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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

Selky Thu 08-Nov-12 08:42:29

~ 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?

Vitally important, it is a life skill. Several of my family work offshore in the oil industry. If you can't swim, you can't go!

~ 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 should be done via school in an ideal world, but ultimately I think it is the parents' responsibility to ensure that it is done.

~ 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?

He takes classes. I only repeat what he does in the class.

~ 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?

Dad more inclined to shout if he feels DC not concentratin

~ 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. The pressure comes from the kids. They're mad keen.

BerryLellow Thu 08-Nov-12 09:14:02

See I don't use armbands with my children as I didn't want them to become dependent on them for a sense of buoyancy. I understand that's not how everyone feels though.

Tobagostreet Thu 08-Nov-12 12:58:06

~ 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 an important life skill, and for most kids who live in a city, it’s a social skill. My local council gives free access to all swimming pools to under 16’s, so all of their friends go swimming – they need to be confident enough to join in. My 2 DS’s started lessons at age 4 and age 3, and for me the earlier the better. Neither of them have any fear of pools, because they have had formal lessons since a young age.

~ 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?
Well the responsibility to source teaching belongs to the parents of course. I’d expect most parents would require the assistance of a professional swimming teacher though. I think it’s the local governments responsibility to make provision for swimming lessons to be available and accessible to all.

~ 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 2 – both can swim better than me now (not difficult) and I would never have been confident enough to teach them on my own.

~ 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 when they have learned and mastered a new stroke or move or have moved up a level in their lessons. They both have occasions where they are REALLY reluctant to go to lessons (cue lots of huffing and general stroppiness), but enjoy it when they get there. I love having a quiet 30 mins to read my e-mail and drink tea when they are in the lesson.

~ 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 pressurise me to take them to the local pool – as they are so confident in the water, they enjoy the flume and lazy river more nowadays. They also like the opportunity to go swimming but not having the pressure of having to do lengths or different strokes – just splashing about instead.

StainlessSteelCat Thu 08-Nov-12 13:13:22

~ 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?
Extremely important. I intend that my children learn to swim up to the point where if they fall in water fully dressed they stand a chance of getting out again. Another extremely important reason is that older kids can go swimming with their friends, and enjoy the sea side more. I started with my eldest when he was a few months old, I don't think it's ever too early to get them used to swimming, although actual swimming lessons should start when they are older. The children need to be able to follow the lessons to benefit form them, so when they are ready for them. The local authority offers lessons for ages 4 years and older. I think this is about right.

~ 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/guardians of children. But with the option of delegating to swimming teachers smile

~ 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 tried. And failed. Will leave the actual teaching to the professionals! I do watch the lessons though, and pick up tips that will help with the younger ones when I take them swimming. or the older one when I can help him practice.

~ 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'd rather watch TV than go to swimming lessons. But he'd rather watch TV than do anything, and it's easier to get him to go swimming than to go to bed, so I think he must (deep down where he thinks it's hidden from me) enjoy them. It was very frustrating to start with because he wouldn't get his face wet, and it took months (and months and months....) and a very patient teacher to get him to overcome that fear. After that things improved. He also wants goggles, which I refuse to buy him.

~ 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 partly from the fact that I think it's a "good thing" to take them swimming - exercise, life skill, fun, quality time, blah blah - and partly because it's fun. But most pressure comes from the children themselves smile Unfortunately, their ages (7, 3 and 1) means that I can't meet the criteria for adult:child ratios in local pools. And they are small enough to be intimidated by how busy pools get at weekends/holidays when DP is around to help.

BumpyS Thu 08-Nov-12 13:14:37

~ 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 soon as the baby has all the imunization shots (around 3 months). The sooner they develop confidence in water, the better

~ 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? Swimming teachers

~ 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 involved but I go to classes with the baby to learn what and how to teach

~ 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? Enjoyable in all senses

~ 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

Leafmould Thu 08-Nov-12 22:48:19

Been reflecting. I do think that more guidance would be helpful for parents. The swimming lessons are good, they are learning the strokes well. However they really need to be practising this over distance with parents at other times of the week, as hardly any distance is actually covered during he lesson.

I asked for some information about the lessons when they first started, and was told they were reprinting the information pack and it would be available next week. I was told the same thing every week for about 2 months, after which I gave up asking. I only found out they were able to swim in any council pool free on production of the receipt for the lessons after 1 year of lessons. And I had been paying for them all that time!

Leafmould Thu 08-Nov-12 22:52:23

www.mumsnet.com/microsites/speedo-parent-research

I think this research is a little highbrow for me. Is it in Latin or Romanian?

