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NOW CLOSED Talk to Speedo about children learning to swim and be in with a chance of winning 1 of 3 £50 Speedo vouchers

(172 Posts)
TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 01-Nov-12 10:15:40

As part of the work we're doing with Speedo, we want to find out what you think about all things swimming-related. Here's what Speedo say about what they're doing: "With new research revealing that 40% of British children can't swim, Speedo has teamed up with Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and her mum Kay to launch a new learn to swim competition, in a bid to empower parents and children to take the plunge, have fun and get in the pool."

We've provided a few questions to get you started but please feel free to add any other comments you have. Everyone who adds their comments here will be entered into a prize draw to win one of three £50 Speedo vouchers to spend in store or online.

This thread is open to all MNers. Please note that your comments may appear (anonymously) on the Speedo pages on Mumsnet, and potentially elsewhere.

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

You can also enter Speedo's competition on Mumsnet here.

MNHQ

elizaco Thu 01-Nov-12 13:56:20

I think it is so important to teach, and encourage children to swim. My own daughters started lessons soon after they started school, and still have weekly lessons now that they're 11 and 8.

I think parents have the responsibility, but think school should also be involved. My children have both had lessons with school in Years 3, 4 and 5.

I have not been involved in teaching them to swim - I've left that up to the teacher!

My children love their swimming lessons.

As they have regular lessons, I don't feel pressurised to take them. I'm not a fan of swimming myself though, so if they didn't have lessons, we probably wouldn't go that often.

Ivytheterrible Thu 01-Nov-12 14:12:52

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?
Yes crucial even if just for water safety and confidence - it's is a life skill. I'm a qualified swimming teacher and I think you should start encouraging them to have fun in the water as soon as you can. if you are talking about having formal lessons 4 or 5 is young enough.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?
A combination works best so in early years I think the parent/family member is best as the child is more likely to feel confident with them. However I have had several children who have been swimming with nervous parents and the parents have unintentionally passed on the insecurities to the child through there own body language. When moving into formal lessons and working on stroke technique I think it is better to have a teacher but then supplement this with fun time at pools with friends and family.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?
I have been taking my now 2yr old swimming since she was 8 weeks. She can swim around 10metres with her armbands inflated. i am now working on slowly deflating them so she gets used to using her own buoyancy and making sure she has time with no armbands on. yes i feel confident teaching her at the moment and it is working but when she moves into lessons i think it's better that I don't teach her.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?
Yes she loves it but she doesn't see it as "learning to swim" so it isn't a chore for either of us. We just do lots of water based play - finding items in the pool, jumping up and down with me holding her, her jumping in etc so she finds it fun. I have taught older children who hated coming to lessons and were dragged there by parents who had the best possible intentions. I always focus on some fun stuff like swimming underwater, games in the pool etc. Developing water skills without thinking about it is the way forward!

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?
Yes but the pressure really comes from myself and other family members. We are a swimming family - i have competed since i was 9 and still do along with my dad and brother and we are heavily involved with a swimming club. The expectation is that my DD will follow in our footsteps and so the pressure is from this angle and if she doesn't want to do the sport or isn't good at it!

messtins Thu 01-Nov-12 14:13:05

It's very important for children to learn to swim. It's potentially a lifesaver as well as being good exercise and fun. I'd like to give my kids the chance to participate inn other water sports when they are older for which being a strong swimmer will be a requirement.
I see it as my responsibility to teach them or see that they are taught by an instructor. We've done mum and baby lessons with both then independent lessons from 3. Oldest DS, 6, can swim 25m. Once they can swim 50m they can choose whether to continue lessons or not.
We don't swim much in addition to their weekly lessons apart from holidays. The local pool is horrendously busy at the weekend, often we can't get in at a convenient time.
They both enjoy the lessons. Younger one had a phase of not liking it and being very clingy, but is happy again now.

TheMummyLovesAScareFest Thu 01-Nov-12 14:18:43

As a couple we have very mixed views on learning to swim but both agree it's an important life-skill and should be learnt as young as possible.

