to cancel dds swimming lessons to pay for stage school?

(112 Posts)
smuggler Tue 14-Jan-14 15:01:22

Dd is 7 and desperate to start stage school but it's extremely expensive. She's been having swimming lessons for around a year. She's always been extremely water confident, she can swim a length of a full size pool but hasn't got the technique of the strokes quite right. She finds swimming lessons boring and isn't really progressing. I always thought I'd continue with them until she passed all stages so I could be sure she was safe around water. But if she carries on swimming I can't afford stage school. Wibu to swap the activities?

Sammie101 Tue 14-Jan-14 15:04:43

If she doesn't enjoy it and isn't progressing I don't see any point in continuing it. If she will enjoy stage school then that's money much better invested smile

IAmNotAMindReader Tue 14-Jan-14 15:06:16

I'd continue with the swimming until she has passed all the stages then swap it for stage school. In the meantime are there any local theatre groups etc which she can participate in to get a taste or classes which can be taken on a more casual basis before making the full commitment of a stage school.
Swimming is an important life skill to learn.

LegoStillSavesMyLife Tue 14-Jan-14 15:07:13

Tell he she can quit Swimming and do stage school when she has got to stage 7. That should concentrate the mind beautifully on learning to swim. And then she can do stage school afterwards.

Yeah, I don't see why she can't give up swimming, she is obviously safe in the water and it sounds like she will enjoy stage school a lot more. smile

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-Jan-14 15:10:39

Swimming lessons are really not necessary, all my 3 dc learned how to swim on holidays and also schools will keep you going to receive your money every week.
My dd loves music but used to dance a lot. No way would I have stopped any classes for swimming.

smuggler Tue 14-Jan-14 15:13:05

I like that plan Lego - she's in stage 6 now but on the assessment sheet at the end of last term she hardly ticked any boxes so don't think she'll pass this term either despite me knowing she can do most of it. She'd probably progress faster elsewhere as I think the teaching quality isn't great but it's twice as expensive

KiwiBanana Tue 14-Jan-14 15:13:20

I'd go with Legos idea. I suppose it all depends on how important you feel being confident and able in the water is.

I'd drop the swimming for something she will enjoy more.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 14-Jan-14 15:16:54

My dd never did swimming lessons.

She's now at full time stage school!

smuggler Tue 14-Jan-14 15:17:32

I agree swimming is a life skill but if she's safe and confident surely that's the most important thing?

TippiShagpile Tue 14-Jan-14 15:18:17

Agree with Lego. My dc had to get to level 7 before the lessons stopped. Level 7 is hard and there's a lot of slogging up and down the pool for 45 minutes at a time but if she knows there's something in it for her at the end it might just give her the incentive she needs!

Tiredemma Tue 14-Jan-14 15:19:11

I would.

My DS has been at stage school since he was 6 (now 10)

He had basic swimming lessons at school and I take him about every two weeks- he is a confident swimmer.

LastingLight Tue 14-Jan-14 15:21:28

It sounds as if she is a confident swimmer and safe in the water. If that was your goal with swimming lessons then by all means stop it and let her do something she will enjoy more.

TwoCatsInTheYard Tue 14-Jan-14 15:24:22

Stage 6 is a pretty good level for a 7 year old isn't it? She will probably progress fairly slowly simply because she is quite young.

You could give swimming lessons a miss for a while and take up lessons in a year or two when she will go up through the levels quicker as she is bigger and stronger.

ApplesinmyPocket Tue 14-Jan-14 15:37:12

Of course swap them! she has learned to swim and is water confident, job done.

Don't underestimate the importance of a child showing enthusiasm for an activity. I found mine progressed very much faster and got much more out of the things theychose, that they enjoyed, than anything I chose for them.

I would swap them too. I did this with my girls at a similar age. They were at a similar stage in swimming to your DD. They were safe and had lots of fun in the pool during summer holidays.
Both get several weeks swimming lessons in school each year. Dd2 has just returned to regular swimming lessons after a 2.5 year break.

Tinkertaylor1 Tue 14-Jan-14 15:54:52

As a swimming teacher I would say carry on. What stage system are you using as the frame we use! stage six is more than competent in all stokes possibly doing 200 m?

I would not quit because she can do a length , quite weak it sounds . Some people a forced in to a false security because they 'think' they can swim. If she got caught in the tide ect later on she would struggle. as I did myself on holiday

Change teacher if she us bored

Tinkertaylor1 Tue 14-Jan-14 15:59:14

apple do not underestimate the need for anybody to be a competent swimmer.

It annoys me do much when people think ' pah, they can do a length !that's it!' Then go on holiday and say ' oh yes dd is a stong swimmer " they are not!

Why any one would not want their child to be a strong swimmer to save their lives is beyond me. It's not actually a little hobby! If you can't swim - you drown! Dead.

