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Are swimming lessons for an almost 4 year old worth it?

(22 Posts)
Flowerspowers Mon 25-Aug-14 17:42:17

I hope this is posted in the right section...

My daughter has been to swimming classes/lessons since she was 12 weeks old. The classes she was taking before the summer break seemed more focused on water confidence than learning to swim. There were up to 5/6 children to one teacher which could have prevented more speedy development. I have been told about classes with a 1:2 teacher:child ratio but consequently they cost quite a lot (for me).

Money is now a bit tight and I'm wondering about the value of paying for lessons vs me/ DH taking her swimming ourselves each week.

Can I expect a 4 year old to be able to swim? Is it worth investing in lessons with smaller classes or should I/DH take her swimming each week to retain water confidence and she'll learn more at school?

Views from your experience would be welcomed.

Many thanks.

murphy36 Mon 25-Aug-14 17:51:33

My 10m old goes to classes which are crazy expensive. I've started thinking about just buying a book and going to the pool at quiet times to help out with ££

For a 4year old I think it'd be absolutely fine. Friend of mines takes 5 and 3.5 yr olds once a week without a problem

Jenninlw Mon 25-Aug-14 18:51:54

My dd has been having water babies lessons since she was 4 months old and now at 20 months old I would say she's not far off swimming independently. After this I'm considering teaching her the techniques myself for front crawl etc. Can your child swim but you're wondering about proper stroke technique? You can get proper lessons for this in local swimming clubs that might be worth it for this and are cheaper than the water babies type lessons.

Smartiepants79 Mon 25-Aug-14 18:56:50

Well unless she lives outside the UK or is going to private school she will not learn anything about swimming at school for several years yet.
I send my daughter who is just 4 to lessons, 2:6 ratio. She can't 'swim' but is extremely water confident and is making good progress. We pay about £60 a term.
If you can take her every week then I would say the 1:2 classes are unnecessary.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 25-Aug-14 19:01:23

She's probably a bit young for 'correct stroke technique' to be relevant. Also at this age all the group won't be good at following instructions so they're not always too productive. I'd say that if money is tight (or time, or if a child isn't really keen) then ditch the lessons for now, take her swimming yourself. I'd be inclined to get her some proper lessons when she's 6 or 7 (well before any school lessons).

heritagewarrior Mon 25-Aug-14 19:02:14

We took our twins out of a class with 4 or 5 others when they were about 4.5, and started them having 1:2 lessons. They are now approaching their 6th birthday, both swim independently and are starting to learn the different strokes so not just doggy paddle. The 1:2 lessons are definitely more expensive, but our swim school allows us to book them as an when, cancel (with notice) without having to pay, and they definitely get more tuition. My husband timed to amount of teaching time they actually got in the group lessons and they were getting about 6 mins each in every half hour lesson, so we think this works out as better value....!

heritagewarrior Mon 25-Aug-14 19:02:50

*and not an

ElephantsNeverForgive Mon 25-Aug-14 19:22:22

Depends how keen your DD is and wether she'll let you teach her.

Both DDs just went to the cheapish council lessons and both could do a length of the pool just after/ just before their 5th birthdays.

DD2 would do centre park rapids and big water shoots at 5.5.

I don't think she would have learnt as well for me.

However, most of my generation swim perfectly well and most of us could swim before school tried to teachers. I learnt in the sea before I can even remember.

Waggamamma Mon 25-Aug-14 19:50:14

My ds goes to swimming lessons 1:6 ratio. He's nearly 4 and can swim a length of the pool independently without any floats etc. He's been going to lessons for about a year. Previous to that he did water confidence classes with me from 4months old.

Ours cost £35 for ten weeks. I couldn't have taught him myself to swim as well as he can swim now. He's learming strokes, breathing techniques and pushing off atm. I think the format of structured lessons are good for him, when I take him myself it's more of a play/splash around.

murphy36 Mon 25-Aug-14 19:52:07

Why take them to a 1:2 expensive teacher... If you can swim you'll do fine teaching them and having fun.

I wouldn't get a teacher to teach mine how to ride a bicycle for example smile JDIY

May09Bump Mon 25-Aug-14 19:58:15

If you can do wait till 5.6 and start 1-1 private lessons as better value teacher time. In the meantime work on water confidence with / without aids yourself and save the money for private lessons later. Worked much better for us in terms of progression - quite a few people we know have said group classes didn't work.

