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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

Meglet Thu 01-Nov-12 10:34:13

~ yes, children need to be encouraged to learn to swim. My sister almost drowned as a child so it was drummed into me that learning to swim was a vital skill. My eldest started lessons at 4yo, although he's almost 6 and can only swim underwater but he's more confident so we'll crack it in time.

~ It probably needs to be a joint effort between parents and swimming teachers / schools. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to teach the dc's on my own as they whinge too much, but between me and their swimming teacher they will learn to swim.

~ I take the DC's a few times a year. I would take them more but can't due to work or the swimming pool being busy with lessons only. I do feel confident about taking them as I'm a strong swimmer.

~ DS enjoys his lessons but he whinges non-stop when I take him, to the amusement of everyone else swimming in the pool. I just make him do lengths with his 'woggle' and bribe him with a new Lego set to keep going. It is certainly not fun! It took him 5 mins to do a length with me, whereas he does it in half the time with his swimming teacher without moaning, or the need for Lego.

~ Pressure from me really as I grew up swimming from a young age. It's hard fitting it in between work, school, free time at the pool and when my legs are waxed (I'm a bit of a yeti). Being a single parent means there's no way I can teach them on my own, hence the lessons and me taking them when I get chance.

cleanandclothed Thu 01-Nov-12 10:38:29

Yes absolutely everyone should swim! Great exercise if you can and potentially dangerous if you can't. Mine both went in the water from a few months, DS at just 4 is just swimming a few strokes on his own. He has lessons and we go swimming for fun.

Ds started swimming lessons aged 3 after a holiday to North Devon where he declared he was going to be a surfer! I told him if he wanted to surf he had to learn to swim first.

I am a very poor swimmer and am not confident in the water at all. I would say it took 2 years before ds showed any progress in actually learning to swim but I don't regret those early lessons one bit as he has amazing water confidence. He is happy to sit on the bottom of the pool and open his eyes under water and loves nothing more than jumping in.

His lesson focus on all the different strokes and getting them right even before they are swimming. It can make for slow progress but he was 7 last weekend and has moved up to the improvers group recently and I'm very happy with his swimming. He did a length on holiday (with dh not me!) and some of his strokes look quite good now. Lessons were a must as far as I am concerned as I didn't want him. To be like me.

iseenodust Thu 01-Nov-12 10:51:17

It was a non-negotiable that DS learn to swim as I think it's an essential life skill. We first went to a toddler swimming group lead by an instructor but mums in the pool too. Since starting school DS had dipped in and out of foraml lessons at the council pool. On the whole he has really enjoyed them. He's taken breaks when he's hit a wall to stop it becoming frustrating and to allow him to get a bit older. He's just asked to give up lessons and as he's passed grade 8 and I feel he's competent now that's OK.

I feel 4 or 5 is the ideal age to start lessons and build confidence in the water. DS won't access lessons through school until yr5 which is too late IMO. It is not a government responsibility and I think family, swimming teachers and school should be able to cover it.

Fum swimming has been with us and grandparents. DS would go swimming more often in the sea, in a pool, in a pool with slides. Our council gives kids free access to recreational swimming if they are having a course of lessons which I feel is a fab system.

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Thu 01-Nov-12 10:57:38

~ 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?

Very important. We've taken our dc from a few weeks old, and they're total waterbabies now.

~ 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?

We've taught them ourselves, but ds is nearly 5 now and we're trying to find him a proper 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 am very confident swimmer and used to swim competitively and be a lifeguard. My teaching has worked well up to this point, but now my older dc needs more than I have time to do in terms of stroke development.

~ 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 of them would rather be in the water than just about anywhere else, They love 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?

Yes, the pressure always comes from the children!

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Thu 01-Nov-12 11:12:14

~ 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 very important but I worked as a Lifeguard on the beach when I left school and saw the pickles that people can get themselves into on, in or near water. I also think it is extremely important to teach people (from a young age) basic life saving skills, by that I do not mean jumping into water to rescue someone I mean the knowledge and ability to rescue someone from water without putting themselves into danger

~ 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/families. I think we bypass too many responsibilities onto schools and nurseries as it is. It is great if schools and nurseries can offer this as an extra but there are so many things that they need to be doing as part of the curriculum and not every school has easy access to a pool.

~ 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 didn't actively teach my children to swim but I took them regularly, we went as a family as a leisure activity. I was fortunate enough to able to afford lessons so I left the actual teaching to the swimming teachers.

~ 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 kids loved swimming, both went through a stage where they were fearful for a while but I think that is entirely normal so we continued to go as a family but changed our approach and sat with the fearful child at the edge of the pool until confidence was regained.

~ 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 think I did unless you count the pressure from the children themselves because they enjoyed swimming.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 01-Nov-12 11:20:15

Yes, I think swimming is a good skill to have, so we encouraged our children to enjoy being in the water from being small babies.

I taught my children the basics of swimming (after going to pointless and very expensive baby 'swimming' lessons for the first child), but they didn't really get to grips with proper swimming strokes and being able to cover a reasonable distance until they started swimming lessons in infant school. They're not very good at listening to me, but they will listen to a teacher, so as soon as they started having proper instructions from someone they trusted to do the job properly (and not snap at them when they didn't focus blush ) they took off fairly quickly.

I suppose there is some pressure to make sure your child can swim, when people go on about it being a life saving skill and that you're essentially setting your child up to drown if they can't swim 50m by the time they're 7. Hand to hand combat skills could potentially one day save your life, but I'm not in a hurry to teach my kids how to fight.

We bill swimming as a fun way to exercise, and try not to apply any pressure. The swimming badges they get through the school lessons are the motivation to improve.

amck5700 Thu 01-Nov-12 11:32:19

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? Swimming is one of the main lifeskills just like learning to cross the road and riding a bike. Encourage them as early as possible and try to get them to love the water from an early age so that when they start proper lessons (pre school) then they enjoy 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? It will always have to be a combination. Quite frankly, it should be parents but there are always those that cant be bothered so its important that these kids don't fall through the cracks and get the support to learn from whatever other source.

~ 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 kids have been at lessons since they were about 3 (now 12 and 11) we were happy enough teaching them along side the lessons when they were little but I am not a confdent swimmer and my husband taught himself in the river at the end of his garden so feels he doesn't have the perfect technique himself to pass on - and of course they stop listening to you once they go to school and worship a higher power!

~ 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 they love it, occaisionally have wobbles when they can't be bothered - that's mainly because as they have moved up the levels, their lesson now starts at 8.20 in the evening and even I feel like I can't be bothered heading out to swimming at that time on a dark winter night! Never any real tension - they can already swim well, when they were younger we just insisted that they needed to complete all the swim levels before they can give up. They will never be champions but do pre club and life saving now and are good in all strokes. I would let them give up now but they haven't asked to and it's exercise!

~ 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 to take them. It's a great activity for a rainy day but usually they go now with their friends which suits me as I don't particularly enjoy it smile

Firawla Thu 01-Nov-12 11:45:48

~ 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 so, for safety reasons. not sure of the right age, my oldest is 4 so probably should have started already but haven't started any of them in lessons yet

~ 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 but ultimately 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?

none of mine can swim yet, ive not taught them i dont think i would know how so best leave to professionals

~ 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?

theyve enjoyed when theyve been for fun swimming sessions, not done lessons yet. i think they will enjoy 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 feel bad for not taking them much. i cover so cant take them to mixed swimming pools, so they only go when someone else can take them, or else if theres outside pools and that kind of thing.

Ragwort Thu 01-Nov-12 12:04:40

Yes, essential for all children (and adults !) to be able to swim. I took my DS swimming from age 6 months.

Parents' responsibility to ensure their childre to swim.

My DS went to swimming lessons from age 2, DH and I were comfortable helping him learn as well. He is a very confident swimmer and chose to give up formal lessons at age 10.

He always loved swimming, no problem to get him to the pool.

No pressure to take him more often than we do already, we love swimming as a family and it is one of the activities we all enjoy doing together.

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 a vital life skill. Dd started lessons at about 3.5, mainly because she started turning up for her bath in full swimsuit/goggles/armbands 'Me swimming Mummy'.

~ 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?
Probably a combination. We were lucky to be able to afford formal lessons and I'm not a strong swimmer so didn't want to teach bad habits to dd. If children don't get the opportunity from their parents then I think schools/government have a duty to ensure all children are at least safe near 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?
We left it entirely to the swimming teachers but went to the pool at weekends etc to build water confidence.

~ 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?
Mainly enjoyable, a few wobbles each time she moves up a class.

~ 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 think the teachers expect the children to swim regularly, not just have lessons.

WhoYaGonnaCallFillybuster Thu 01-Nov-12 12:08:17

~ 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! I think children should start to get used to being in the water fairly young, but (in my experience) they don't really get the hang of learning to swim until around 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?

It would be lovely if parents had the time to teach their children to swim, but frequently life just doesn't allow for that. If I had waited to teach my children myself, they wouldn't be swimming still! My eldest child has been attending classes at the local pool for a few years, and is a very competent swimmer (and loves it!). DC2 went to lesson for a while when she was 3, but didn't enjoy it much, and will start again in a year or so.

~ 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 haven't had the opportunity.

~ 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 didn't enjoy learning to swim when he first started (aged 4). We left it for a year, then he tried again, and has loved it ever since. DD1 also didn't much enjoy the classes she went to at 3, so will start again when she is 5 or 6.

~ 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 pressure, but it would be a lovely thing to do if we could!

mrspumpkinpatch Thu 01-Nov-12 12:14:45

~ 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?

I think swimming is an important skill to have. Not only can it save your life, it's good fun too! DD has been swimming since about 3 months old and can now swim with armbands aged 2!

~ 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?
It's the parents responsibility ultimately. If the schools can accomodate swimming lessons then that's great but probably not possible everywhere.

~ 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've just been having a lot of fun in the water. Not focusing on 'swimming' per se but all skills that make you confident in the water. (Splashing, paddling, jumping, ducking underwater, floating.) DD has now mastered a doggy paddle and is enjoying it so we give her pointers to help her out but it's mostly just messing around.

~ 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 loves swimming now but was a bit water-shy at first.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?
The only pressure comes from me. I'd love to take her more often but find changing rooms etc quite toddler unfriendly. It can be very stressful.

SpitSpot Thu 01-Nov-12 12:22:54

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 it is very important that children learn to swim, its potentially life saving and a life skill. Important for them to be water confident from an early age (baby/toddler) but I dont think its necessarily important to formally learn to swim until school 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?