EllenParsons Fri 09-Nov-12 01:22:52

I definitely think swimming is so important for safety and as its great exercise and enjoyable!

stephgr Fri 09-Nov-12 02:03:52

i think being able to swim is essential so I taught my daughter when she was 4 and she loves swimming now. Even though I hate swimming, I began taking her once a fortnight to our local pool. I found it a pain and still do if i'm honest but I'm pleased that she'll now be safe in water and she's keeping fit.

weegiemum Fri 09-Nov-12 03:18:43

I think swimming is essential.

I took all of my children swimming from just after their 8 week vax, and now they are all very confident in the water and happy to swim 2x a week or more.

I was especially glad I encouraged swimming as at age 4 my dd2 was diagnosed with a serious hip condition (Perthe's syndrome) that meant for 3 years she wasn't allowed to run or weight bear for more than 5 mins at a time. She ended up swimming 4 times a week (only exercise she was allowed) but is now in a serious swimming team and winning races. She's 8 and will happily plough up and down for 50 lengths - more than I can do!

All my kids had lessons but actually I realised that just gaining water confidence and then me/dh encouraging them was just as effective. They're all in a club now and so getting proper stroke development etc. Dd1 is 12 and least keen - but she runs so much swimming comes second. Ds is 10 and likes swimming but is also a cross-country runner in training and prefers it. Dd2 is the one who has gone from club swimming to competitive team and she loves it.

I think it's a shame that so many British kids can't swim. It's great exercise. In our city (Glasgow) all council pools are free to children and teens, so it's also very economical. On Saturday's, we take our dc to the pool for a fun session - they have fun, we sit on the side and read the newspaper! They also swim 2x weekly in their club.

I think all children should swim from the earliest age possible. It's a safety issue but also an amazing health benefit. My in-laws have never taken their boys swimming and I really feel theyve missed out. We can go to a square hole in the ground pool or a fantastic leisure pool and our kids love either. It's also a fab fall back on a rainy day!

trockodile Fri 09-Nov-12 05:02:51

I think it is important that children enjoy the water, and are confident from a young age. Also that they are comfortable-we generally put DS in a shortie wetsuit as otherwise he was blue and shivering!
We did some baby swim courses when he was little -mostly for the sociability and that it was a good chance to meet with friends. When they finished, we just did family swimming till he was 6. Now (7) he has 1-1 lessons with a private swim tutor. She is amazing, keeps him interested and they generally work on all strokes +diving.
When we swim together he just has fun and enjoys swimming. Don't feel the need to teach. We don't generally go to "fun" pools, he just enjoys being in the water
It is always enjoyable and when we go away we always try to get a hotel with a pool.
No pressure, but as he loves it we try to go often.

angell74 Sat 10-Nov-12 23:47:15

I think it is REALLY important to encourage children to learn to swim. It is not only for their safety but it is a really good way to maintain fitness. My children both started lessons after they had their baby immunisations and at 5 and 10 they still have lessons to this day.

Although our local school provides swimming as part of the curriculum I believe it is a parents responsibility to ensure that their children can swim. I recognise it can be costly but many local authorities provide subsidised swimming sessions for under 16's. My children do have lessons in school in the summer term but the lessons are short and there are lots of children being taught by teachers with limited specialised training - it has limited value.

My children attend lessons but we have always tried to help them. This has been constructive while they are younger but my 10 year old has a better stroke than I do so I now leave his teaching to his swimming teacher. I do think my youngest is so into swimming because I take him to the pool regularly. As a result we have hardly ever had problems getting them to lessons - they enjoy them.

I have never felt pressure to teach my children to swim but I almost drowned as a child so I suppose this memory is all the motivation I need.

katiesobol Sun 11-Nov-12 22:41:43

~ I do think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim. I think that it is important that children are made at ease in the water from an early age, but personally I don't think too much pressure should be put on them to learn too soon - if a child is showing eagerness to learn early, then that's fine, but I would think about 4-6 for most children is adequate, provided they understand the importance of safety in water before that age.

~ I suppose the main responsibility for teaching children to swim falls to the parents to a degree, although I think that the government ought to make this something open to everyone - that there should be no financial barrier to someone learning.

~ We take both of our girls (aged 4 and 6) to the swimming pool and they both are learning to swim but not with professional lessons - so they use floatation aids (arm bands, rings, floats etc) To be honest I don't feel confident in giving them all of the skills, but I am happy that they are building their initial confidence. They will quite probably need the assistance of someone with more skills at some stage, but I learnt from my parents, so my children could learn from me.