WilsonFrickett Tue 14-Jan-14 16:24:40

I agree with pp, get to the level you want her to achieve and then let her change.

Stage School is very expensive. But there may well be local classes around which are a lot cheaper too, so worth investigating. The 'names' do charge a lot and groups based at community theatres are often loads better.

My two swim like fish, but at around your DDs age DD2 messed about in lessons. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if she had stopped. She'd have carried on swimming at school and weekends and learnt almost as much.

We carried on because DD1 was still doing lessons and we met friends at the pool so had playmates and grown up conversation.

curlew Tue 14-Jan-14 16:54:39

Do you live next to a river, a canal or the sea? Do you have an unfenced swimming pool? No?

Then why does she need to swim any better than she can already?

mrsjay Tue 14-Jan-14 16:55:55

your dd might get swimming lessons at school you said she is confident and can swim I think i would stop them and send her to something she enjoys and wants to do does she need to be at a certain level is she likely to be swimmig without an adult anytime soon ddd does drama workshops sh e loves them stage school was too showy for her was a bit to much jazz hands grin but it helps them to grow in confidence and it is something for them to enjoy

Joysmum Tue 14-Jan-14 16:56:12

Given where we live, and the fact that I nearly drowned as a child, my DD was always going to go to swimming lessons. She was swimming a length at 4 years old and I do not consider that to be strong enough to then stop as having gained the required level of life skill.

I'd follow Lego's suggestion. Concentrate her mind on the swimming to earn the stage school lessons.

5Foot5 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:04:12

Why any one would not want their child to be a strong swimmer to save their lives is beyond me. It's not actually a little hobby! If you can't swim - you drown! Dead.

Well only if you get in the situation where you need to be a strong swimmer to save your life!

I can't swim, not really, I always hated being in the water. Yet I have somehow managed to live to the age of 51 and not been in any danger of drowning.

OK, so I might one day be in a boat that capsizes and yes then I will be laughing on the other side of my face - but the chances are very slim.

mrsjay Tue 14-Jan-14 17:25:40

i cant swim that well i have never drowned or fell in water I think the ops dd is a strong enough swimmer and anyway anybody can drown doesnt matter how good or grade your swimming is

TallalittletownofBethlehem Tue 14-Jan-14 17:31:51

I wouldn't. DD is just 6 and in stage 4 swimming (she can easily swim 10 lengths but they are now teaching her proper techniques for the strokes - I am actually sitting watching her slog up and down the pool on her back doing breastroke legs).

She also attends stage school - which she loves - but I would 100% drop SS before swimming at this stage. She definitely isn't what I would call 'safe' in the water... and she is quite happy going chest deep in the sea to 'surf'.

Missing out on SS won't kill her, not being safe in the water might. Especially if she is more water confident than she has the skills to back up.

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jan-14 17:32:49

I would swap them. If your daughter is resentful and unengaged because she wants to be doing a different activity she'll progress more slowly anyway.

Not that many children have swimming lessons past being able to swim. Keep giving her regular exposure to water as a family and she'll continue to swim more strongly as she gets older surely.

MellowAutumn Tue 14-Jan-14 17:39:01

She can swim and will probably improve faster if you swim for fun as a family with enjoyment. At 7 isn't school enough 'have to' activity?

peppinagiro Tue 14-Jan-14 17:42:15

Swop them. My parents forced me to keep going to swimming lessons til I was 12, twice a week. I enjoyed them til I was about your DD's age then they bored me rigid, even when they moved me to different schools. I just stopped trying and coasted, didn't progress, spent the lesson finding ways to skive. I was desperate to do karate but wasn't allowed as the swimming cost too much. Such a PITA. I still hate swimming. I appreciate it's a necessary skill, so my DD is having lessons but I'll stop once she's confident enough tojust go for swims on the weekend with me to keep her stamina up.

WhenWhyWhere Tue 14-Jan-14 17:45:22

As long as you are confident that she is safe in the water then I would let her quit. Maybe, you could comeback to it at a later date to get her to a higher standard.
I let my kids chop and change their extra curricular activities. They had to complete a whole term or whole year depending on the activity. I happily let them drop things they excelled at and take up things that they were, umm, less talented at. I think a lot of parents put too much emphasis on achieving tangible 'targets' rather than just enjoying new activities.
My DS's are at Uni now and are all still doing sports and other extra activities.

cory Tue 14-Jan-14 18:28:07

Can you compromise and find a cheap-ish youth theatre? And take her swimming yourself?

As a foreigner, I find British swimming lessons are very much about technique/preparing for swimming as a sport rather than actual survival/rescue. If you are a confident swimmer yourself you may be able to teach her more useful swimming skills.

Tinkertaylor1 Tue 14-Jan-14 19:02:05

Just because you got to the age of 200 with out drowning,Doesn't mean that everybody else won't either.