Parents should have the main responsibility, if they can have swimming lessons with schools as well then great

~ 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 take ours swimming to practice and have fun but they have had proper lessons to learn the strokes - there is definitely a method of learning to swim best taught by a proper 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?

Yes they enjoyed 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?

Yes from the children but we dont go very regularly because it is expensive

Wigeon Thu 01-Nov-12 12:25:52

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?

Definitely important - fun, good exercise, a great life skill, important not to be frightened of water. I think that it's a good idea to take a baby to the pool so that they get used to the idea, and then to either start teach them to swim themselves at around 3 / 4 /5 (depending on the child)

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 parents should take the main responsibility, even if they then delegate the actual teaching to skilled and trained 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?

My DD1 (4 yrs) is learning to swim through paid-for lessons. She started when she was about 3.8. We have been taking her to the pool since she was a baby to get her confident in the water, and we reached a point where we weren't sure what else we could teach her, so we decided to pay a swimming teacher. She has definitely learnt loads with the teacher that we couldn't have taught her. We still try to take her ourselves sometimes so she can have fun in the pool outside the formal lessons.

DD2 is 17 months and we take her to the pool (no lessons), again so she can get confident being in the water and enjoying 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?

DD1 absolutely loves her lessons. It's the only paid-for activity she does each week. She also loves going to the pool with us and just splashing about and showing us what she's learnt in the lessons. I feel that our approach to helping her to swim (ie starting with us, then doing lessons) has really worked as she really loves being in the water.

DD2 doesn't have lessons but she loves being in the water.

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

DD1 would probably love to go more than once a week, but she is just too tired after school (just started Reception), so her lesson is on a Saturday and I don't want to go again on a Sunday! We tend to go as a family on bank holidays and other school holidays. Maybe when she is more used to school we will do the lessons after school and go as a family at the weekend.

afussyphase Thu 01-Nov-12 12:26:53

~ 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 really important. I think they should be encouraged from 1.5 or 2 depending how much they like 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?

I think it has to be a combination. It can't be all up to parents - it's so hard to take children swimming especially when you have more than 1. But if parents never do it, I don't see it happening either.

~ 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'm trying to but I'm not sure how. I'm a really confident swimmer but I don't know how to teach it, and DD just thinks she can swim already (she can't). I'm not confident taking my 4yo and 1yo together - how would I hold on to both of them? Not to mention changing them etc. So it has to be all 4 of us, or just 2 of us, which makes it a little harder.

~ 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 4yo LOVES the water, always has, and I hope she always will. The problem is that we are constantly fighting off colds and flus, and I find every time I take her to the pool, she's really ill within 2 days. I know being wet doesn't create a cold, but I suspect that being wet and cold makes you more susceptible to viruses you're already struggling with.

~ 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'd love to - I guess it come from me; I want my 4yo to know how to swim so I can take her boating, so she can love swimming, so one day we can snorkel together, so she's safer when we're on holiday at the beach.. but having a 1yo too, and the business with the colds, makes it so hard. Pressure comes from her too, a bit, but she's pretty much resigned to hardly every going. Sad, really.

MrsJohnDeere Thu 01-Nov-12 12:33:40

~ 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 an important life skill. I don't think you can start too young in terms of encouragement. In terms of actually learning swimming skills most children don't seem to 'get it' until after 3.5 years (from what feels like years if watching lessons from the sidelines). Water confidence (but not over confidence) is more important than breat stroke technique for 3/4/5 year olds

~ 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?
both my children have lessons. May dh helps them a bit and takes them swimming. I don't as I can barely swim

~ 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. The inky time they don't is when there is a new child in the class who screams the whole time and takes all the teacher's attention. This happens every few 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?
yes, from other parents

*The main thing I'd like to say is that where we live swimming lessons for 4-7 year olds are ridiculously over-subscribed. My 6yo recently started lessons after having been on the waiting list since he was 2.5 years. My 4yo started before him because he was born in a lower birth rate year. It would be great if swimming pools provided more lessons to meet this demand.

Also our local pool is so dirty and smelly - the changing rooms and loos more than the pool itself - that it really discourages us from going for leisure. We always seem to get ill a few days later!*

~ 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 every child should learn how to swim. They should start as early as possible. It's important because it may save their life. It's also great fun & good exercise.

~ 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 every child should learn to swim at school, starting in primary school. It should be available for every child, especially those whose parents can't swim or can't afford to take them.

~ 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 taken my daughter swimming, but to be honest I find it a struggle. She's never liked the water much, hated swimming lessons and I find it hard to take her on my own to a cold pool when she seems to dislike the whole experience do much.

~ 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?
She hated it. It was fine until we had to go under water, but she's not comfortable in the water at all, even though she hasn't been dunked 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?
I feel that we should go more often, but the pressure is from myself. We go less than once a month.

ladygoldenlion Thu 01-Nov-12 13:17:54

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?

- It is vital to encourage children to learn to swim, it is a life skill that can be taught from a few months 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?

- Families that go swimming together produce really confident swimmers, although lessons have their place too.

~ 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 have taught all of ours and we also gave them lessons by a swimming teacher. Not because we couldn't but because we felt they concentrated more on technique whereas our family swims are more about fun.

~ 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?

- All three of ours enjoyed learning to swim and it has not been stressful in any way.

~ 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.

Pinkx3 Thu 01-Nov-12 13:29:46

I think it is extremely important for children to learn to swim and also gives them an enjoyable form of exercise/leisure that will carry them through their whole life. I think teaching probably needs to be a combination of structured lessons and parental lessons although structured lessons can be expensive so I can see why some people couldn't/wouldn't.

I have one child who has just started swimming lessons and one who has taken them in the past. They both enjoy swimming immensely although they do sometimes feel that their lessons are a chore. I have insisted on lessons until they are confident in the water and able to swim competently. My older daughter has stopped formal lessons but enjoys going swimming regularly and we do try to go swimming as a family on a regular basis but not always as regularly as we would like.

Suedeb Thu 01-Nov-12 13:34:15

My son will be 3 in a week and i have been taking him swimming weekly since he was 9 weeks old. He loves being in the water and is very confident. He can swim some strokes with arm bands on. He's happy to jump in and go down slides. So far we have been to a parent and toddler class only but I intend to enrol him in proper swimming lessons in the new year when he will be old enough.
I feel swimming and any exercise is really important for everyone, too many children grow up without being encouraged to exercise for fun and then we end up with large amounts of overweight and unhealthy adults.

~ 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, great skill to have so you can enjoy other watersports and understand risks of water. AS early as possible but it depends on the individual.

~ 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?

Main point is that swimming for children should be free - so subsidised for anyone that uses a 'normal' pool so not wave types. The cost of learning is quite high and this should also be set as a max level and have govt funding to make up the difference. All children should be given the opportunity to learn to swim using whatever is the best option locally available. Then continue to be able to swim regularly with no cost.

~ 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 support them by going for family swims.

~ 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?

Generally less, but with most of the DSs there has been times when they have not quite enjoyed the experience but have all gone on to be or becoming good swimmers.

~ 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, DW and the DSs - finding time for it and the cost can be off putting.

Pavlovthecat Thu 01-Nov-12 13:45:31

- we live near the sea. it is extremely important that our children swim, understand water safety and how to get out of trouble. it is excellent exercise, great fun an can be enjoyed from baby to adult. we live on an island, with lakes and rivers, it is daft not to swim.

~ parents first and foremost either to take children swimming ideally or sort out lesson, but there needs to be cheap, easily accessible pools and lessons in the public domain and funding for those who cannot due to financial or health reasons sort out lessons themselves, so the government has a role in enabling parents/carers to provide. schools can take a role, to mop up those who otherwise might not learn, and to encourage exercise as part of PE curriculum

~ i have taught my children water confidence, that swimming is fun, that water is to be respected. i now teach my oldest alongside professional instructors, not because i don't know how, but because my dd learns/takes instruction from people other than mummy and daddy! she is learning technique which i perhaps would not have done, but now i know how she is learning i take her once a week and we practice the same things as per her lessons and her progress book. ds aged almost 3 will have lessons in january alongside our own swimming sessions.

~ both children love the water, we have a huge amount of fun in the water, in pools, indoor and out, at the beach/sea. my dd has got a little frustrated with taking formal direction form us re proper learning as she wants to have fun with us, she loves her lessons. ds seems more responsive to learning from us, but he is still young!

~ yes, the pressure is from my children!! they go at least once a week, sometimes more. but i go 3 times a week myself on my own so they have grown up around swimming.

3nationsfamily Thu 01-Nov-12 13:50:54

~ 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?
I think swimming is a vital skill for life, and from a safety point of view as well. They should be introduced to the water and pool environment as young as possible- I took mine as soon as they had their immunity jabs as babies. That way when it comes to them getting lessons when they are older they have no fear of the water nor the noise/ atmosphere in a swimming pool.

~ 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 parents should take their children swimming, and bring them to lessons. However I recognise that lessons can be expensive and it is unfair to those children whose parents cannot afford it, or whose parents cannot swim themselves or have a fear of the water. Therefore I think the schools should have a programe of formal swimming lessons so that no child leaves primary school without being able 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?
In order to make progress in swimming it is vital that the child does some swimming in between the lessons to practice what they have learned. I am a confident swimmer so was able to do this.

~ 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?
Because I had been a competitive swimmer myself, as well as taking them swimming from babies to build water confidence, when it came to lessons I shopped around the local area and found the programme that I felt was best. The groups were small (1 to 4 ratio) and the teacher was in the water with the children aged 4 or 5. They loved lessons from the beginning and by 8 or 9 were confident technically competent swimmers.

~ 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 daughter (13) is now a county level competitive swimmer and trains for 17 hours a week, so that brings its own pressure but she adores it. Her brother probably missed out a bit once his lessons finished as I already spend way too much time at swimming pools, and the last thing I want to do is to take him swimming. So he now swims mainly at school, and we all love to swim on holiday.

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

nextphase Thu 01-Nov-12 20:17:03

I don't think swimming is an essential life skill, but water safety is. So ALL kids should be able to tread water, move in some form, and cope with their faces being dunked without panicking, but full on accurate strokes isn't required.

That said, we've taken both kids since they were fairly small, and at 3 and 1, they seem quite confidant when wearing some sort of floatation device. They are also quite happy to dunk faces under the water in the bath, so something is going right.

I totally understand why the rules are there, but the one adult, one child rule restricts many families with more than one child to weekend swimming only.