DH grew up in a mediteranean country and learnt to swim by 5 playing in the local river. nobody taught him and he's a very strong swimmer. He's opposed to lessons.

I learnt by 8yrs by swimming and being taught by my parents every sunday. i can swim in a fashion and enjoy it.

As a primary teacher i've seen lots of nervous non-swimmers taught by experts within just a couple of sessions. however i feel this is left a bit late (y5 here) and children have to develop confidence again first.

my dcs both had formal lessons which were a waste of time and money. they both learnt by 5, on holiday in the sea.

i think children need regular swimming/splashing/playing from being a baby and if its fun then they learn naturally. There is a place for school lessons to ensure all children do learn to swim.

lubeybooby Thu 01-Nov-12 14:37:30

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes it's important as a life skill, probably from babyhood is best, just getting used to the water and learning about it.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

ideally parents, but schools are useful when they start to do swimming lessons for either teaching swimming or increasing skills or both

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

I taught my daughter to swim and I did feel confident about it but I was also grateful for the school lessons which increased her skills and gave her something more to aim at acheiving

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

Really fun. My daughter always loved it and yes it was enjoyable from the fun aspect of being in the water to just having some time by ourselves

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

I never felt any pressure

zipzap Thu 01-Nov-12 15:19:20

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?
Absolutely - very important to encourage children to learn to swim and to understand the bigger picture around water safety in general (eg rivers/streams/ponds can be deeper than they look, have weeds and mud that can trap you in them, currents can take you along and/or pull you down, etc)

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?
Parents - to try to get their kids to lessons or to teach them themselves
Schools - to pick up and catch any kids that haven't had lessons (say their parents can't afford them)
Govt - by making sure there are public swimming pools available easily to the entire population

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?
Have a child who is doing swimming lessons - in a private pool unfortunately as there aren't many others easily accessible, so difficult to take swimming to for extra practice. Have done a bit - helps a bit but I think that ds definitely listens to the teacher more because she is in that position of authority.
I find the lessons a bit frustrating as one class is sent out as the next one goes in so there is rarely a chance to talk to the swim teacher to find out how it is going. And although they do badges/certificates as they go, (every term, for a £3 fee!) when you come to read it, whilst it may say that they can do things, you then spot in the small print that they are allowed to wear floats or armbands and so actually they aren't really doing very much more and they still can't actually swim a length on their own. Makes the badges seem more of a money grabbing thing rather than being an accurate representation of their skills.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?
DS is taking a long time to learn to swim - having watched other children progress faster and he is finding it frustrating. Particularly as he has picked up all other sporty things he's tried really easily and so is not used to struggling.
DS does enjoy his lessons having said that. But as they are all beginning to learn to swim it means that there is lots of doing a little bit with the teacher and then sitting on the side to wait for your turn again so actually you don't really get lots of actual swimming practice in the lesson (maybe it is better once the child can swim and the teacher can send them all off to swim a width and watch and comment on all of them, rather than having to do it individually.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?
I would like to but it isn't practical at the moment unfortunately (not helped by our local swimming pool being burnt down - and conveniently being left to rot by the council so they could sell it off to a supermarket for juicy profits!)

Taffeta Thu 01-Nov-12 15:20:56

Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes, about age 3.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

Parents

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

No, swim school teach them. I teach a little on holiday.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

My DD (6) has loved it, but my DS(9) had a dreadful autocratic teacher, and combined with awful teaching at local leisure centre organised by school, it has put him off continuing totally.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

It would be nice to take them somewhere where they could swim in a leisurely environment, as opposed to swimming classes. Its finding the time, it takes such a huge chunk out of the day.

HappySunflower Thu 01-Nov-12 15:31:45

Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes I do.
From around the age of 2 but experience of water from 6 months old is great

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?
Parents

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?
I've been helping with stuff like floating, and feeling comfortable in the water
I do feel it is helping their confidence in water to grow

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?
Yes she seems to
Np tension yet, it's been fun!