How very limiting to have to stay out or only go in the shallow for the rest of your life!

I've taught ladies in their seventies to swim and they said they felt so liberated. What a shame for them to get to that age and had to avoid water for so long or be so careful around it.

I've pulled a toddler up from the deep end when her mother hadn't realised she had wondered takes a split second.

To the people who think there is no need, have you ever tried to swim to the side when you have fallen in water eith all your clothes on? Jeans and jumper, even shorts and t shirts. If you can only swim 25m not efficiently you are going to struggle. If you never needed/ wanted, lived to 200 with out ever going swimming fine but it don't push your limited choice on to your kids .

cory most good pools will offer survival (which briefly gets touched on in the school swimming national curriculum ) or rookie life guard.

5Foot5 Tue 14-Jan-14 20:26:35

How very limiting to have to stay out or only go in the shallow for the rest of your life!

Not limiting at all. I don't particularly want to go in the water because I simply don't enjoy it. The only occasions when I have found it pleasurable are lounging in a Jacuzzi or mineral hot springs.

If you never needed/ wanted, lived to 200 with out ever going swimming fine but it don't push your limited choice on to your kids .

Who said anything about pushing this choice on the kids? The OP would actually be pushing swimming on her reluctant DD if she persists with lessons.

In my own case my DD went to swimming lessons both privately and with school and enjoys it as a leisure activity. Great! But my post was in response to you saying "If you can't swim - you drown!" as if it was an inevitable consequence. It clearly isn't - millions of us non-swimmers live out our natural lives without drowning.

I don't deny it is a useful skill to have but I don't see why it should be given priority over other activities if the child has grasped the basics and is no longer interested. As others have said, she can always come back to it later and she will probably get some lessons through school anyway.

Tinkertaylor1 Tue 14-Jan-14 21:15:58

Not limiting at all. I don't particularly want to go in the water because I simply don't enjoy it. The only occasions when I have found it pleasurable are lounging in a Jacuzzi or mineral hot springs.. Good for you! Unfortunately not every one has access to naice hot springs or jacuzzis!

Maybe I should have said 'if you can't swim and get in danger there is a good fucking chance your going to drown if no one saves your arse for you ' is that better?

And you are limiting people when you dont encourage this skill.

It's not a useful skill - it's a life preserving skill. But hey as long as kids can do jazz hands ! Should look snazzy when shouting for help !

Shente Tue 14-Jan-14 21:36:23

If you force her to go on swimming she is likely to resent it and unlikely to gain much from it anyway. She has good basic skills so why not agree that she can go to stage school but must swim regularly and build up her stamina in the pool away from lessons? I am a poor swimmer and fully intend to ensure my daughter does not follow in my footsteps but I also value her happiness - there are enough things in life she will have to do and as long as she has basic water skills I will be happy that she has a base to build on. I do think there is sometimes a hysteria about swimming, yes you might be in a ship that capsizes but it's pretty unlikely that in that situation swimming will save you, not many ships capsize within a few yards of the shore. if you don't enjoy being in water enough to want to pursue swimming lessons the likelihood is that you won't want to go swimming in water that may have a current or be otherwise dangerous. I know I will be shouted down with this view but I'm with 5foot5.

dixiechick1975 Tue 14-Jan-14 21:54:35

Wont she be going with school soon?

My DD is 7 and goes weekly with school. I stopped her private lessons as soon as she went into year 3 and started going with school.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-Jan-14 22:02:27

They go with school for at least a year, there are holidays and of course local leisure centre pools that are free or cheap for dc to build up stamina with what they are learning.
We didn't have endless swimming lessons when we were little. If you can't swim too well, you don't go to near the water grin

WorraLiberty Tue 14-Jan-14 22:04:29

Take her swimming yourself and help her brush up on her strokes

I had no idea hardly anyone teaches their kids to swim any more until I found Mumsnet.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 14-Jan-14 22:05:27


ODFOD with the hysteria.

Tinkertaylor1 Tue 14-Jan-14 22:05:53

shente there is no hysteria about a ship sinking. That's just stupid . The real risk is actually falling in some where by accident fully clothed or getting tired while swimming in larger body's of water with tides, rivers ect.

I teach swimming so know how dangerous it can be . Most lessons last 30 minutes. So not going to be detrimental to her well being hmm

Tinkertaylor1 Tue 14-Jan-14 22:07:28

more ODFOD yourself.

I love hysteria/ hysterical being used when people are talking out of their arses.

I think one of the biggest dangers is people over estimating their ability(especially in the sea). Switch to the drama stuff, keep on swimming without lessons and get her surf lifesaving lessons or something in the future if she wants to go back to that.

curlew Tue 14-Jan-14 22:24:34

Tinkertqylor - do you really think that swimming lessons in a heated pool are going to be much help if you fall fully clothed into a dirty, rubbish filled freezing canal? Or if you are caught in flood water, or a tidal rip in the sea?