I think it is a parents job to get kids water confident, and then they need a trained instructor to get the stroke technique. But classes that fit with working parents would be good - everything round here seems to be at 4pm or 10am in the holidays - and thats just not sustainable long term.

DS1 would love to go swimming more often, but it drys out his skin so much, and makes his eczema flare up, so we try to restrict it. Easier in the summer when we can get the paddling pool (and less chlorinated water!) out.

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. Ideally as early as possible, although repeated ear infections and burst ear drums messed up swimming during the pre-school years for two of my children

~ 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. Much as I'd love to be responsible (and have tried) I have found the ds2 who is scared of the water didn't really respond well to me. We've also had difficulties going swimming as ds1 is severely disabled which makes changing difficult and means I need extra adults.

~ 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 was confident in teaching them, but they were not confident with me! They have done much better with teachers.

~ 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?

All three different and quite difficult.

DS1 severely autistic; loves the water and loves being in pools, loved baby swimming, but now sees no point in actual swimming, for years he sort of stayed upright and it's taken a long time to get him tipping onto his tummy. He swims at least twice a week, often more, and he surfs, so he is confident in water now, but still doesn't really see the point in swimming unless it's to stay afloat.

DS2 - booked him baby then pre-school lessons which he HATED. So I stopped and tried to teach him myself, and with school lessons. Got nowhere. Finally (he's 10 now) I have booked private 1:1 and he is at last learning. His inability to swim was beginning to cause real social problems and I am pleased with how well he's doing.

DS3 - loved baby swimming then had years of burst ear drums. Was more scared when back in the pool. He did respond to me teaching him, but had done better now he's getting weekly small group lessons (plus school lessons, but they're too big really to be much use).

~ 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 love to take them more often. It's very hard with ds1. Swimming pools are not very accessible to teenage kids with severe learning disabilities (esp lack of changing facilities).

cashmere Thu 01-Nov-12 20:26:41

I have taken DS swimming weekly since he was about 5 months old. We've done a mix of swimming by ourselves and 'lessons'. I stopped lessons as I never felt comfortable dunking DS- it instinctively felt wrong (and was often the only one who refused to so felt a bit silly). As he got older we also preferred to do our own thing.
I do think it's worth doing lessons for a while though as it gives you new ideas and gets you into the habit of going weekly.
I think parents should take their children swimming and schools can then build on this.
When our next son is born the cost will increase as I will need to go with DH too (doubling cost), or put the children in the gym crèche (again doubling cost and would have to have fortnightly turns).
I wish the government or local councils would rethink free swimming sessions. Maybe just a couple sessions a week as a compromise.

~ 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?
Of all the baby classes available, swimming in the universal one that parents have done for at least one term. The general consensus seems to be that It's a survival skill and therefore compulsory from after the 12 week jabs (I also know this is a myth). I was particularly seduced by the promise of underwater pictures.... I think the earlier 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?
Parents. Schools and government should support this but parents shou def lead.

~ 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 husband does the lions share. I don't feel as confident and I think it shows.

~ 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?
Lessons have been a nightmare! Neither child has responded well to the order and conforming. The temperature of the water is also really unreliable. TBH I haven't enjoyed a single lesson, and have given up both times after a term. We do go regularly as a family though.

~ 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 feel under pressure to do more of everything for my children! There's social media boasting on a regular basis and that moment on summer holidays when you wish they were happier around the water.
Also, DH saved a kid from drowning on holiday this Summer. Loads of people by the pool but no one noticed. The boy was out of his comfort level and I never want my kids to get into that situation.

HannahLI Thu 01-Nov-12 20:46:59

~ 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 is very important! Swimming is not only great exercise and great fun but knowing how to can save lives in so many situations and I would hate for my children to miss out on water sports at a later age because they can't swim. I think as young as possible is best as then it's learnt as an instinctive thing and it's easier because it becomes like second nature.

~ 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 parents should be the encouragers, I was always encouraged by my parents and they provided great opportunities for me to learn, as well as encouraging me to participate in school activities when they were available to me. I do think that schools and government should be pushing for good opportunities and incentives for parents to get their children involved.

~ 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 children are little so during swimming lessons I am in the pool with them, what I learned taking my first to lessons I felt very confident at putting in place with my second child, it was very noticeable that my husband was very confident in dunking and swimming with our 6 month old where he was very cautious first time around.

~ 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?
It has been great fun and something I continue to keep doing. My son loves swimming.

~ 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

To add to my comments one of my biggest things with taking my kids swimming is the pool. They are both young 2 and 7 months and our local pool struggles to maintain their pool temp so it can be very cold and it does have family friendly changing rooms but sometimes they aren't well maintained which for me is an issue. In part of encouraging young people to swim these issues also I feel need to be addressed too. I know lots of mums locally who I have overheard telling other mums not to swim with young children because it's not suitable for the above reasons which very much saddens me.

Mummydoctor Thu 01-Nov-12 21:19:17

Yes swimming is important - start as early as possible. I took both mine to Waterbabies from the age of 6 months. And they are still going now.

I think overall parents have the main responsibility to teach swimming, but this should be supported by schools and funding from government.

I didn't learn to swim until I was 21 and really felt like I missed out as a child. Hence it was important for me to get my kids happy in the water. Luckily, they have both loved it from the start. DS1 is 3.5yrs and a few weeks ago swam 2 widths of the pool unaided. DS2 is 1.5 yrs and loves it too. I enjoy taking them swimming and it also gives us some structure to my days off work.

Both boys LOVE it. DS1 was extra clingy in the pool for a few months when his brother arrived, but as with all things parenting, it was just a phase. I did find it frustrating though when I knew he could do much more than he would actually do.

I don't feel any extra pressure to go swimming more often given that the boys swim twice a week (lessons and just local pool) and I swim for exercise 1-2 times/week. We are an active family and it is a great way to spend some fun family time.

marmitemad Thu 01-Nov-12 21:20:13

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, mainly from a safety point of view but also its such an easy form of exercise. dd started at 6 weeks so has always been very confident in water. I think its important that children start early (as soon as practical) so they are not scared when its time to start learning properly

~ 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/family members although I guess some support from schools/the government would help those not interested

~ 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 normally go for a family swim every weekend for dd to practise and have fun play time and dh and I to have a proper length swim (we take turns)

~ 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?
on the whole, yes. dd is confident now she can swim and not keen on practising stroke technique so sometimes we have to talk about the importance of swimming and not just playing

~ 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 all love swimming as a family

Ruprekt Thu 01-Nov-12 21:21:34

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?

It was definitely something I wanted for both my boys as I am a weak swimmer. We took them from an early age and both have had lessons since they were 3. They are now 10 and 7.

~ 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. All upbringing is down to parents and then the school can have some input as they get older. At our school it is part of the curriculum in Y3 to have swimming lessons but only for a term. I wish this would continue through upper 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?

No, we swim as a family for pleasure but DS2 swims with a club each week which teaches him the proper way to swim.

~ 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?

DS2 love to swim. DS1 less so but that is because his younger brother swims better than 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?

No. I do lots with my boys and am under no pressure to do more.

BerryLellow Thu 01-Nov-12 21:31:45

~ 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, absolutely. I've taken both of my children in from babies as they can get used to the whole thing early on. We go at least once a week as a family, and the older child has one lesson a week, which the youngest will do when he is old enough. We live in a coastal village, a few hundred metres from the sea, so it's vital for them to be confident and competent.

~ 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 where possible it should be the parent that starts it all off, but sometimes facilities and finances can be prohibitive. It would be good if councils could subsidise swimming lessons for children from low income families so that they aren't reliant on the small provision there is within schools. A combination effort would be ideal.

~ 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 worked as a lifeguard before having children, so saw many many lessons. I've used some of the techniques I learnt with my own children. The only problem with this is they are less likely to keep trying than when they are with an instructor.

~ 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 enjoy 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?

Yes, my children have no concept of how expensive it can be.

I think swimming is a life skill that is so important, not least for personal safety reasons. It's a brilliant sport that provides great all round fitness on it's own, or complements other sports. It's the one thing that is non-negotiable with my children - they can give up other clubs/ sports, but they will go to swimming lessons until they have reached competence.

oldsilver Thu 01-Nov-12 21:32:06

~ 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? Oh yes, as soon as possible. I only wish DP thought the same, it's why at 6 he's only just started proper lessons. I have taught him as much as I can. But I don't know how to teach children properly cause I wasn't taught at that 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? A combination would be good. I taught myself to swim at age 28, I don't think I have the skills to teach the correct way to do the strokes but I have managed to give him water confidence and to practice the stuff he learns in his lesson. I would like schools to have more than just a year (at age 10) or less on lessons. That is all we get at our 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? As stated above, I have managed to give him water confidence but my school swim lessons were 30 odd years ago and they scared the living daylights out of me and I came away not being able to swim. According to the swim baths he has the basics, so I must have done an OK job smile And that's only because I was the only option he had as DP didn't agree with him having lessons - so I HAD to do the best job I could.

~ 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 adores it, something he really looks forward to each Saturday - especially cause I go in the pool and do lengths, so when his lesson finishes we have a swim together. He has got frustrated at times. I. Am. Very. Patient smile We work through it together.

~ 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. It is something DS and I enjoy doing together - our thing, if you will smile Not being able to swim until I was 28 means I put pressure on myself, I don't want him to miss out on swim parties, or just going with mates. I enjoy sea swimming, I would like him to have the fun I do. I just know how much I missed out on things not being able to swim and wished I had the lessons he has now. I also wish I had parents who were willing to take me to a pool swimming. Both mine refused as they didn't like pools. So yep, basically, the pressure comes from me smile

eteo Thu 01-Nov-12 21:33:47

~ 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 will take them as young as possible. Swimming is a basic life skill.

~ 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 parents are the main responsibility. The government should encourage the parents and help fund for free swimming for 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?

we tend to bring them for fun swim whenever we can. and teach them the right way to enjoy themshelves and learn to kick!

~ 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, both love water. we dont have any problem.

~ 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 at all. Both children are still young and they have so much things to learn in life. i wont pressure them at all. slowly learn.

naturalbaby Thu 01-Nov-12 21:36:21

I think swimming is a life skill every child should learn. I started taking my dc's swimming when they were a few weeks old and took them to structured lessons when they were a few months old for water safety then again at around 3 to start learning how to swim.

Parents should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim or taking them to swimming sessions/lessons. I think all children should get the opportunity at school for families that don't go regularly/at all - most do that I know of but I don't know if it's enough to teach children with no experience how to swim.