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?
Not really, no

CMOTDibbler Thu 01-Nov-12 15:38:25

I think its important to learn to swim, but I think that people get really uptight about it. As long as by 7 or 8 they can swim across a pool, however unstylishly, I think thats fine.

DS and I go swimming regularly, and we just enjoy having fun. He does have formal lessons at school, but made loads of progress in holiday club when he was just having fun with his friends in the pool everyday

Hopezibah Thu 01-Nov-12 16:03:21

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes - very important to know how to swim for safety around water and for health / fitness.

Important to get them used to going swimming from very young i.e. when only a few weeks or months old but I wouldn't worry about them actually being able to swim until maybe age 4 or 5.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

combination of all. But parents should initiate it and can use swimming teachers as needed.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

Yes- we have been teaching our 2 children ourselves. One of them had previously had some lessons so we build on from that. but generally teach them as much as possible ourselves.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

They love going swimming and as long as they get time to play too then the learning swimming bit is ok for them. I tell them that it will help them have more fun once they can swim and be confident in the water. They sometimes get a bit frustrated as it can be hard learning any new skill.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

Yes - I put pressure on myself to do so as I feel it would benefit them to go regularly but cost of pool entry fee and pool environment ) too hot / too cold / sometimes dirty etc) and being busy generally puts us off.

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes it is important, for obvious reasons (exercise, social and safety)

It is a good idea to take children from baby/ toddlerhood to get them ued to water, but I can't see any earthly point in paying for expensive baby swimming classes or preschool water confidence classes. A parent can just take preschoolers swimming for fun to ensure they never have water confidence issues. For us paying for a professionally taught intensive course at age 4 or 5 (depending on maturity of the child, some people even wait til 6) has been a good investment as this way they learn very quickly and can swim properly at the end of a 4 lessons a week, week course.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

Parents absolutely, though no bad thing if schools do it (and government gives them the funding to) as so many parents don't take responsibility for all sorts of things they "should" in an ideal world.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

My older 2 did intensive courses but I took them in between and afterwards to keep the momentum etc. Yes I feel confident to do this. If I only had 1 child I feel I could teach him or her to swim myself, but it's near impossible with 3 close in age and a husband who won't come to the pool with us despite being an excellent swimmer!

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

Yes mostly but as they did intensive courses 4 times a week for 4 weeks there were a couple of tantrums actually at the pool with one child and reluctance to go to the lesson beforehand (but fine once there) with the other. The courses have never interfered with their enthusiasm for or enjoyment of going swimming for fun.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

Yes - pressure mostly internal from me and some from the older kids nagging to go (5 and 7). I am good at taking the kids several times a week in summer (we live abroad and have open air pools) but rubbish at taking them to indoor pool in winter, though I should do more. School here exert their own pressure by instructing parents to ensure their children can confidently swim 50 meters by the end of year 2 for an inter school competition, but school offers no swimming lessons at all - everyone manages it...

moonbells Thu 01-Nov-12 16:14:33

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes, as early as possible. Get them used to water as a baby.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

I think properly trained teachers should be doing the training, it's parents' responsibility to find lessons but at the same time, local authorities could do a lot more to make it easy. I could not find weekend lessons for between 2 and 4 years old at my local council pool, they were all during the week which is useless for working mums. When I enquired, they basically said tough. So I had to wait for DS to get to 4 and start elsewhere.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

No I'm not helping, because though I can swim, I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to go about teaching.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

Mostly likes it, though he did think he'd only need a couple of lessons - didn't realise how hard it is! (He was 4 at the time). I wish he could have longer lessons - half an hour for a group only means about 10 mins of direct teaching.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

I wish I could go swimming but as a f/t working mum, I don't have the time. weekends are bad enough as it is for house stuff and park/zoo etc. I take DS after school during the week. So self-pressure, really.