Shente Tue 14-Jan-14 22:40:12

I'm sorry tinker tailor but I do think there are a lot of potential hazards in life (of which water is undoubtably one) but swimming seems to be the one thing that people seem obsessed with formalised levels and training. Yes it could save your life but the vast majority of people never get into such a situation because they have been taught to understand the hazards posed by water and know to exercise caution around it.

Nerfmother Tue 14-Jan-14 22:43:46

When you say stage school, do you mean weekend lessons or a school? I have never heard of a stage school except for the one in Fame for grown ups confused

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 14-Jan-14 22:50:50

I suspect the op means weekend lessons but there are lots of full time stage/performing arts schools for children in the UK.

Nerfmother Tue 14-Jan-14 23:00:20

Really? I actually thought they didn't exist. Are they all private?

JockTamsonsBairns Tue 14-Jan-14 23:03:17

Under what circumstances could one accidentally fall fully clothed into deep waters? I get that occasionally ships capsize, but like another pp said - would swimming lessons be sufficient in being able to swim several km's ashore?

I'm generally just extra careful not to act the goat around waterfalls / rapids etc, that's served me well up til now.

MellowAutumn Tue 14-Jan-14 23:07:52

Mine do stagecoach every Sunday An hour each of singing, dancing and Acting - expensive but has increased their confidence and public speaking fantastically has also helped with some SN issues - I could not teach them to act dance or sing - Swimming I can do as I expect most adults could can't see the point in lessons past a reasonable competency point unless they want to swim competitively. I do think Life Saving should be taught in School as a standard skill though.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 14-Jan-14 23:10:37

Most are private.

However there are two (Brit School in London, & Birmingham Ormiston Academy) that are state funded

There is also funding available for dancers from the governments Music & Dance Scheme at four schools including the one my dd attends.

Off the top of my head the major stage schools are Tring Park, Hammond, Sylvia Young, Italia Conti, Arts Educational School & Redroofs.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 14-Jan-14 23:11:38

There are more.

BackforGood Tue 14-Jan-14 23:11:58

I would say that she can go to Stage School when she can confidently swim something like 400m. On length (25m) is still very early stages and not a confident swimmer at all.
a) it should focus her mind, with a goal to work towards
b) it will give you chance to start saving so you are not scrimping every month after she starts.

yummumto3girls Tue 14-Jan-14 23:16:03

Well I'm with Tinkertaylor on this, I don't care if my children don't enjoy swimming (fortunately they all do) but living by the sea and a river means they are going to dam well be able to swim well enough to save their lives. I can't imagine going on holiday and having to constantly worry about their safety in the water. Not all schools run swimming lessons, ours does it for one term, thirty kids in the water, that's really not sufficient for them to progress. She is only 7, she has many years ahead for stage school. Local theatre groups are often way cheaper than the big commercial stage groups who are extortionately priced, might be worth looking in to.

Nerfmother Tue 14-Jan-14 23:22:10

Thanks pictures. Really interesting.

Olivegirl Tue 14-Jan-14 23:24:09

Both our dds learnt to swim right from an early age to around 12 when they were strong confident swimmers and were at club level.

At this point they did not want to carry on which was fine . But I would not have let them quit before they were strong swimmers

No matter how much they complained about lessons ( didn't too much)

Now dds 18 and 16....we are so glad we carried on it was the best money spent and we see now how important it is to be good strong swimmers ( a lot more than a length)

Going on family holidays where they jump off boats , do all kinds of water sports, swimming with dolphins in the sea.

And now this year they will be going on holidays with there own friends.... I would be worried sick if I didn't think they were capable swimmers in all situations.

BackforGood Tue 14-Jan-14 23:51:49

Yes to all that Olive has said.
Mine have all loved doing kayaking, sailing, rafting, pioneering projects over water, just chilling in a boat or joining in fun games and activities on holiday, swimming in lakes, leaping off jetties, etc.,etc.etc. None of which they could do without being strong, confident swimmers - it isn't just about drowning.
It's also a great activity they can go off and do as a "something to do with friends" in the local pool from when they were 8 - great school holiday / weekend activity.
Also enjoyed at various times things like water polo and triathlon.
SO much to be gained from being a strong swimmer.

bruffin Wed 15-Jan-14 00:11:06

I also dont think swimming a length is a strong swimmer especially if it doesnt involve good strokes.
Dd loves theatre but apart from a week long summer course she never bothered with lessons. Our local school is just a cashcow for the owner who even charges to put postcards on notice board to sell old leotards etc. She even charged the kids to be in West end productions of Joseph.Dd got involved in drama at secondary school and loves it but swimming has been more valuable to her
Like Backforgood both dcs love water sports. Ds is a qualified lifeguard and earns good money from it while still in school. Dd now thinking about doing her qualification.

curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 07:20:57

If I didn't know better, I would think there was some sort of conspiracy by the companies that provide swimming lessons. Of course being able to swim is a good thing, and essential if you live near any sort of open water or take part in water sports. But since when has it been an essential life skill to be able to swim 400m and be able to do all strokes? Under what circumstances is being able to swim 100m fly an essential life skill? Frankly, the times when you are likely to drown you will either be fine if you can keep yourself afloat til rescued, or you will have fallen into fast flowing water or into dirty freezing canal-type fully clothed, when swimming pool swimming won't help you.