Anotheronesoon Mon 25-Aug-14 20:11:53

Our ds1 has been swimming since eight weeks and at around 14 months we stopped for a term with the idea of taking him ourselves. Well we hardly ever went and when we did go it was easier in the pool to have both me and dh so we could swim him to each other. By the time we paid for two adult swims for half an hour of pool time, in a pool that was considerably colder than the one he had lessons in - we decided he got a lot more from lessons and now at two years he is almost swimming independently and loving his lessons !

mamadoc Tue 26-Aug-14 08:01:29

DD started 1:3 lessons age 4 and can swim independently 400m all strokes now aged 7 and she is by no means talented at it. It is quite a struggle for her but the teacher is really encouraging and she loves it.

The lessons are expensive but DH and I are a bit crap at swimming and don't like it so it was never going to happen if left to us. School lessons are few and far between and not very effective. Age 2 she was terrified of water and wouldn't go in at all so we thought small classes were needed.

The classes have been really good and I have felt it was worth the money.

I plan to start DS at around the same age. Some of the kids in her class were only 3 though and they did just as well.

Hulababy Tue 26-Aug-14 08:07:57

All the lessons at the council run pools here don't take children til they are 5y. So dd didn't have lessons til then other than parent and bay/toddler splash sessions.

She learnt to swim pretty quickly one she started though.

3y or almost 4 is still pretty young tbh

Tweetinat Tue 26-Aug-14 08:11:21

Well worth it. DS was swimming independently just before his 4th birthday after half a term if group lessons. Before that we'd done baby classes from 9w-2.5yrs when he started to get upset for some reason. We persevered with weekly splash time in the local pool for a year brought his confidence right back and then started with the lessons when we could tell that he was ready for more but we didn't know what to do next. Worth every penny as it's made holidays so much more fun and relaxing knowing he is confident in the water

westcountrywoman Tue 26-Aug-14 08:16:47

Yes if the classes are small enough to give them the attention they need. They're not used to following instructions in the same way that older children are so need more time for demonstrations etc.
My 4 year old has a shared lesson (2 preschoolers, 1 teacher in the water with them) and can now swim about 10m. The earlier they are safe in the water, the better.

m0therofdragons Tue 26-Aug-14 08:17:18

Dd started at 5 as in reception she was getting very tired. In the summer after reception she did an intensive 30 minute a day for 2 weeks crash course and as a result skipped straight into stage 2. She then went into lessons but with 6 in a class she wasn't improving and although she's now swimming I've not been very happy but couldn't find anything better locally. Doing it myself isn't an option as I have 2 younger dds and cannot take all three in the pool myself.
She's starting new lessons at a private gym/pool this week and class sizes are only 4dc so I'm hoping this will improve things. I think it depends on the child and how it fits with your day.

Bedsheets4knickers Tue 26-Aug-14 09:50:37

My son will be 4 in 2 weeks . He's not very confident in the water . I was going to start lessons but I think he'd need 1 to1 . I've decided to spend 12 months taking him myself once a wk while my other child goes nursey. Hopefully il be able to teach him the basics then he can have proper lessons at 5

Flowerspowers Fri 29-Aug-14 21:43:44

Thanks so much for taking the one to reply. I'm now more convinced that swimming lessons are the way to go (I have a 3 month old too which makes it impossible for me to give DD any attention in the pool).

If you know of any good swim schools in North London it would be great to hear (not sure if naming contravenes mumsnet rules though?). I've shopped around but the I'm finding costs are anywhere between £15 and £24 per lesson. May be I should travel to outside London where prices are cheaper ...

Bakersbum Fri 29-Aug-14 21:54:39

My ds is 3.5 and has been going to council 1:6 ratios since Easter, his water confidence has grown massively and he can swim with a float for a fairly long distance now. Next term they will be losing the floats. I am really happy with it and it's really exceeded my expectations. It's £80 a term here.

Pico2 Fri 29-Aug-14 22:02:27

My DD is nearly 4 and has had 8 1:1 lessons so far. She was happy in the water before the lessons, but her swimming teacher knows what skills she needs to develop and how to make the lessons fun for her. Her teacher does stuff with her that she wouldn't do for me or I wouldn't dare to try. She has just started to do a bit without arm bands, which I wouldn't have thought possible a couple of months ago - her progress is really fast. I don't think that the teacher cold do this as well with a much higher ratio class as she does have to be ready to fish DD out if she doesn't resurface. We are outside London, but Home Counties and 1:1 is £13 for half an hour in our local pool.

BarbarianMum Fri 29-Aug-14 23:05:52

Honestly, I'd use the money to take her swimming once a week and put her in lessons aged 5. What she can learn at 4 she'll learn twice as quickly aged 5, esp if she's confident in the water.

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