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that? Definitely, My eldest did Waterbabies from tiny and hated swimming so we stopped lessons. She only really started enjoying swimming at about 2 and now at 4 loves the water and we are working on removing the floats from her swim jacket.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those? I think it is a parent's responsibility to ensure their children are exposed to swimming either with them or with a professional. As for teaching swimming it totally depends on the parent's ability and experience in the water.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working? I have been teaching both my girls and am getting a lot further than the swimming teacher did - 8 to 1 in a 30minute lesson does not allow for much 1 to 1 focus even from a qualified professional.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience? They both love the water now, we just had to figure out what worked for each child, one uses goggles, the other couldn't care, one willingly heads under water and the other needs coaxing - the minute it becomes a point of tension then you need to stop or find an alternative.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from? No, we swim twice a week which is just enough and we are fortunate to have access to a private pool, if we relied on Sport Centre pools we could only swim at 9.45 on a weekday (school and work mean we can't), 5pm on a Saturday or 8.45 on a Sunday. Not really hours conducive to encouraging swimming.

EauRouge Thu 01-Nov-12 16:56:54

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes, I think it's important and also a lot of fun. I think they can go from birth.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

I think it depends on the family. Personally I would like to teach my own children.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

Yes, I'm teaching my children to swim. I'm pretty confident having been taught by my parents.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

Yes, we're all enjoying it. We're going at our own pace and having loads of fun. I know when my children are enjoying it or when they're scared so I can tell when I can encourage them more or when I need to back off.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

No, I don't feel any pressure. I would like to take them swimming more but the local pools are always full of school classes or private lessons. I can't afford private lessons and I wouldn't be allowed in to watch anyway which DD1 wouldn't like. So we are restricted in the amount of swimming we can do, which is sad because we really enjoy it when we do go.

beanandspud Thu 01-Nov-12 17:10:38

I think it's really important that children not only learn to swim but understand water safety. I would suggest lessons from around school-age when they can (hopefully) follow instructions and listen. Before then it's good to introduce them to the water for fun and confidence. I had a terrible experience with 'baby swimming' lessons but DS now loves the water so I don't think there is a huge link between water babies and confident swimming later on.

I think parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children learning to swim even if they use a qualified swimming instructor to do the teaching. Government has the responsibility to ensure that swimming is accessible to all. I'm not convinced it should be on the school curriculum (unless the school has a pool on-site or very close by it just seems like a huge chunk out of the day) although I'm not sure how else you pick up the children when, for whatever reason, they haven't learnt elsewhere.

I haven't taught DS. Although I am a competent recreational swimmer my stroke technique isn't that great and things like the breaststroke kick appear to have changed since I learnt. A bit like reading and writing - I see the teacher as the expert that does that actual teaching and my role is to provide opportunities and support to practice!

At the moment DS loves swimming and never has to be persuaded to go. He hated water babies though and I suspect some of my anxiety rubbed off on him. If he wants to give up once he can swim a couple of lengths in something that resembles a recognised stroke and be safe in the water then that will be his choice to stop. Having seen the commitment at weekends and early morning training sessions I do rather hope he never becomes a competitive swimmer!

I feel I should take him more often but he has a lesson on a Saturday and Sundays tend to be busy with family stuff. We swim a lot on holiday. The pressure to go more often comes from me!

MyLifeIsStillChaotic Thu 01-Nov-12 17:16:04

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Absolutely, yes. I think being water-safe is important from a very early age as well as actually swimming. I.e. teaching children what to do it they fell into water ( swim to the side and hold on if a pool ) My son has just started swimming lessons and he is 3.10yo

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

If a parent has the skills to teach then yes, but usually the parent does not. I can swim, but not very well and I don't know they best/easiest/most encouraging way to teach my children so I have/will use swimming teachers. I don't see how the government could fund swimming lessons to all children other than through schools, and by that age I think children should already know how to swim.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

i feel happy getting him to practise what he has been learning, yes. He has only had two lessons so I cannot answer further at this point.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

He was very nervous at the beginning of his first lesson, but I could see a huge improvement in confident by the end of his second lesson. It was very heart-warming actually and I was very proud to see it.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

I do, yes. but mainly because (a) swimming is a life skill I think my children should have and (b) it is easier to learn when you are young. The pressure is entirely from myself though, I do not feel judged by others at all.