I take my dc's to swimming lessons but put in a lot of teaching myself because I used to swim competitively when I was younger so have a lot of experience. At the moment we're working on water confidence because they are still young.

My children love swimming, I love taking them.

I pressure myself to take them more often because I see the progress when we go every week, but can't always manage to take all 3 dc's every week! As soon as we can take all 3 together with 2 adults then we'll go more often.

mummyofcutetwo Thu 01-Nov-12 21:40:31

~ 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 essential that children learn to swim. I think it's important for them to get used to the water from just a couple of months old, and then to have lessons from about four years 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?

It should the parents' decision to then find the right teacher. However, I think lessons are so expensive and so it would be good if they could be subsidised to enable all children to access such an essential skill.

~ 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 not been able to afford lessons for my boys as yet but take them to the pool when I can to instil confidence in the water etc.

~ 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?

DS1 is more confident at some times than others which can be a little frustrating - I know that he can do something as he's done it before. I just don't feel qualified to teach him/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?

DS1 loves going to the pool and I don't manage to take them often enough.

ceeb Thu 01-Nov-12 21:44:18

~ 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?

The ability to swim is (a) enjoyable (b) great exercise - one of the only aerobic exercises in fact that doesn't put strain on your joints and (c) life saving. Why wouldn't you teach your children?

I took both my DS from age 3 months. Both of them took to it really well, and they say the memory of being immersed in water in the womb is still there at that age, so it is worth starting early. As a result, both of them were confident swimmers (without armbands) at age 2. Having said that, neither of them picked up proper strokes until 5/6, so I think waiting until that time to have proper lessons would have saved me a lot of money!

~ 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 need to take the lead but any help from any other responsible figure is worth it!

~ 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 don't like teaching my children myself, but a friend of mine does it quite successfully, but she is a trained swimming coach, so that helps!

~ 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?
Because we started so early there has never been any frustration about swimming, both my DS love it and would go every day if I took them! Having said that, they have had varied success with lessons - like any sport, it depends on the coach.

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lunar1 Thu 01-Nov-12 21:51:07

I started taking ds1 swimming at 2.6 yrs, he did not like it at first and would not let go of me in the water. He has just turned 4 and can swim 50m without aids and is in a stage 3 class and loves it. I started taking ds2 at 6 months, he has never cried and loves the pool, he can propel himself across the small pool with his armbands on at 16 months. I think it is essential to learn to swim and learn water safety, the younger the better.

Swimming should be compulsory from the start of school, no other extra-curricular activity will save your Childs life, it should be a combination of swimming teachers, schools/nurseries, parents/other family members and the government to get children swimming.

I was nervous to start my children swimming but found the confidence with a course run by sure start. They each have a lesson once a week, I get in with my youngest and I take them myself once a week. They mostly just play and splash about. I had to get permission from the teacher to take 2 young ones in on my own when one doesn’t use swim aids as its not within the pool guidelines. The eldest doesn’t really learn from me now, he is a better swimmer than me but I think the extra time in the pool helps them and keeps it fun.

My children love swimming lessons. Pressure to go more often comes from my eldest, he did intensive lessons over the summer and would love to carry on going every day if he could. The changing facilities are the worst part of swimming as they are so bad it does sometimes put me off.

TarnishedTupperware Thu 01-Nov-12 21:51:21

~ Children should be encouraged to swim, it is of paramount importance to build their confidence in the water as a foundation for their swimming skills. Children should learn to swim as soon as their own motor skills allow it.

~ Initially the parent or main carer should be responsible for building water confidence. In many families a parent is the main influence at a child's age when they are introduced to the water. Later on, schools should be supported by government grants to enable them to teach the necessary skills to survive in the water as well as become a confident swimmer.

~ My husband and I took our son to swimming pools from around 3 months old. As a result he does not fear the water nor does he feel uncomfortable around it. The complete opposite, we can't get him out! At 3 years old we now support and build on what his swimming lessons teach him. We practice what has been demonstrated in the lessons. This is easy as we are by the side of the pool watching and listening. Yes we feel our support and encouragement is effective.

~ Our son loves his swimming lessons. All children stumble with their learning in any subject at some point. As long as you encourage them to overcome their frustration and learn from it, they will progress. As parents, we love to see him develop his skills in the water.

~ The only pressure we have felt is that the responsibility for our son learning to swim lies with us. We are more than aware that we cannot leave this essential life skill to anyone else. It is a shame that children without parental support in this area may never develop water confidence and learn to swim.

Firewall Thu 01-Nov-12 22:00:15

~ 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 to have. You never know when they may get in trouble (in the sea, river etc) important to be familiar within the water. I think to slowly encourage from a young age but not to be pushy as you do not want to cause an innate fear of water either which can happen if you push them to hard. Hear your children, encourage and play in the water, know what is comfortable for them.

~ 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 parents responsibility te ensure their kids are as rounded as possible obviously not all parents will prioritise this so it's important for schools to have provisions in place. It's the governments responsibility to ensure entry to the pool is affordable.

~ 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 was a competitive swimmer myself, my child is not yet at the learning stage but we go to the pool regularly, encourage kicking, arm moving I the water. Play in the water.

~ 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 child cried when he was younger in the pool, so we left it for 6 on this before trying again, again it took a while for him to get used to it so gave it a break,. When they were 2, we tried again and there was immediate enjoyment in the pool so we knew to encourage it more.

~ 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, it's a personal thing and what you want for your kids.

Sabriel Thu 01-Nov-12 22:07:17

~Swimming is a vital skill and the earlier the better. We started classes at 6 mo.

~Main responsibility lies with parents, with "catch up" at Junior school

~We left swimming teaching to the experts, although we started at Water Babies so one of us went in the water with DD until she was about 3.

~DD has always loved swimming. Even when we first started and she was very young her face would light up when we got to the pool and she couldn't wait to get in. If there was ever a time she didn't want to do it (she's now 5) then we'd stop.

~ I feel I really ought to take her myself between lessons, as we have a pool in walking distance from our house. There never seems to be enough time. The pressure is internal.

Welovecouscous Thu 01-Nov-12 22:16:41

I can never get to the pool as DS keeps being ill - would be good to have guidance on when toddlers should be kept off swimming. I always think colds are ok.

stickylittlefingers Thu 01-Nov-12 22:25:16

~ 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 do think it's important. We have been taking both ours since they were babies, in the hope they would always think it was a natural thing to do.

~ 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 do think there should be funding for swimming at school, so that all children (who go to school) have the opportunity to learn to swim, or improve if they already have. Not all parents will feel confident to take their children swimming and those children shouldn't miss out.

~ 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 do, but I do also watch at their swimming lessons and try and reinforce what is done there.

~ 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?

We have been very happy with the swimming lessons, and the DC have loved 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?

Not under pressure as such, but DC like going swimming so will ask to go.

Iwillorderthefood Thu 01-Nov-12 23:18:08

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?

It is extremely important, it is a life skill that can keep you fit in a non impact way, it could save your life and can also provide a lot of pleasure whilst on holiday or perhaps persuing other water based activities such as diving, sailing etc. I have encouraged both of my children to swim from around 18 months ( ear issues prevented early swim sessions) Ideally it should be encouraged as early as both parent and child feel comfortable with.

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?

Overall it is the parents via a combination of all methods.

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 felt very able with my first child who loved the water. I have definitely helped build confidence and reinforce what the swim teacher has said. With my second child it is more difficult she is afraid and i have recently taken her out of lessons as she becomes hysterical. I am however confident that I will build her confidence and she will one day be able to swim.

* 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?*

DD1 loves learning to swim, we have had one issues as she has not liked her teacher but we have allays been good at working out way around d it without tension.

DD2 it is more tense but I am trying my best to reduce the tension as this will not be the ideal base upon which to encourage her to learn to swim. Keep tension away and allow things to stay 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 I do, as I love taking them swimming and would take them much moe often if I was able to. Pressure is from me.

DollyTwat Thu 01-Nov-12 23:27:05

~ 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 essential for children to learn to swim. It's fun. It's a great way to socialize and keep fit. The safety aspect is also important but I've only ever wanted my children to be able to have fun in water safely

~ 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 of those. Swimming with parents is the fun time. With swimming teachers also fun but more structured

~ 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 just have fun with my children. I can't teach them strokes as they are probably better than me now! The structure is provided by swimming lessons

~ 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 children enjoyed learning and have found it enjoyable. It's frustrating to start with but too much pressure on learning strokes is the cause

~ 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 but I do feel guilty my eldest doesn't go that often now his lessons are over

preety18 Thu 01-Nov-12 23:28:20

~ 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?

Yes it is important for children to learn to swim. There is no right age the earlier you start the better it is as children build up confidence quicker than the older ones.

~ 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?

It is the parent responsibility to make sure along side with a swimming 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?

No personally I can't swim myself, I'm scared of the water. But I wanted my children to be able to swim and not be scared like me.

~ 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 children absolutely love swimming.

~ 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, as being both working parents who works shift pattern we find it hard t take them swimming, hence the reason we've get them to have weekly swimming lessons from a very early age.

ScorpionQueen Thu 01-Nov-12 23:33:59

~ 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?
Swimming is a life skill. It is so important that children learn to swim, not only for pleasure and exercise but also for safety.

~ 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?
Although I believe schools should do more (and the Government should fund it) as a parent I chose to fund private lessons. My children were lucky I could afford it as over the years it ran into hundreds of pounds.

~ 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?
Swimming has to be fun to make a confident child but we focused on playing, races and games rather than me trying to teach them per se. I took my 2 swimming from a young age to build their confidence then booked lessons when my input was no longer 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?
My eldest was almost a swimmer when we started lessons and picked it up straight away. The youngest took longer as she is naturally less bouyant. It took longer to build her confidence but with the help of a wonderful teacher she got there.

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

This year the hundreds of pounds spent on lessons over the years really paid off. On holiday I was able to relax a lot more and didn't have to be in the water to constantly support the children. We have stopped lessons as the children could swim and no longer wanted to go, so I have to make an effort to take them swimming more often.

lljkk Thu 01-Nov-12 23:37:41

~ I see swimming as an essential life skill, no huge rush, but as soon as they (typically age 5-6 with mine).

~ It's my job to see it gets done, I paid swim teachers to do it.

~ DC enjoyed it up to a basic level of competency, usually saw lessons as a chore after that.