MrsDavidBowie Wed 15-Jan-14 08:35:03

I hate water.
I can happily go on holiday and never even go near the sea apart from to admire it from afar.

I was taught to swim by my dad in the sixties..there was no such thing as private classes then (certainly not where I lived). We didn't go with school till we were 10 .
My dad had a particular reason to teach us to swim. In 1959, he was looking after about 8 young cousins on a beach in Wales, aged about 6-12. One drowned...on a calm day, no waves, just an undercurrent. He had to carry the little boy to the car which took him to the hospital, and apologised to the owner of the car for making the seats all wet [Sad]

Dh loves the water, and always took the children swimming...they are very strong swimmers in their teens and love the water.

Oh that's awful Bowie sad

But I think that highlights a problem - people have swimming lessons & think they're safe in open water - they're not. My children are quite cautious of the sea but one thing I've started to teach then is how to spot a rip & to check for them before you get in. Every summer when I'm surfing I find little kids floating backwards in rips holding onto their bodyboarders. Shorty wetsuits (so they're going to get cold) floating into the areas where people are surfing. Parents nowhere to be seen, with no understanding that their children are actually behaving dangerously.

My kids do have swimming lessons & one does a lot of drama. OP it is worth checking out local theatres for drama lessons as they're often cheaper than the franchises. You can then swap to whatever you want when she's older (so switch to a franchise of you prefer I mean).

SlightlyTerrified Wed 15-Jan-14 08:55:49

We stopped DS1s swimming as he didn't really enjoy it but we waiting until he could swim lengths well (not sure of the level but not as high as 7 I don't think).

We go on holiday regularly and he is fine in a 2m deep pool on his on (if we are on the side so not far away) and is confident jumping in etc.

We also live right by the sea so he swims in the sea in the smmer, he is not allowed further than his waist though as there is a strong current. We only ever go between the lifeguard flags as TBH I can swim a long way but have never been a strong swimmer and I swam for a lot longer than DS, I am just not that good at it.

I think he has the skills to save his life or keep afloat but there are a couple of cases a year where we live where even the strongest swimmers lose their lives in the sea (often saving young swimmers) so I don't think it is right to say if they are not at a particular level they won't drown. It is more about preparing them as much as you feel necessary and ensuring you try to stay as safe as possible in those situations.

Actually worse than the parents nowhere to be seen are the

Ones standing on the shore watching apparently oblivious to the fact their child is getting in trouble.

SlightlyTerrified Wed 15-Jan-14 08:57:47

My kids think I am awful but they are not allowed inflatables in the sea at all as I just think they are so dangerous.

coco44 Wed 15-Jan-14 09:00:32

When is she going to fall in and be more than 25m from land/boat.
People will say Oh but it's much more difficult in clothes.True but musculat strength and muscular endurance are 2 very different things.So unless she practises swimming in full heavy clothing (not pyjamas!) it really doesn't help!

coco44 Wed 15-Jan-14 09:01:27

'My kids think I am awful but they are not allowed inflatables in the sea at all '

good god I should think not!!

2rebecca Wed 15-Jan-14 09:27:25

I think stopping swimming if you can swim a length comfortably is OK providing you still take them swimming for fun. We used to go every week or 2 at that age and had fun racing each other, diving down to catch the fish ring things you can buy, seeing how long we could hold our breath or swim under water for, playing on large inflatables the council would put in the pool and other stuff. They don't swim with much style now but can both do a width under water and dive down to the bottom to pick things up and are confident in the water.
As my daughter kayaks her confidence in water is very important.

CecilyP Wed 15-Jan-14 10:48:45

if you don't enjoy being in water enough to want to pursue swimming lessons the likelihood is that you won't want to go swimming in water that may have a current or be otherwise dangerous. I know I will be shouted down with this view but I'm with 5foot5.

No you are absolutely right. Many drowning accidents are caused by bravado of people (statistically, mostly male) who are confident at swimming which encourages them to take risks. Swimming in a warm calm swimming pool is very different from swimming in cold open water with a current.