Jcee Thu 01-Nov-12 17:29:01

Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

I think it's an important life skill, probably from when they are small to get them used to the water and build confidence

who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

ideally parents, but schools should offer swimming lessons

if you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

my daughter is almost 3 and we take her swimming and are teaching her basics but I think I would prefer her to have proper swimming lessons to increase her skills

Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

Not there yet but we are trying to make swimming fun and my daughter loves it

Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

I don't feel any pressure except from my daughter who likes her weekly swim and is disappointed if we don't go

FranSanDisco Thu 01-Nov-12 17:45:35

I consider swimming to be a vital life skill. I think by 5 yo most children are ready for proper lessons though for water confidence the earlier children are introduced to the fun of water the better.

I think parents are mainly responsible but for those parents who can't swim or, in the case of many parents in my borough, who can't find lessons due to long wait lists local government support/intervention is needed. My dcs school offers 12 lessons in year 6 - not enought to get a child swimming imho.

Both my dcs were taught by qualified instructors. Any swimming they do/did with me was more splash than swim.

Both my children enjoyed learning to swim and eagerly attended lessons.

My dd swims competively now but my son has recently decided to leave his swimming squad. However, he still swims for the school and his fitness through swimming has been useful in the other sports he enjoys such as middle distance running and karate.

hattifattner Thu 01-Nov-12 18:16:19

Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes, its an essential life skill. Mine were all in the pool as soon as they had had their jabs. They are all water babies as a result! Ive lived in a hot country where everyone has a pool. Every day in summer, 2-3 children drown. Thats why I was determined that all mine would swim!

Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

I think it is the parents job to make their children water confident - which ultimately is the first step in learning to swim. Thereafter, its still the parents responsibility to teach the child or get the child to a qualified swim teacher.

If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working? Yes, I help my children learn, and I help at our school pool to teach non swimmers how to swim - i dont have any qualifications other than having spend hours and hours by the pool in the past!

Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience? My oldest likes swimming, but never got much opportunity when little as she was in nursery all day. My youngest two LOVE swimming, but then they have been taken swimming regularly since babies. Learning to swim was frustrating for my youngest as he was in the same class for 2 years, making no progress. Actually he was making good progress but the leisure centre wanted to maximise revenue and so would not move him. SO I moved him to a swimming club, where he moved from level 1 to level 4 in 3 weeks!

Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

My youngest two are in a swimming club, one is approaching regional standard, so yes, there is a lot of pressure to take him! But its his great passion, almost an obsession, so I don't mind the umpteen hours sat by the pool and the constant smell of chlorine!

My oldest has just started as a club water helper as part of DofE and is loving it, so much so that she is considering doing her qualifications as a swim teacher. Now I have that additional pressure to take her to the pool!

MaureenMLove Thu 01-Nov-12 18:22:46

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that? Yes is it. As soon as they are big enough to be in the water.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those? I believe that family should take responsibility and that they should have at least a knowledge of how to swim by the time they take lessons at school

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working? DH taugh DD to swim. I don't 'do' swimming, can't stand it. I am a very good swimmer though, just chose not to

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience? DD struggled to learn and wasn't very interested when she was younger. Now at 17 she is very good and has taken her swimming to new levels in scuba diving!

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from? No pressure. DD was the oldest of my group of friends, but a couple of years, so we were always going to be the first!

SamsGoldilocks Thu 01-Nov-12 18:25:21

Swimming is an essential skill for life - once you know how you'll never forget. I think living on an island it's imperative that you know.

I thought it would be easy to teach my daughter to swim, especially since I've taken her to the local pool since she was 4 months old. But actually she finds it impossible to listen to my advice. I did have a qualification in teaching young people with disabilities to swim and this has given me some techniques to help build up confidence in my children. I've always encouraged them to get soaking wet and not to shy away from being splashed in the face which I think helps with their water confidence.

My dd has swimming lessons and has done for about a year. I thought her swimming would naturally progress with us as parents helping her, but it wasn't. However with lessons she's really moved on leaps and bounds and has faced challenges boldly.