~ I feel pressured to make the most of the free leisure swims that come with their lessons smile. Also, they need to go regularly to keep skills refreshed & water confidence.

bruffin Fri 02-Nov-12 00:09:14

~ 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 started my children in swimming lessons from babies.
I think its a great sport for children who are not that sporty. I also want my children to be safe in and around water. The baby lessons they went to, taught the to automatically turn to the side when they jumped in and not to panic under 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? 

A combination of all. I do think children need proper lessons, as those who have been taught by their parents are usually obvious as they dont breath properly.

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? 
Although i an a strong swimmer and my own swimming teacher suggested i should qualify as a swim teacher,i feel that the mechanics of learning to swim should be left to qualified teachers and swimming with us should be for fun.

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?
On the whole my children have loved it.
My son is 17 and had lessons from his first birthday until he passed his bronze medallion at 13.He passed his NPLQ last year and now has part time work as a life guard. He says he misses his swimming lessons. He also does water sports and appreciates the confidence swimming gave him to partake in those sports.
My daughter is 15 and had lessons since 6months old and is,currently doing her bronze medallion and still enjoying 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

It is important and I started with my DS at age 3 with fun play lessons in the water to give him water confidence. I didnt do more formal lessons until I realised that when he went swimming with the school in Yr 1 when he was 5 he was the poorest swimmer in class and that knocked his confidence.

It should be parents but for example I am not a good swimmer and already have to teach/support my DS at maths/literacy etc so really dont want to have to do swimming as well. He goes with school but only for 12 weeks each year, hence private lessons.

I dont teach my son swimming - not really a good enough swimmer

DS (age 7) struggles with concentration - he enjoys being in the water but not so much the swimming lessons. Yet more pressure on a young child. I persevere as the swimming is an important life skill.

I do feel pressure - DS is the poorest swimmer in the year and he finds that hard. Many of his older friends in the year are doing length badges and certificates. DS can barely swim a few strokes. Whn he swims with school he is given 1:1 help which makes him different to his peer group.

By the way my son's only issue is that he is late summer born in a class of mostly much older girls. This is yet another area where he doesnt do as well and his confidence is shot to pieces.

jimmenycricket Fri 02-Nov-12 07:24:03

We have been trying to get our children swimming, however the local pool is taken up entirely with lessons except for Saturdays when it's full of marauding teens who intimidate little ones.

FYI we did try and get them into a swim class and managed it, but were unable to renew as we couldn't go queue up for two hours to book it on a particular day (some of us, you know, WORK) hmm .

They start at school in yr 1 here though so my daughter does it at school. My four year old though, frankly, despite ten weeks of lessons, has no clue at all.

ToothbrushThief Fri 02-Nov-12 07:33:12

Swimming is an essential life skill AFAIC

I started with my DC under a year. Kept swimming up throughout childhood. It's an enjoyable family activity. DC now swims (very well) with a club. I think it has to be regular to be effective. 10 weeks with school just isn't going to give confidence or ability. You'd be better off doing a water safety course in that time.

My older DC swam 2 miles in a pool (no feet down, stopping or holding sides) in their early teens.

Swimming enables them to safely socialise at the beach/pool etc. it's a good exercise and social activity

I wish pools were cheaper with better family changing

I find the commitment to taking DC to lessons and club irksome at times but the benefits outweigh it

mummytime Fri 02-Nov-12 07:42:00

~ 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 started to get mine used to the water as babies, starting to learn to swim at 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?

Schools should teach kids to swim, and it should be done by intensive swimming courses, not the present system where they often actually learn to swim outside of school. As it is kids whose parents can't afford top up swimming lessons may not actually learn 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 have helped boost confidence, but had a professional teacher teach them. I don't want to teach them bad stroke technique. It's like getting a professional music teacher, I can help with practise not 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?

My oldest two enjoy it, my youngest doesn't but has progressed fairly well. It would be nice if it didn't have to take up their free time, but could be learnt adequately in school.

~ 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 love to if it was more convenient.

i'm an ex scuba diving instructor so pretty confident in the water and was a bit shocked by how much my ds hated it! what i found was that they have to be ready or you can easily just deepen their aversion.

what really helps in my opinion is a sunny holiday by a pool with lots of other children around enjoying the water. in one week he had overcome his aversion and was loving the water and happily swimming about out of his depth in arm bands and happy to take off the arm bands and swim with a float and 'try' at swimming. big relief for me that he finally liked it.

since then i've been a bit slack in keeping it up but on the couple of ocassions we've been to pools he's been able to negotiate the pool holding onto a small float and it's very clear that moving on from that will not be difficult. i've done nothing about formally teaching him to swim yet. at primary school within the next year or so they start going swimming and having more formal lessons and maybe i'm relying on that a bit too much.

i think, ideally, it is for parents to provide opportunities to be in the water and learn confidence and pleasure but more formal 'swimming lessons' would be better done by the pros through school. i say ideally because not all adults can swim themselves or feel confident in the water and you can't teach what you haven't got. for my son it will be a combo of my efforts, the schools and his desire to swim that gets us there. i do think the confidence and fun is the most important part - learning to swim, surf, dive, etc is all fairy easy if you are happy in the water.

this thread has reminded me about swimming actually - my son is only 5 but yes it's probably time for me to be taking him more regularly and teaching him some basic skills like how to float and scull/scoon (is that what it's called?). i remember when my niece and nephews were little i'd teach them things like that and how to sink and make a game of who could sink and stay under (not easy for kids as it feels counterintuitive to let your breath out underwater rather than hold it). little things that made them 'get' how your body works in the water and to feel confident in it. time to start doing this with ds.

pushitreallgood Fri 02-Nov-12 09:28:57

my youngest two can swim but my eldest can not i am not sure how that happened and i am trying to rectify it at the moment and trying to teach her as i feel it is important to be confident and comfortable in the water at all times. her father can not swim and is terrified of water and i do not want tht for her. i was taught at school and i know she had a term of swimming lessons but came out of it none the wiser. i think swimming should be part of the school pe curriculum to ensure all children can swim.

NiniLegsInTheAir Fri 02-Nov-12 09:41:38

~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 very important and should be encouraged from a young age. But especially so from about the age of 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?
I think it should be everyone - parents for obvious reasons, schools should be involved (my parents didn't teach me how to swim so the only real time I went swimming was with school and in some households that still applies). Government should also be encouraging swimming as you never know when the skills could be useful.

~ 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 DD is only 1 and we havn't taken her swimming as much as I'd like. I am a very poor swimmer with not much water confidence and have nobody else to take her. Proper swimming lessons are very expensive so at the moment, I'm not taking her. I'd like to but don't feel confident doing it on my own. sad

~ 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?
On the rare occasions when I do take my DD, she is scared at first but loves it after a few minutes. Having bigger kids around who splash a lot make it more frightening for her however.

~ 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 feel pressure from other mums who have the time/money to go to swimming lessons, and also from companies trying to get me to buy lessons.

I'd also like to make the point that where I live, swimming lessons happen almost exclusively during the week, and I work full-time. Open pool sessions at our local public pool are short at weekends too and very busy. I'd also like to see some provision for swimming lessons for parents who are not very water confident so they can learn with their kids at the same time!

crackersncheese Fri 02-Nov-12 09:44:17

I think it's massively important to learn to swim as a child. I wasn't taught at all until I had a term at school at around 10. Never really mastered any technique and although I love being in water I'm not at confident.
I'm starting to take my 4month old for lessons in a few weeks. This is more to build my confidence with him in the water so we can swim for fun as a family. Will probably enroll him for proper lessons once he's at school so I don't pass on my awful technique (I look like im drowning very very slowly).

Roseformeplease Fri 02-Nov-12 09:55:27

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?

Mine started at 3 and loved it. They had been in the pool before then, but started lessons at 3. We live by the coast so it is essential - a potential lifesaver - not to mention really good fun. The other issue here in the frozen North is the weather. Swimming provides a cheap, year round form of exercise. Once they are 8 they can go to the pool without an adult, meaning that it gives them a social occasion and something they can enjoy with their friends.

~ 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, ultimately, but mine have enjoyed lessons we have paid for topped up by swimming lessons with school (at the same pool, and with some of the same instructors) and have also loved swimming just as a leisure activity.

~ 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 supported their learning with lots of practice. No, I wasn't worried about helping them as I was there during the lessons and saw what they had achieved. However, they were prepared to try more with an instructor than with me and made much faster progress as a result. When I tried to get them, for example, to take a stroke on their own, they were clingy and reluctant. The instructor just told them to do it and they did!

~ 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 really any problems. The only issue was when I tried to be the other end of the pool with my younger child while my older one (aged 3) was just beginning to learn to swim. He didn't see why he couldn't be with his Mum and sister and cried a lot. We ended up watching from the gallery and then getting in to join him after the lesson which solved this.

~ 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. We are very fortunate with our pool and its proximity and they go when they want (free once in High School) and enjoy it. The only pressure has been during the dreaded swimming pool parties when they were younger. The adults had to go in the pool if the children were under 8, meaning floating around for an hour, getting freezing cold, while the children played on a giant float, leaving no space for actual swimming to get warm. So very glad when these stopped. We used to fight to be the one that didn't have to go in.

treetrunkthighs Fri 02-Nov-12 10:30:27

~ 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 vital to encourage children to learn to swim. I think that pre-school is probably the best - I have taken both of mine since they were 2/3 months old and both could swim a width at 4 years old. I think they probably would have learnt at the same rate if they'd started later but it is such a great bonding experience getting in the pool with a baby, especially with no floating aids - all that cuddling and skin to skin...what's not to like?!

~ 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. However I think it is great if schools have the money/facilities/time to mop up the ones who have slipped through. I think the government could make swimming accessible to all and offering free/low cost sessions would be a good move.

~ 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 try not to get involved with "teaching" them now - especially the older one who can swim far better than me, but I do encourage and try to emulate what I have seen the younger one doing in lessons when we go as a family. I am not very confident in the water, which is a big factor in why I think swimming is so important - I wish I could do it well and enjoy it but I can't. My older daughter (10) gains enormous pleasure from swim training and competing which is really all I wanted.

~ 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?

A bit of both really. There is a time where you know they can do it but they haven't got the confidence when it can get frustrating but there is nothing like pressure to put them right off so I have tried to keep calm!