~ It has been an enjoyable experience - my girls love being in the water and love having a go - there is no pressure and so no bad experience! They are keen, we just support that.

~ I would love to take them swimming more often, but we simply can't afford it. My girls are great and love the treat when we can take them - but don't pressure us.

gazzalw Mon 12-Nov-12 07:18:58

Well to add to our shame for not teaching our DCs to swim, DS got a D in games in his first half-termly secondary school report - all on the basis of his lack of swimming ability. for some reason the games grade was only based on the swimming and not also on football (which would have upped his game - excuse the pun). Personally not impressed that he's been marked down - I guess it proves how essential they regard it as a life skill. Think we will have to rectify this before he does swimming again possibly in the summer time ;-( (skulks away with tail firmly twixt legs....)

~ 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. It is a life skill as well as a sport. I think the earlier they start, the better then they don't have a fear of water. I started swimming lessons with first DC at 8 weeks old & 2nd DC was 6 weeks old.

~ 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 that it is mainly the parents responsibility for ensuring their children learn to swim. I appreciate though that some adults may not be able to take their children at a very young age for a number of reasons.

When the children reach school age I believe the government have a duty to provide funding for schools to take all children swimming at some point in their primary education - until they can 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?

My 1st DC is 2.10 and as mentioned earlier has had swimming lessons since he was 8 weeks old. He loves being in the pool and is confident in the water. He is just beginning to swim now. While I am in the pool with him during the lesson he is doing more & more independently. I do feel confident as I am a fairly competent swimmer myself. It is a bit daunting swimming your child under water for the first time at such a young age but they soon get used to it.

~ 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 love swimming. It hasn't caused any tension as they are both still under 3. DC1 lost a little confidence when we changed swimming pools earlier this year but we just took things at his own pace and within a few weeks he was back to his usual self. I always enjoy taking them.

~ 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 am a swimming teacher living in Asia with 2 dds who learned to swim at an early age. Dd1 learned in Scotland and went to swimming lessons once a week, plus sometimes another trip to the pool at the weekend. At nearly 4 she was still not swimming independently. Dd2 was born in Asia and learned to swim from 6 months. She was independent In the water before she was 2. Both of my children swim 5 or 6 times a week (although only twice a week doing lengths). One 40 minute swimming lesson a week is at school and the other at home. Dd1 (aged 7) did life saving lessons at school last year, swimming in 2m of water in her pyjamas. It is normal to have swimming parties here from about age 5 where all children are in the water, no buoyancy aids and probably one or two adults in the water with them, as it is the norm to swim by the time you hit primary school.

I didn't teach either of my children to swim but qualified at the beginning of this year as a swimming teacher for children aged 6 months and up. My qualification is Australian (austswim) and concentrates in making water fun, building confidence etc. I teach about 20 children a week in private and semi private lessons, aged from 6 months to nearly 4.

I feel that schools should teach swimming but that the onus should be on the parent. However I think that more information should be available to parents so that they teach the right way and focus on building confidence at a young age, learning life saving (self not others) etc. the simple act of always heading back to the side after jumping in, or learning to scramble out of the pool very young, or floating on back, could save a child's life and can be taught young but many parents might not realize this.

I also meet overkeen parents who cajole, bribe, even force children to "swim" and the result is shattered confidence. Some of the children I am teaching are 2 year olds who won't go near the water, as a result of an over zealous parent. Equally, some parents i meet dont swim and are scared in the water - this transfers to the child and makes it very difficult to instill confidence in the child. Parents should be teaching children to swim (along with schools, private lessons etc) but a minority of parents simply don't have the skills or are not equipped.

Swimming is such an important skill, where any bad teaching can result in phobias, that care needs to be taken with who teaches.

serendipity1980 Tue 13-Nov-12 14:54:11

Here are my responses to the questions:

~ 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 really important that children should learn to swim from a young age - I think they should start swimming as babies because then they get used to the water. I was not taught to swim, until I met my husband who taught me when I was 23. I'm still not confident but I can swim. Our children (age 4 1/2, and just turned 3) have been swimming since they were babies and now have proper swimming lessons. They are progressing so well, and our eldest is so confident in the water - I wish I was as confident as him!

~ 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 that it the responsibility of the parents to take the children swimming as babies, and provide support and encouragement when they are older, but I do think that swimming teachers are very beneficial, certainly this is the case for us. Parents should always be there to support and encourage.

~ 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? We helped both our children by taking them swimming regularly to parent and baby classes and getting them used to the water. Then from the age of 3 we took them to weekly swimming lessons. It is working, they are becoming more and more confident in the water and our eldest is making good progress with swimming.