Watching the Olympics really fired her enthusiasm for swimming, and sorry Rebecca, but it was Ellie Symmons who really captured her imagination. She now wants to be a triathelete though.

gelo Thu 01-Nov-12 18:26:39

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes, it's not only fantastic exercise that often appeals to those who don't especially like team games, but it's also really important if they ever want to do any activities on or near water. I think around age 5 or even earlier is a good age. If you leave it too much later it can be more difficult.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

parents ideally, but given that many either can't or won't then swimming teachers with schools as a last resort.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

I took my dc swimming from an early age and taught them the basics which as a good swimmer myself I was confident to do, they then had lessons and joined a swimming club and I have since trained as a swimming teacher.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

Both dc enjoyed it a lot and have continued with swimming or related activities into their late teens.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

Yes, swimming coaches often think my dc should train more often, but it's more a fun thing for them rather than a serious competitive endeavour so they & I think they have the balance about right.

VerySmallSqueak Thu 01-Nov-12 18:33:04

** I think it's essential that children are encouraged to swim.Initially,by water confidence and water familiarization (immediately) and teaching,whether formally informally once they can understand instruction.

**I would love to see some 'training' to enable parents to teach their children confidently. I think it's primarily the role of parents to teach their children water confidence, but I also firmly believe that a group dynamic is also important at times,and I think trained instruction is ideal when it comes to learning the strokes correctly and efficiently.I think there should be more school based swimming - with an emphasis on more pool time and smaller class sizes,and I definitely agree with it being in the school curriculum.

**I am extremely confident in teaching my children to swim.My teaching is working.I would,however,also welcome more school swimming and would like them to go to swimming lessons but it would need to become more financially accessible.

**My children love swimming but there is sometimes resistance to me actually teaching them skills.I try to make it as enjoyable as possible whilst still insisting that the basics are covered.

**I would like to take them swimming more often - I feel pressured by wanting them to be as competent in the water as their friends who go to formal lessons at the Leisure Centre.So,the pressure is mainly from me towards myself.

Leafmould Thu 01-Nov-12 18:46:19

~ Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? If so, what do you think is the right age to start encouraging them? If you don't think it's important, why is that?

Yes. It is a great form of exercise and relaxation. The age to start depends on the child. Mine were ready at 5 or 6.

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Should it be swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members, or the government, or a combination of all of those?

The government are responsible for providing decent swimming facilities. We have a newly built pool walking distance from our home, for which I am extremely grateful. The old one was too far for us to walk, and freezing and impossible to keep clean.

The council need to provide low -cost swimming lessons that our children can access. Parents need to take advantage of them, and schools need to ensure that all children are getting a chance to get to a basic level.

So it's everyones's responsibility.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? If so, do you feel confident doing this or a bit out of your depth? (no pun intended!) Do you feel your teaching is working?

I am a terrible swimmer. My children are being taught all the strokes properly by people who know them. It's my job to get them to practice what they have learned in the lesson, and, yes I do feel confident about this, now that they are on level 4, and I can see what they are doing is correct. I did not feel confident about this at level 1 though.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? Does it/has it caused any tension between you and them if they've been frustrated by it? Or has it been an enjoyable experience?

They love it now. They like being in the same class, so we have had problems when one was moved up before the other. Also they like it when I can go swimming at the same time, so that they can have a play in the big pool after their lesson. Unfortunately, they have changed our day to a day when the big pool is closed due to a swimming club booking it out, so I can no longer do this.

To start with, one of them HATED putting her face in the water, but after taking her swimming every day on holiday, she learned to love it and hasn't looked back since.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?

My kids always want me to take them swimming more. They have lessons once a week, and I usually take them on a Sunday too, but when I miss a week, they get cross.
They like having a more relaxed time with me. They would like 15 minute play in water after their lesson, but because of the swimming club, they don't get it.

Leafmould Thu 01-Nov-12 19:06:13

Just one more thing.

We did a swim course when they were babies, while I was on maternity leave. Then there was no structured swim programme for us to access until they had started school. A bit of a big gap there. And you could only put their name on the waiting list once they had

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