~ 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 spend half my life at the pool as it is, so even if I feel the pressure i don't bow down! The pressure probably comes from me - lots pf dds peers swim 5/6 times a week - we aren't able to commit to that at the moment but deep down I feel we should!

strandednomore Fri 02-Nov-12 10:42:23

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 definitely for lots of reasons: enjoyment, exercise, so they can join in on holidays, and of course safety when we are at the beach or at a pool. Also, we have loved overseas and had a pool in our garden so it would have been very strange if they didn't learn to 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?

A combination - swimming teachers and parents. I think prices should be subsidised by the government though.

~ 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 helped them by taking them swimming as often as possible and re-inforcing what their teachers have taught them, but I leave it up to the experts to teach them the proper strokes etc. I don't want them to have to un-do what I have taught them!

~ 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 been an enjoyable experience. Both learned to swim from a very early age (one was three, the other two when they started swimming independently of arm bands etc) so it has been a fairly easy transition

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

A little pressure from them! But I hate indoor municipal pools, they are fairly boring and I find them cold! and the changing rooms are horrid. We try and go on holidays to places with waterparks etc as much as possible

Arcticwaffle Fri 02-Nov-12 11:00:25

~ 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?

When they were babies I used to think that swimmiing was the ONLY activity I really wanted them to be good at young. We do a lot of watersports and it seemed important to have them able to swim. We started when they were 4 months old with weekly toddler swim sessions, moving on to lessons from about 3, still going on the lessons many years later.

But retrospectively I think it was a waste of time taking them young, children who rarely went near a pool til 6 or so very quickly overtook my dc in swimming ability. Currently my dc are still learning to swim, in lessons with children far younger. They don't really seem to be great natural swimmers. They can all swim (aged 12, 10, 8) but they won't win any prizes.

~ 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 primarily but schools/government should also provide opportunities to learn to swim, it's an important life skill.

~ 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 got very bored taking them as toddlers, I didn't really try to teach them myself, I think the swimming teachers are probably better at this than I am.

~ 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 like going swimming for fun, but they find the lessons challenging and don't always enjoy them, though they like being able to swim. Sometimes I've had to bribe my 8yo to keep going with an end-of-course treat.

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

The children would like to go swimming more, for fun, and we do take them but don't always have the time or energy.

DizzyHoneyBee Fri 02-Nov-12 11:40:20

~ 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?

Yes, it is vital as there is water around so much where they can get into difficulties. Children should be introduced to playing in the water as soon as they have had their first vaccinations and then they and gradually learn more and more skills, especially not to be afraid of 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?

Parents, and swimming teachers. Schools tend no to go until year 3/4 which is quite late but it does pick up the children who have never been taught by their parents or had 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?

I helped teach my child until he was 5, then he had swimming lessons but could already swim a width by then.

~ 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 used to be terrified of the water and would scream at the prospect. That all changed one day when he decided to try to swim without his arm bands, he never looked back and now is on the town swimming team.

~ 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, but they swim 3 times a week already.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

prakattack Fri 02-Nov-12 13:16:07

I think it's really important for children to learn to swim as early as possible. I do my best to take them as often as I can, though at this stage, I'm just trying to make sure they're confident and sensible around water, not teaching them to swim as such.
My eldest, just turned 3, is ready to learn properly now I think but I don't actually know where to start. Local council swimming lessons are from 4, the ones for 3yr olds are for building water confidence, which we can do ourselves. Think we'll have to wait a year...

iwantavuvezela Fri 02-Nov-12 14:09:45

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?

For me personally it is important for me to encourage my daughter (5) to swim. I think it comes from living previously in a sunny climate, and having fond memories of been in the pool every day, swimming, diving and been really confident in water. I have also seen adults who are afraid of the water, and I would like the happy medium for my daughter, to be able to swim, to be confident in water, and to be able to go swimming with friends, enjoy the sea etc. I also think its great exercise.

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 this for a child rests with parents. To take a child swimming involves the chagning and unchanging, getting them ready, drying them etc. I think this would be too much work to ask of a nursery or when children are in their first years at school. I enjoy doing this with my daugther, i would be happy if she did swimming at school, but would see that as a supplement. I would not expect the goverment to intervene in this AT 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?

My daughter has been learning to swim for the last two years. I take her swimming and keep it fun, but try and replicate the techniques that I have seen in her swimming class. I feel absolutely confident to take her swimming and if there were no teachers around, with some help I could teach her myself. My duaghter has grown in confidence with her lessons. It started with her crying when she thought we had lessons and terrified of putting her nose, let alone head under the water. A year later she was referred to as a real water baby at a swimming party!

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 is loving it. In the beginning, and her initial fear of jumping in; head going under she didnt but I perserved. I am glad I did - she is always now keen to go to her lesson, and i see her improving slowly but surely.

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

The only pressure would come from myself. I would like to go more often with her, but often run out of time over a weekend. I dont feel pressure from anyone to do this, but I value her learning to swim, enjoying the water, seen her confidence grow, so i feel internally I should support this more than I do.

kellestar Fri 02-Nov-12 15:16:50

Yes I do think it's important that they are confident in the water. I've been taking my DD 22months to a weekly parent and toddler session since she was 6 weeks. It's been great for both of us, she really loves the water. She has delphin armbands and paddles about a bit. She'll be going to lessons when she's 3 [youngest they start at]. I'm expecing DC2 in April and hope to take them swimming too.

I think parents should take the main responsibility, having people show you that are confident in water helps build your confidence. I think it's great that there are swimming lessons once they get to school, but I think they should be water confident at that time. I will be using a swimming teacher once DD is older, as having another child will make it hard to teach DD, however I will still take her swimming, but more for fun.

I loved the water as a child and spent lots of time at the pool, my Dad used to take us and when I was older our school took us swimming and I joined the leisure centre's active kids club on a Saturday morning. DH loves swimming too. We are lucky that we live close to a small community pool who charge very reasonable rates for sessions and lessons, the council leisure centres are at least twice the price and the pool temp isn't as warm.

My mum, my Gran and my MiL can't swim, they all had bad experiences when they were younger and it put them off. In fact they think I shouldn't be encouraging DD as they are petrified of water and worried about her drowning. They've been to see DD in the pool and spent most of the time fretting at the pool side. Though MiL has offered to help me out at swimming when DC2 arrives, I think she'll pass on her nerves to either of them by being so fretful, she's happy to put on a swimsuit and get in the water as long as she is in the shallow end. I'm not sure I'd even trust her if she doesn't know how to swim, what if she slipped and struggled to find her footing. But that's a bridge we will cross when DC2 arrives.

skaen Fri 02-Nov-12 15:41:50

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 its vital. A really important life skill

~ 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 should be responsible for organising lessons but should only teach children to swim themselves if they have enough knowledge and capability. I was taught to swim by my dad and while I'm ace at doggy paddle, it would have been helpful to have learned other strokes and be able to be really good but my parents didn't see any point in going beyond that. I'm now learning crawl as an adult. If parents can't or won't organise lessons, the school should step in.

~ 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 taking them swimming and encouraging them to show me what they've learnt. I don't try and teach them anything as I don't want to cause confusion but try to encourage water confidence and showing off.

~ 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 is 5 and is starting to enjoy it. She can swim a bit on her back and underwater on her front but can't quite get to the full stroke. Plenty of time though.

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

DD would love to go swimming more often. However, all the pools round here are 1 adult per child up to age 4 and 1 adult per 2 children to age 8. As DS isn't 3 yet, it will be some time before I can take them on my own, which effectively means we can only go at weekends when DH and I are both free.

millie19 Fri 02-Nov-12 16:03:18

~ 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 believe it's very important to both their health & their safety that children should learn to swim. My dd started at 5months old and ds started at 4 months and so I think the earlier the better as it means the skills are there before any anxiety can develop. They have fun splashing and playing in the water and get confident and then learn the technique that can ultimately save their lives.

~ 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 should be responsible for being the ones to take them for the first few years, but swimming lessons are an expense and not everyone can afford them. But not every parent can swim or is confident in the water themselves. It's a shame that schools don't start swimming as part of their curriculums until they are 7 or 8yo. They should teach them earlier on in primary school and the government should be finding ways to support all schools to do this. My two learn at their local leisure centres and they are excellent lessons. What happens to those children who don't have parent's that take them to lessons, for whatever reason, or who's schools don't have it as part of the PE curriculum?

~ 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 have watched what my eldest was being taught at her lessons, and knowing the stroke she is aiming to learn, both dh and I have encouraged her to try and improve her technique. But we've also just let her swim under water and dive down for toys and have fun - that's what swimming is about when you're only 4yo! I loved swimming when I was young and still remember much of what I was taught and so I hope I am helping to supplement dd's swimming lessons when we get the chance to go outside of these.

~ 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 loved it for the first few months, then hated it from about 14-16 months, then loved it and is now like a fish and at age 4 is now swimming better than the peers in her lessons who are 6yo or older. She is very confident in the water and loves her lessons! DS spent the first year getting colds & others illnesses from his big sister so we didn't get to as many lessons as we would have liked. However, he is now in a swim class without me being in the water with him, loves the lessons and can swim confidently with a noodle under his arms in deep water or the sea. They both jump into deep water happily (with us there to catch of course!) and it's great to watch their confidence grow as they improve.

~ 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 but I probably should have tried to take them in between lessons but taking two learners by myself was often more than I could handle! But they don't seem to have suffered for it.

Princessdivaaa Fri 02-Nov-12 17:11:41

Yes it is vital children learn to swim...

My children are 4 and 2 and I have just signed up my 4 year old for lessons at the local swimming Pool.. Although they do have lessons at school during the summer..

Lessons are not cheap neither is going swimming so I think learning to swim should be a combination of parents, qualified swimming instructors and schools.

My children love going to the swimming pool so we try and take them as often as we can..

glitch Fri 02-Nov-12 17:57:04

~ 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?
Yes absolutely. Everyone should be able to swim. I think you can encourage them from any 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?
I think parents should be responsible for getting them in the water at an early age and then getting them into swimming lessons with a proper teacher once they are old enough.

~ 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 clueless when it comes to teaching my DS to swim but his teachers are fab at 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?
My DS loves the water and is doing OK at learning. I am lucky that I have a great swim school who are fantastic with all the children. They are in the water with them that makes them feel more secure and keep them engaged.

~ 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 pressure to take him more often.

Huffpot Fri 02-Nov-12 20:25:00

~ 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 its massively important for chilldren to learn to swim from an early age to encourage confidence. I didn't learn to swim as a child and it has affected me in lots of ways (grew up in Australia) and I have now gone and learnt as an adult as I've always wanted to do it and so I can be in the water with my own children.

