17:44

YABU - he's at exactly the wrong age. BEst to start very, very early and keep it up or wait until at least 4.

KissMeHardy Mon 02-Sep-13 13:18:01

I'd leave it for six month and try again. No point in distressing both of you, and he is too young to understand logically that he is safe.

ilikebaking Mon 02-Sep-13 13:18:32

YANBU. Keep trying it with him, otherwise he could end up permanently terrified.
Sorry if that's not the correct thing to say.

TwasBrillig Mon 02-Sep-13 13:20:23

Yup.

Just take him for fun when you feel like it for now so you can introduce him at his own pace. Take rubber ducks etc.

No need for proper lessons at that age if not enjoying it.

Clobbered Mon 02-Sep-13 13:20:24

Forget it, don't force it, life's too short and you don't want to set him up for a total hatred of swimming. Don't beat yourself up with the "I should have done it sooner" thoughts. IT DOESN'T MATTER! He'll learn when he's ready.

RedHelenB Mon 02-Sep-13 13:21:17

I would stop the lessons but make sure you take him to the pool every week & hold him tight in the water until he gets more confident.

ThreeTomatoes Mon 02-Sep-13 13:21:56

If it were me, I would stop the swimming lessons, give the pool a break for a while, and gradually re-introduce it in a fun non-lesson way in the future when he's had time to forget about it, and THEN think about swmiming lessons once he's happy in the water again.

My dd is 10 and absolutely LOVES the pool and always has, but I'm only just this month arranging swimming lessons for her! blush We couldn't afford them before but I feel so embarrassed that I've left it this long esp as she loves the pool and is determined to learn to swim.

So anyway, i guess my point is there's plenty of time for your ds to learn to swim, but i don't think that's going to happen happily unless he is actually enjoying it! If you force the issue, it's just going to drum into him how awful it is. Give him a break and he'll have a chance to learn to enjoy it later on.

As another comparison, my dd hated PE when she was in Reception, i think she found it too noisy and refused to join in (she was quite a sensitive timid child). Instead of forcing or cajoling her, the teachers gave her option of just watching on the sidelines, or returning to the classroom to 'read' or something, she often chose to watch. A couple of years later she was saying PE was one of her favourite subjects! Had the school approached this differently, this would not have happened I don't think. Same thing with the Christmas show, apparently she refused to get on the stage in all the rehearsals, but she did on the night grin. Again, she was not forced to do anything, her teacher was understanding and patient and gave her the choice.

JuliaScurr Mon 02-Sep-13 13:22:21

I think you will do more harm than good - take him to a shallow fun pool instead. My swimming teacher friend said there is no point trying to teach kids to swim until they are comfortable in the water. Your ds seems to be getting more uncomfortable.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Mon 02-Sep-13 13:26:23

DD has been a bit sticky off and on with her swimming lessons but we stuck with it and now seems sorted. However, she's older (started at 3.6, now 3.10) and her reaction was never as extreme as you describe. I think 2 is quite young for formal lessons and would be inclined to leave it a few months, keep on with less formal exposure to the water in the meantime to avoid a complex about the water developing.

No, don't force it.

My DS hated the pool when he was 2, now at 3 he absolutely loves it. Was really just like a switch going off, not sure why he changed his mind, but we never pushed it on him.

BrianTheMole Mon 02-Sep-13 13:26:32

I'd leave it and try again when he's older. My ds did this and we stopped, the stress was too much. He's booked in again for lessons when he is 4. Dd was the same, we stopped and went back when she was older. She loves the water now.

needaholidaynow Mon 02-Sep-13 13:28:09

I'm going to leave it. I just needed people's opinions on this because I just didn't know what to do for the best.

FranSanDisco Mon 02-Sep-13 13:31:14

We started dd at about the same age as your ds and she hated it also. We left it until she was 4.6 and about to start school and she picked it up much better. She was swimming lengths within a few months and loved it. I think YABU to force something at this age.

ksrwr Mon 02-Sep-13 13:34:04

my friend has a son who absolutely hated private lessons in a quiet small pool, but loved the slides and noise of a massive public pool... could be worth a try?

spg1983 Mon 02-Sep-13 13:34:11

I think children can learn at whatever age. DD is 6 months and loves the water - I have taken her weekly since she was 7 weeks old. DSS is 7yrs old and until this year he never went regularly, we've started taking him every 1-2 weeks and he now swims underwater and has no fear whatsoever. Just goes to show that any age is ok as long as they are happy in the water. Maybe take a break OP and try again when DS is more confident. But don't worry at all - there's always time for swimming.

Tailtwister Mon 02-Sep-13 13:35:23

We found both of ours started to dislike swimming around the age of 2. I don't know why, but they really hated it. I just stopped taking them. Then started again around 6 months later and they were fine.

If you have a set of lessons booked I would keep going, but keep in mind it might just be a matter of waiting it out and not something you're doing wrong.

DS1 and 2 (5 & 3) love their weekly lessons now and it's a real pleasure to see them have fun in the water. When I think back to how they used to be I can't believe they are the same children!

Christelle2207 Mon 02-Sep-13 13:35:59

Sounds sensible but dont lewve it too long. I took up lessons at 5 and am a confident swimmer. My husband on the other hand didnt learn until high school and hates the water. Says he could save himself from drowning but out of choice wont go near it. Has taken me years to convince him that swimming in sea/pool is a good thing when on holiday in hot places, but he still only goes up to his knees to cool off.

needaholidaynow Mon 02-Sep-13 13:42:43

So if I left it until he's about 4ish and try again? And then take him in to the small pool every so often in between?

I don't think you have to wait til he's 4 -- as I said, my son is fine now he's 3. Just keep trying once in a while and see how it goes.

nancerama Mon 02-Sep-13 13:48:04

Ditch the lessons, but try different pools for fun. A distressed child in a lesson often has a knock on effect of upsetting all the other children in a class. We had one in our lesson for 2 terms. I really felt for the mum, but it wasn't fair on the teacher or the other families.

needaholidaynow Mon 02-Sep-13 13:57:47

Exactly. All of the other children were happy and therefore their parents were happy, so I didn't want to ruin it for them when it can be avoided.

Sirzy Mon 02-Sep-13 13:59:39

I just take DS swimming for a splash around with me. He is 3, I may consider swimming lessons after he has started school

Yes definitely stop for a while.
Then i would find a 1-2-1 teacher if you can afford it and introduce swimming again.
My dd has a 1-2-1 and she has gained tons of confidence this way.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Mon 02-Sep-13 14:10:51

Most children don't learn to swim properly until at least age 4/5 (always some exceptions) so I'd give the lessons a miss.
Give it a few months and then find a nice warm, pleasant pool and just take him yourself. It doesn't matter if for the 1st visit all he does is sit on the side and paddle his legs, let him take his time. Its more important at this age to be confident and enjoy the water than it is actually being able to swim.
My youngest wasn't keen on water but we've used a rubber ring and armbands which keeps her head clear out of the water and her confidence is building up slowly.
I've taught swimming for years and learning to swim is about 80% confidence. Also don't bother with lessons until he is school age.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now