2rebecca Wed 15-Jan-14 11:10:30

I disagree that not wanting to do swimming lessons means you dislike being in water.
I do alot of water sports and enjoy swimming but didn't enjoy swimming lessons beyond a certain age when they were focusing on crawl technique and face under the water stuff and it became very competitive.
I'm thinking now of maybe getting the odd lesson as although I swim at least once a week and can swim 1km I'm mainly doing breaststroke which is slow. I'm not convinced making me attend lessons when I disliked it would have helped though. As a child we just went to the pool alot as a family and I'd race my sibs and dad doing lengths to build up my confidence.
We had swimming lessons with the school until 11 though as there was a good local pool.

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 11:33:56

curlew learning how to swim in a naice heated clean swimming pool won't help if your child has fallen in a rapid river... But it will certainly help and give them a chance .

Also there is no conspircy , no one needs to to be able to swim butterfly 400meters. But as a nation we all moan when we have Olympics or common wealth we fall short so why can't we start teaching our kids from an early age to encourage them in this sport? - by the way if a child gets to this point it's turned it to a sport rather than a life skill.

People get taught all stroke as often they have a particular style, they may find breast stoke more natural or front crawl - if we just taught f/s it wouldn't be inclusive to all. If your paying to learn a skill, why not learn it all properly. I think you project your own dislikes on it curlew and that's selfish .

Children are clumsy, they do fall in. As I stated up thread I pulled a toddler out of the deep end while her parent wasn't watching on holiday. I scoop out over excited non swimmers all the time at the pool. I'm glad that all the adults that have stated " oh I don't go near the water - I'm very sensible , can you afford that to your kids? really ?

I've always enjoyed holidays, deep sea swimming,scuba, snorkeling , diving ect if that not fir you fine. But your children may feel differently as they get older.

And for some elderly people that learn to swim, it's wonderful as they were never given the chance /bad experience/ hiding in the shallow .

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 11:50:32

By the way it's very unpleasant watching a child struggle and need help . I just wouldn't want to put my kids in that situation.

Yes it is a small risk , that a boat may capsize hmm or an accident my occur but it's there nether the less.

SlightlyTerrified Wed 15-Jan-14 12:24:05

Coco you would be amazed how many children are allowed very far out on inflatables/body boards etc.

A couple of years ago a teenager was allowed (by their mum) to take their 3 YO sibling out in an inflatable dingy, they got in trouble and a member of the public went to save them (which he did) but drowned in the process. He was 31 I think and left behind a wife and child. The stretch of water is not water that most people swim in, that particular part is generally a sunbathing beach as the current is so strong.

Megrim Wed 15-Jan-14 13:09:06

I run swimming lessons for a swimming club, catering to children who just want to learn to swim as well as those that are interested in going into competitive swimming. We have plenty of parents who apply for lessons saying their child can swim lengths, is water confident, can manage all strokes etc, expecting the child to go straight into lengths lessons, and are then surprised to find that our head coach assesses the child and puts them into beginner lessons in the shallow end. It's all too easy to think your child swims like a dolphin when the reality is they swim like a brick.

If your daughter is at stage 6 (I'm guessing this is the ASA scheme?) then that is still quite basic skills and distances, I would not say a child working through stage 6 could be classified as a competent swimmer.

Personally, I'd keep with the swimming lessons and find a kid's drama club for the next few months - with stage school as the motivation to pulling her finger out with the swimming.

OP says that lessons at a different swim school would be more expensive - out of interest, what are your lesson costs?

When my DD had completed all the stages at her swimming school, she was offered a survival skills course. She had to be fully dressed for all lessons, they concentrated on swimming out of their depth for the full 30 minutes (slowly and carefully so as to conserve energy and keep their head dry), using found objects as floats, how to wave and shout for help without sinking/wearing yourself out, treading water as a group (holding each other and taking it in turns to wave), learning how to throw a rope or buoy and hauling someone in to the side, being hauled in, how to swim and support your friends head above water, how to hang on to as much body heat as possible etc. etc.

DD found it exhausting but very, very enjoyable. Swimming with clothes on and the strokes used on the survival course were very different from the strokes used for speed.

I still think she would struggle if she unexpectedly found herself in deep water - but I think she has been given some tools which might help keep her going for a few extra minutes.

Joysmum Wed 15-Jan-14 13:21:17

What's all this talk about the sea, yes we are and island, but we are also an island with lots of rivers, lakes and ponds.

Megrim Wed 15-Jan-14 13:25:36

Should also add - I have done the offshore survival course, where you get dunked in a tank of cold water in a helicopter mock-up. I'm a reasonable swimmer, and knew what was going to happen, but being fully dressed (in a survival suit so at least dry) and disorientated in cold water is no fun, and I did the basic version where the lights are on and the water is calm. I really felt for the non-swimmer on the course.

curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 13:54:01

"I think you project your own dislikes on it curlew and that's selfish "

No, you couldn't be more wrong- we are a very water oriented family- we all swim and sail and kayak. I am, as it happens, a yachtmaster!