~ 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 parents should take the main responsibility but it would also help if all the other parties mentioned helped - even if the cost of lessons could be subsidised in some way.

~ 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 eldest for lessons at a council run facility when he was young but wasn't impressed with the standard of them or the skills taught so did not pursue it with my youngest. As I now have two toddlers (3 and 2) I am going to enrol in private lessons recommended by a friend on the weekend with DP so we can take both boys together

~ 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 eldest really enjoys the water (3) but my 2 year old is not impressed at getting wet so really needs some work done with his confidence

~ 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...the only pressure would come from myself for wanting them to be confident and safe in the water

allagory Fri 02-Nov-12 20:27:26

I think people start swimming lessons too young. I see children of 3 4 and 5 bouncing around in the pool listening to no one. What's the point? By 6 the majority of children have the right levels of strength and attention span to learn. At the younger range of ages, I think it is more important for children to have fun in the water. My son does not like going to swimming lessons but he has developed a stylish stroke that will stand him in good stead for his whole life. Learning to swim at school is a bit of a waster of time. It seems that the investment of time - getting hoardes of kids on coaches and changed is not the best use of their time or their teachers. I can't imagine any 7 year old would learn to swim in 1/2 an hour a week for 1 term a year. Swimming lessons are something a parent needs to take responsibility for.

Cathpot Fri 02-Nov-12 20:55:28

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 started baby swimming with my first child at 3 months, largely to get myself out of the house. I dont think it had any impact on her really. Then we started swimming lessons when she was rising 4 - both myself and my husband swim and we were keen for her to start. I think she actually started listening to the teacher about a year later. She is now at nearly 8 a very good swimmer. Her younger sister who we pushed far less, is not where she was at 5, but still loves it and will be fine in the end.

~ 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?

We have found with our girls that they resist being taught to swim by us but not by a swimming teacher. So when we swim with them it is all about fun, and with him it is the nitty gritty of technique. That way they still learn and it stays fun.

~ 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 helped with general water confidence but I dont push them on technique.

~ 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?

It has been entirely positive

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

Nope

TodaysAGhoulDay Fri 02-Nov-12 21:42:27

~ 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?

It's very important, and as early as possible. I have taken my DS swimming since the age of 5 weeks, just to get him used to the water. He's now 5 and he absolutely loves 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?

The parents for the first 4/5 years, then swimming teachers, then schools/swimming teachers from the age of 7 or 8.

~ 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 refused to put any sort of flotation device on my son since he was 3. I regularly take him out of his depth and let him try swimming to me from the side. Yes, sometimes he goes under and gets a big mouthful, but it never seems to put him off. I always try and make swimming fun for him, we take inflatable balls etc with us to the pool.

~ 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 loves it, and regularly asks to go swimming, even in winter. We've always been very relaxed in the water with no pressure on him to swim by himself, I think it's important not to exert pressure at that age because he may well end up hating swimming.

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

We go between once a week and once a month, and we've done this for almost 6 years now. He tends to nag to go if we haven't been for a while.

steppemum Fri 02-Nov-12 22:25:29

I think it is very important to learn to swim, for fun, for exercise and for safety. I am always surprised by adults who can't swim and think how much they miss out on. I love swimming myself, although we do it mostly on holiday.

I can teach swimming (got my qualification years ago) but I have found it very hard to teach my kids. Mum knows nothing apparently

My kids have learnt to swim mostly on holiday, we go where they are in a pool for 2-4 hours per day. They learn just by messing around in the water, helped by the fact that there isn't much of a shallow end where we are on holiday. Each year we see them come on in leaps and bounds over the 2 weeks. I do think this type of swimming is very important to learn to swim, formal lessons doesn't really do it, they need to play in the water and have fun.

But they will not allow me to teach them their strokes, so they are very strong confident kids in the water, but have very poor stroke technique, so we have decided they need swimming lessons.

We started lessons on one local council run pool. The lessons were dire, they were boring, and the kids spent loads of time at the side watching the others swim across (they went one child at a time, so 8 children means they were only swimming 1/8 time)
The younger group had such a small part of the pool that they could only do 3 metre length. We stopped lessons for a year, then on holiday were struck again by how they needed to improve strokes.

Both older children have school swimming lessons, oldest is year 5 and has had them every year for 6 weeks. Has taught him some, but they learn in pool which is shallow, so he puts his feet down and doesn't swim. Comes home with a 10 metre badge when I know he can easily do 50-100m.

Tried again this year with lessons. Also council run pool, in another town 20 minutes drive. Found the lessons by recommendation, very good, well taught I can see their standard improving each week. Not cheap at £5 per child per lesson, this is a lot of money for us as all 3 kids are doing it.

I would like to see school lessons more effective, and more targeted. I would like to see pool open for free swimming for families in some way so they can be more accessible, or that families can get subsidised lessons.

My youngest is having lessons with her older brother and sister. She can swim a bit and is in the beginners group. She loves it, so that is working for her, but really 5 year olds having formal lessons isn't ideal to me, I think at this age playing in the water is much better than lessons, especially if they aren't fun. We are very fortunate to have a fun teacher in a small quiet pool.

My kids all love to swim, but my eldest does not like being made to have lessons, he doesn't like lessons, would rather just have fun in the water. We have a bargain that once he can do 20m well in each stroke he can stop.

My girls love their lessons, and love swimming.

skyebluezombie Fri 02-Nov-12 22:57:36

My DD 4yo can propel herself across the pool wearing armbands. She loves swimming but I cant take her very often. The local pool is full of lessons after school. Lessons cost £54 a term, which I just dont have at the moment.

When I was a child, I learned to swim at primary school. We had a tiny square pool at the school and we went to the leisure centre every week. This was all paid for by the school.

I learned to swim up to 2000m and did my bronze life saving award and some kids did up to their Gold.

I think that the school should teach the children to swim. If parents cant afford it, then those children are losing out.

rufus5 Fri 02-Nov-12 23:06:22

~ 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?

So so important. Kids need to be confident in water, primarily for their safety, but also for their ability to fully enjoy activities and holidays without fear of water. Ideally it's great to start them from very young (less than 1 year old), but at the very latest I think children need to be taught water safety and swimming tips by age 5 or 6. Any older and it is more likely for them to have developed a fear or concern about water that will hinder future learning.

~ 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 parents (where they are confident themselves) should take the lead in teaching water safety and confidence in water, but as for teaching proper swimming I think it falls to the swimming teachers or school swimming lessons. Swimming is a very difficult skill to teach properly if you are not knowledgeable about it, but the main concern is being safe in water which the majority of people can teach.

~ 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 (very young), but they are happy in water and learning water safety. I am confident in teaching them as I am an experienced 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?

Yes they really enjoy it. I try to let them progress at their own pace and keep it fun as I don't want to be 'forcing' them to learn so they end up getting turned off by it all.

~ 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, mainly from myself as they enjoy swimming so much, but with two young children I cannot take them myself and am dependent on my DH or a friend being free to come along. Doesn't happen often enough for my liking, so I feel guilty for not getting them into the pool more often.

Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? Absolutely. It's a life skill.

Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim? Swimming teaching should be left to those qualified to teach, but it should be the parents' responsibility that their children learn to swim. Not all children need formal lessons though, and not all children need to learn the perfect backstroke. The minimum is the ability to swim a short distance.

If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them? I have three children, all of them have learned in swimming lessons or on their own after being taken to the pool enough times. I wouldn't have a clue how to actually teach them, plus they don't listen to me anyway...

Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim? They all love it. Where we live (by the sea with a big surf culture) it is expected that all children can swim, so afternoons at the local leisure centre is like an extension of school day where they see a lot of their friends. One of my children (aged 6) has now taken up diving and he wants to be an Olympic diver. Apparently.

Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? They swim every week but still pester to be taken to the pool at weekends.

merrymouse Sat 03-Nov-12 15:41:41

Do you think it's important to encourage children to learn to swim? Yes. Start as early as possible. As well as safety aspects, being a non-swimmer will exclude children from water based activities in later life.

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? All of above. However, unless there is a pool on-site, I think schools are time-limited and can't give children enough swimming experience to make them strong swimmers. Therefore it is up to government to ensure that there are pools available where parents can take their children swimming. Importantly, these should be PROPER POOLS WITH A DEEP END!!! not just leisure pools, and they should be affordable.

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. Helped by baby/toddler swimming teachers. However, the thing that has given my children the most confidence and ability is being able to spend plenty of time playing in the water e.g. diving for rings, playing games.

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 experience

Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? - no swim at least once a week anyway. (Although for many families this would be prohibitively expensive).

melodyangel Sat 03-Nov-12 15:59:02

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 is extremely important. Get then in the water asap for fun and splashing, formal swimming lessons from about five.

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's easier to get swimming lessons than trying to teach them yourself but I do think you need to take them swimming too to teach them to love swimming.

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 taken both my DC's swimming since they were about one but I haven't really tried to teach them as until this year I couldn't swim myself.

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?

Ds1 always enjoyed both playing and learning to swim. DS2 hated every minute of it for the first few lessons, he slowly got the hang of it but didn't really enjoy it much but kept going and now loves swimming.

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 go quite often together as a family plus regular swimming lessons.

GangstaGranny Sat 03-Nov-12 16:11:08

~ 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. Started taking both DC to parent and baby/toddler session led by instructor. DD then had private lessons aged 3 as she was too good for the toddler pool, had her 25 metre badge before starting school! DS had lessons in pre-school class from age 3 (Ducklings) and was in a stage 3 class by the time he started school. If you can bring them up realising that the pool is a fun place to go and not to be scared of the water from an early age it's got to help.

~ 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?
This should be a joint responsibility. Parents and swimming teachers need to take the lead but schools should support and the government should help by making swimming lessons available to all (?subsidise for low income families). School my DC go to do a 6 week block of weekly swimming lessons each year, any child not receiving lessons is hardly going to learn like that!

~ 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?
Although I can swim reasonably well I don't feel I have sufficient skills to teach the kids. This half term we went swimming and my DD (9) overtook me swimming a length with far more style than any adults in the pool! I just support by taking the kids regularly during the holidays.

~ 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 has loved every moment of learning to swim. She'd swim every day of the week and is determined to reach olympic levels!

~ 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 because my DC now swim at club level so are in the pool at least 2-3 times per week.

crappypatty Sat 03-Nov-12 17:52:29

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?

It is very important for children to learn how to swim, For safety, health and enjoyment.

~ 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?

It is a parents responsibility to ensure their child can swim. Either teach their child themselves or pay for 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?