~ 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? r has it been an enjoyable experience? They both enjoy swimming although our eldest enjoys it more but that is simply a confidence issue. It caused some frustration with my husband when our eldest didn't pay attention to the teacher and got easily distracted - he felt that he should be making more progress. However, he is still young, and he has done very well for his age. Our youngest doesn't always like doing all that they are told to do, but it's just a case of building her confidence at the moment.

~ 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, we take them regularly because we want to.

I think being able to swim is so important, it can be life saving, and it is so much easier to learn as a child.

sleepychunky Wed 14-Nov-12 19:41:37

I think it's absolutely vital that children learn to swim and at the very least to be happy in water from an early age. DS1 started swimming lessons when he started school last year and he absolutely loves going, and has got his first two badges and moved up a couple of grades already.
DS2 is not quite 3 - he loves being in the water and jumping in, so isn't scared of water and we will start swimming lessons for him when he starts school as well.
It should definitely not be a government responsibility to teach children to swim any more than any other kind of physical activity. Parents, even if they are not strong swimmers themselves, should recognise the value and importance of a child being able to swim and encourage it as much as possible. If they can afford to have swimming lessons then so much the better.
We try to take the DSs when we can to consolidate what DS1 has learnt and to give DS2 more experience in the water, but when they come with us they just want to jump and splash and go down the slides so the focus isn't on the actual strokes. DS1 has a fantastic time at his lessons and the only time there is any friction is if he doesn't concentrate (he's still only 5) and it can feel as though it's a lesson wasted. He's getting much better though and knows that if he doesn't concentrate, we won't carry on paying for the lessons.
As with so many other things, and as other posters have said, the earlier you learn something (swimming, foreign languages, musical instruments) the easier it is and it would be great to see it promoted more.

octonaughty Wed 14-Nov-12 20:00:47

I think it's really important to teach kids to swim, having loved it myself as a child. It is a responsibility of parents ultimately, as everything is. However, I am furious at the cost of it. Our local, filthy swimming baths is really expensive - I feel so strongly that is should be subsided. Nearly twelve quid to take the family swimming is hardly encouraging. It really puts me off, but I am determined that the kids will go as near to once a week as possible.
My first loved the water and was v confident, so we went loads. However, he didn't get on with formal lessons and so I taught him myself which was v slow and frustrating but do-able whilst he was at pre school, but now he is at school it is harder to fit in. I don't reccomend teaching yourself, esp with ds 2 clinging on, but since ds 1 was v upset all through lessons, I didn't want him put off.
He can now swim fairly well, at six. I don't think he has learned much faster or slower with me, his strokes probably aren't as good, but they will improve with time and he is ok. I suppose I will do the same with ds 2, unless he wants proper lessons.

Gethsemane Thu 15-Nov-12 08:37:44

~ 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 is very important - and right from birth, so that the child gets used to having water on their face. My oldest son (2 yrs old) was born in Australia, and there they give out a free DVD to all new parents as part of the hospital pack about how to prepare your child for swimming right from birth. I didn't get the same for my youngest son (1 yr old) , who was born here in the UK.

~ 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?

Ultimately it must be the parents who take responsibility for teaching their kids to swim, but it can only help to have all of these groups working together.

~ 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?

Neither of my children can swim yet (1 and 2 yrs old), and I feel guilty that they have not spent more time in the pool. It is very difficult for me since I am on my own most of the time, and I can't really manage both the kids in a dangerous pool environment by myself. Just the changing rooms alone are difficult enough!

~ 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 my kids love the water - and I think this is because we have made sure from an early age that they are used to having water on their faces - at bath time etc. A trip to the pool is very exciting for them.

~ 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 feel under pressure - but the pressure is all self generated. It is really important to me that the kids are happy and confident in the water, but it is in practice difficult to achieve this. Just because it is near impossible to take 2 young kids to the pool alone.

littlemonkeychops Mon 26-Nov-12 18:39:03

Learning to swim is definitely important. I think it is definitely parent's responsibility to teach them, swimming at school etc is great but why in earth would it be their role to teach my child to swim?? I wouldn't expect them to teach her how to ride a bike etc.

My dad taught me to swim, there seems to be a lot of pressure these days to enrol in formal swiming lessons, not something i'd ever consider, they're very expensive and are group lessons anyway.

I've taken DD swimming since she was 9 weeks old, she loves it and i love taking her. It's quality family time.

KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 15:13:37

Thanks for all your comments. The winners of the prize draw are:

beanandspud
ladygoldenlion
amck5700

Congratulations I'll PM you to get your details.

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