I just think that swimming lessons have become a thing that people never question. I think that all children should be able to swim- but suggesting that the OP's child should stick at the lessons til she can swim 400m all strokes, as someone did, when she would rather be doing a different activity is just silly.

bruffin Wed 15-Jan-14 14:53:56

Nobody said 400m all strokes

SlightlyTerrified Wed 15-Jan-14 15:24:51

JoysMum I don't really understand, presumably the people talking about the sea are people who live near the sea or visit the sea. I have never taken my children near a lake as we don't have any near us so not relevant to us, I am guessing people are posting about their specific experiences.

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 15:27:32

curlew so all your children can swim effectively and safely yet you are advising some one not to bother with their kids - tad hypocritical .

curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 15:32:34

No. My children can swim at the level required for the activities they do and the life we lead. Or probably better-because they like swimming. The op's dd can swim- and would rather do something else. I think that,s entirely sensible. Not hypocritical at all.

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 15:44:31

Managing 25m not in a recognised stroke isn't being able to swim adequately.

curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 16:25:16

So why does it have to be a "recognized stroke"?

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 16:37:41

Because if you can't tell what the hell it is it's clearly going to be very weak what ever they are attempting

Megrim Wed 15-Jan-14 16:48:16

Agree with Tink on this one - 25m of doggy paddle does not equate to being able to swim adequately.

curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 17:17:59

Really? Surely if you can swim 25m with confidence it
doesn't actually matter how?

Megrim Wed 15-Jan-14 17:35:40

Guess you have a different concept of "adequately" than me.

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 17:38:42


curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 17:50:56

Well, adequately to me is being able to stay afloat til rescued if you fall into water, to have fun at the beach and to be safe and unpanicky out of your depth. What's your definition?

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 18:05:00

curlew learning to float is a staple part of swimming! unfortunately not all people find it easy. Men/boys especially struggle as they tend to be leaner with less body fat known as sinkers Busty women float great !

What if you fell in on your own with no one to help? One of the things we teach our kids is not to try to attempt a rescue as it will more than likely end in a double catastrophe . Also treading water for a long time is exhausting , if taught correctly it saves energy, a thrashing frantic child is gonna run out of steam pretty quick.

If parents come to me saying that there dc is getting bored in one of the classes, I will move them to a class with different dynamics. But urge them to hang on till at least their 50m is done. If the child's getting bored it's the teachers fault.

bruffin Wed 15-Jan-14 18:07:54

Of course stroke matters. Having a good stroke and proper breathing technique makes the world of difference to swimming with efficiency and stamina.
I am sure in Netherlands you have to have a swimming certificate to do certain things and that is a min of 50m as well as other skills.

curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 18:32:57

So what is your definition of an adequate swimmer? If being confident in the water and covering 25m without difficulty doesn't cut it? I presume that anyone who has reached that stage in lessons would also be able to float?

And yes, of course you have to be able to do more than that for some activities. But not, presumably, stage school- which is what the OP's dd wants to do!

CurlsLDN Wed 15-Jan-14 18:37:54

I did a few basic swimming lessons with school, and swam loads on holidays. I later became a lifeguard on the Thames.

I went to youth theatre from aged 11-18, I made my closest ever friends, learnt confidence, team work, creativity, public speaking, all things that I put to good use in professional and everyday life as an adult.

You don't have to be an Olympic swimmer to swim!

bruffin Wed 15-Jan-14 18:41:46

This is what i found about the netherlands swim certificate system

"They are taught not to panic and how to react in a controlled, safe environment and the tasks even for very young children are quite substantial, the First diploma is the “A” certificate and children are required to be able to swim 50 metres in both breaststroke and backstroke and swim 3 meters underwater through a large hole in a canvas panel for instance, and this increases to 75 meters and 6 meters underwater for the “B” diploma exam.

Later for the “C” diploma the kids have to achieve 100 meters swimming, in swimsuit and then swimsuit and clothes, with obstacles and forward rolls into the water, and 9 meters underwater and swimming through the panel with the hole in it.

Children who have not yet achieved their “A” diploma are required to wear inflatable armbands in all public swimming pools until they do, and many school and outdoor organisations will not let children take part in water activities if they have not achieved the three ”A”, “B” and “C” diplomas. "

Which sounds pretty good to me.

curlew Wed 15-Jan-14 19:01:52

Well frankly, arm bands until you can swim 50 meters strikes me completely daft.

bruffin Wed 15-Jan-14 19:12:33

I bet its a big incentive to pass the certificates though.

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 19:23:02

I don't advocate armbands till 50m! That is daft and demoralising!

The frame we follow is once they complete 5m with out floatation aid all discs/bands are off - for good.

bruffin Wed 15-Jan-14 19:30:35

Thats not in lessons just in public pools i think.The pools i have been in the netherlands had free life jackets on the side of the pool.

smuggler Wed 15-Jan-14 21:41:03

Thanks for all of your replies, they've been interesting to read. Though we don't live near the sea, dd has actually managed to fall in a canal when she was fishing a couple of years ago. Obviously no current there but she didn't panic (despite it being March and freezing!) and swam to the side. She also swims in the sea on holiday under close supervision. She is quite small for her age which is why I think she struggles to get the hang of the strokes. I think it was a valid point whoever said restarting the lessons when she's a bit bigger and stronger might be a good option. I think she'd enjoy water sportswhen older and until then is obviously not going to be anywhere near water unsupervised.

hippo123 Wed 15-Jan-14 21:52:16

op is that ASA stage 6? If so that's very good for a 7 year old who's only been having lessons for a year.

smuggler Wed 15-Jan-14 22:06:47

Yes that's ASA stage 6. I know her school friends are in stage 3 generally and have been having lessons longer (some since 6 months old...imagine how much they've spent!) but thought it was dds confidence that had gotten her to stage 6. She's just turned 7, is stage 6 good for her age then?

hippo123 Wed 15-Jan-14 22:11:46

I'm no expert but I would say it was yes. Ds is almost 7 and has just got into stage 4 having been having lessons since 4.5 years. Most of his class (year 2) are either stage 3 or 4, I think one boy is stage 5.
I would make sure I took her swimming once or twice a month and let her enjoy the stage school for now. Won't she be getting swimming lessons in school next year as well?

smuggler Wed 15-Jan-14 22:33:05

Yes she'll go swimming with school next year but I can't see her learning much then as most children are non-swimmers/some are scared of water etc. We go swimming at weekends at least once or twice per month and extra in school holidays. It's just frustrating as I also have a toddler who isn't so keen on swimming so dd never gets to swim as much as she'd like to. Pre-toddler we'd go for three hours! I wish toddler and I could watch from the side so dd could swim more but not allowed to do that until she's 8. However there's a local outside pool where she's allowed to swim alone so we use that when weather permits.

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 22:34:37

smuggler I'd your dd is in stage six and can just about do a length she has been failed badly.
Stage 1 aiming to do 5m
Stage 2 = 10 m - red hat
Stage 3 = 25m - orange
Stage 4 = 50m - yellow
Stage 5 = 100m - light blue
Stage 6 = 200m - dark blue

This is the ASA stage frame work ? What area are you in?

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 22:36:15

there will be swimmers in her class at school and the will stand out immediately . The lessons are much fuller and tbh you do t get through much.

PurpleSprout Wed 15-Jan-14 23:03:12

Your DD can swim.

I did swimming lessons for years as a kid. I'm not a natural swimmer. I can swim a mile, sure, no problem but I do not, never have had and never will have a strong enough swimming stroke to pull myself out of a problem current or get out of freezing water before it affects me.

I even tried lessons as an adult to improve (because I fancied triathlon and I'm a reasonably cyclist).

If she can swim effectively and you know how to improve her stroke, can you help he improve through family swim time and divert the lesson money to stage school?

smuggler Wed 15-Jan-14 23:05:23

Yes that's the colour hats their scheme follows. I didn't say she can just about do a length, she can swim a length easily - I've never made her swim until she could no longer swim so no idea how many she is capable of. At our leisure centre they're in the learner pool until they reach stage 5 so are definitely not swimming 50m.

smuggler Wed 15-Jan-14 23:07:14

Purple dp works a lot of weekends and I also have a toddler so teaching her myself is difficult.

WeddingComingUp Wed 15-Jan-14 23:26:30

Ds1 is 5 and in level 3. I wouldn't say he'd be able to swim 25m with no flotation devices though. He could easily do it with a handheld float, but probably not solo.

PurpleSprout Wed 15-Jan-14 23:27:44

smuggler Sorry yes, can see that. I just wondered if you felt guilty (and I'm not saying you should) about her learning, could you bolster it outwith lessons more cheaply. It may be not.

I was more thinking what do you need to be water-safe for? If it's the pool at home and on hols, supervised on the beach etc. and you think you're DD is ready then maybe she could stop lessons and do the practice at work.

If it's 'I've been unsupervised and jumped into a fast-flowing river' then, umm, don't let her? If it's once you're an adult etc. then my comment above applies, best I'm fit, I had years of swimming lessons, got all my badges as a kid and am still not a good swimmer. I can swim for hours, but irrelevant because I can't propel myself out of trouble particularly quickly despite some specific training around it (I wanted to dive / snorkel).

Tinkertaylor1 Wed 15-Jan-14 23:32:35

smuggler this is what your dd should be doing.

We all run of the Asa frame work . There is also a set of skills she would have had to do. Ask to see them if she can't do them/ hasn't been shown ask to talk to the swimming co-ordinator.
Otherwise you are wasting time and money

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