I have three children, my eldest two were taught to swim by us, my youngest has Autism and it has proved very difficult impossible to teach him. He is now on his second block of 121 lessons. He is now swimming but still using aids. He is 8 .

~ 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?

The eldest two, it was enjoyable and stress free, they were taught through playing. The youngest, very stressful, he now enjoys his lessons but the first block with a teacher who didn't understand his triggers was a nightmare, he would scream and cry the whole lesson, very hard as parents to listen to that. Swimming with us he wouldn't lift his feet up.

~ 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 enjoy taking our children swimming and just focus on playing as opposed to swimming laps, or water parks.

mercibucket Sat 03-Nov-12 21:35:10

Mine all have/had lessons and I approach it as a non-negotiable. At various times they've complained but are not allowed to stop til they reach gold. I also sometimes take them swimming and they like going with friends as well
Plenty of kids their age can't swim, it is a class and culture divide - so I would like to see schools do more lessons and also parents encouraged to take their kids swimming. Here, kids swim free but it's a fiver for adults so still quite expensive. Also, there are no 'women and children' times, so muslim women just don't go swimming at all, and therefore don't take their kids either.

turnipvontrapp Sat 03-Nov-12 22:10:30

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 very important - right age is probably 4 with lessons, but younger with family.

~ 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?
Family and swimming 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 a bit, not a very good teacher 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?
My eldest two hated their swimming lessons as the teacher didn't like boys and was so negative all the time. Have yet to take DS3 to swimming lessons.

~ 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 comes from me, know its a life skill and they should all go swimming more often.

SourMilkGill Sat 03-Nov-12 23:25:12

1. Children should learn to swim as soon as possible from a safety point of view. In reality I would expect this to mean that from 18 months onwards they are able to roll onto their back to keep their mouth out of the water, and from 4 yrs, to swim doggy paddle for a metre or so to get back to the side and then be able to hold on.
2. Parents should take responsibilty, though help towards swimming admission costs would be usefull.

3. I taught my own children. It was fun and easy. They pra,tised many of the skills in the bath (having water on their face, blowing bubbles, putting head under, opening eyes underwater, floating). My children are really confident in the water which makes them easier to teach. I couldn't ve afforded lessons.

I feel pressure to take them more often. The pressure comes from them.

SachaF Sun 04-Nov-12 09:18:10

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. (my) Children should be encouraged to gain water confidence from as soon as they are old enough to meet the pool's requirements (3 months?). We go kayaking or out on boats every year so familiarity with water (and it's inherent dangers) is important for us. I say water confidence as they wear life jackets when near open water and don't need to swim, they just need to not panic and know we will get them out again.
Children should learn to swim when they are ready. My local pool suggests 3 is the minimum age. Both my children started swimming lessons at 3 but initially again this centres around water confidence for about 6 months. With my ds he was fine when 3, but then at 3 1/2 struggled. I stopped and waited another 6 months until he was ready.

~ 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 main responsibility is with the parent. I have now delegated this responsibility to swimming teachers at the local pool. So today we will go swimming as a family for fun, with little onus on teaching / learning. Yay!

~ 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 did baby lessons with ds to guide me and give me confidence as to what to do in a pool with a baby. We then went regularly with family. When dd came along I had the confidence to know what I was doing so I just continued going weekly with 2 children. I have developed safety and confidence with them. I have left specific swimming instruction to the professionals- I don't have the patience!

~ 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?
When they started lessons, I continued with our 'fun' sessions initially so they could 'show' me what they've learnt. It took dd about 4 lessons to settle into the lessons. Generally they enjoy lessons, although they want more play time in the pool. The unenjoyable part (for me) is the getting there after school and the getting showered and changed after the lesson, up to 70 children all wanting to use the showers!

~ 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, from them! Also the swim teacher occassionally mentions 'when you take them swimming next, can you do this skill with them please?'.

Boysboysboys Sun 04-Nov-12 10:36:00

~ 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 a vital life skill, and they should be taught from as young as possible. They should certainly be learning from reception at school.

~ 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?
It should be part of the curriculum, children should be able to swim by the time they leave primary.

~ 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 take them swimming, but they have lessons so I leave the teaching to the teacher. I wouldn't really know where to start.

~ 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 younger son loves it, the older one tries to get out of lessons every week. We tell him it is non-negotiable.
~ 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, most of the pressure comes from the children!

yousankmybattleship Sun 04-Nov-12 13:57:34

I think it is incredibly important for children to learn to swim, but I think children learn too early these days. I would say 6-7 is a good age. If children learn too early I think there's a real danger that parents will take their eye off the ball in terms of supervision. I think children under five should have an adult very close by at all times regardless of how well they can swim because they simply don't have the skills to assess risk below that age.

notcitrus Sun 04-Nov-12 15:08:04

~ 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?
Yes - by age 5 if they aren't enthusiastic before. Before that you're next to them anyway.

~ 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/family, then backed up by primary schools (so requiring govt funding)

~ 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 son was terrified of water until recently - I figured no point trying swimming if he wouldn't paddle. Got him in paddling pools over the summer but still not had a chance to go swimming, as despite him now being enthusiastic to be like a big cousin, I can't supervise him and baby in the water at the same time (only allowed one non-swimmer/child) and the creche is only open while schools are taking up the learner pool.

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?
Other parents surprised I've never been swimming with him, media, my own fears about water, and the fact that I love swimming and want to share it with my children. My husband is allergic to chlorine so can only take them to the Lido or paddling in the sea, but the weather this year has scuppered that.

Tobermory Sun 04-Nov-12 20:26:27

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?
Yes, I think its really important. What age? As early as possible i think. A child with water confidence gained by lots of dips in the pool form a young age makes for a better swimmer.

~ 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 the onus is on parents/family in the first instance with additional support in schools - primary to get children swimming by the time they leave for high 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? When we go swimming together we take the opportunity to practise skills they have been learning at swimming lessons. Also on making swimmign fun and improving confidence in and around water. Despite being a strong swimming i dont feel i really have the skills to know 'how' to teach swimming. Ive never done the teachign of it before

~ 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?
She very much enjoys swimming lessons. Not so much at the beginning when she hated getting her face wet, but now she has mastered that she just 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? No, dont feel pressure. We go swimming as part of what we do as a family on a weekend and its something we all enjoy and gain from so no pressure needed.

amarylisnightandday Sun 04-Nov-12 21:45:35

Of course it's important to teach children to swim - bit of a cliche but it could save their life one day. Also I live in the coast and love the beach etc - my dd's need to swim well to enjoy it too.

I started dd1 swimming with water babies at about 15 months - as soon as I could get her there. It was a huge success and she really enjoyed it. She was swimming independently (we have never used arm bands or back floats) at around 2 and is swimming up to 50 metres now at 3.

I didn't see progress though until I joined the local health club and took dd swimming up to 3 times a week. The weekly lessons were good bit thru weren't enough. I always say I had to kick the arse out of swimming every week to really get dd the hang of it. It was a big effort but it paid off - she adores swimming and is now getting toys off the bottom and practising her diving.

I see other parents look at dd with astonishment when they see her swimming and I am often asked how old she is etc. there no fluke/amazing talent or whatever -it was just the hours I out in with her that paid off.
I see it as my responsibility to make sure my kids can swim.

keepitrunning Mon 05-Nov-12 01:25:37

I have 3 small children. When my twins where born I had 3 under 3. Before having kids I was very active in all sorts of sports including swimming.

~ importance? Yes, very, it's great exercise and a necessary skill today for your child to be safely included in swimmng activities, even birthday parties.
Age? In the pool by at least 1yr.

Who resp.? Financially, government incentives to pay for regular participation would be helpful, and encourage active family activities.
. Support for people with multiple small children (under 5s) would also be helpful. This is the primary reason I am unable to take my children swimming. With the safety ratio of 1 adult-2 kids, and I have 3 prevents me from going unless I find someone willing (at much effort) to go with me.
. Regular group baby/toddler swim sessions would be helpful to guide parents practically in activities that would help their child to get comfortable in the water and learn.
. I think that generally a combination of govn funding support, and school and nursery opportunities, would help the overall statistic. Parents quite often repeat history ... Having more classes available with qualified instructors is also important. There are so many places with long waiting lists.

~ My teaching? As a result of the ratio issue mentioned above, I have been obliged to pay for lessons which I can ill afford, but I feel it is better for him to learn now when he is 5. Most kids in his circle of friends know how to swim already.

~ Enjoyable? He has enjoyed learning to swim. He has been quite apprehensive at times, and has required a lot of encouragement but I think he is getting there. Regular twice weekly sessions seem to have made the positive difference in attitude.

~ Pressure? Yes, as he is still in the beginning stages of learning I feel a pressure to take him more often when I see him regressing as a result of not getting the opportunity to swim regularly (1 - 2 times a week).

~ Multiples? Crazy idea perhaps, but I would have gone swimming over the last 3 years on a regular basis if there had been some sort of swim-buddy system at the pool. I constantly find having twins hugely restrictive with everyone being so busy and needing to check their calendar so much hmm

cherryjellow Mon 05-Nov-12 07:43:35

~ 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 its really important to learn how to swim, it can belifesaving at times. I think get them used to water as soon as they are ready, and then when ever they are ready to start learning start. each childs different.

~ 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 its the parents responsibility, to make sure they are gettng lessons fom somewhereno matter where.

~ 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 childs too young

~ 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?

DC loves the water,we try and go every month

~ 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, but I enjoy doing it

Chopstheduck Mon 05-Nov-12 07:52:17

~ 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, for life saving purposes. I think it's best to start them as young as possible.

~ 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 parents. My children do get swimming lessons at school,but twice a week for half of the summer term doesn't really do much for them!

~ 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 taught two of mine to swim. The older two learned at school, but lessons here don't start until year 3. The twins are more sporty and were ready to actually swim earlier, and they can both swim now. It has worked to a degree, because they one can swim 10m, the other 25m, but their strokes are appalling. Though at least if they do fall/jump in the deep end while at a water park, I know they aren't going to drown - something that has happened with all the kids at least once!

I do think it is a difficult thing to teach. I do struggle with getting them to improve their strokes, but hope the school will work on that with them, or I will maybe take them for a short swimming course to help with that aspect.

~ 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?

The twins loved learning. It was never frustrating teaching them. Though it was rather embarrassing once, when the lifeguard dived in to 'rescue' dt2 who in the early days, did look more like he was drowning rather than swimming! ds1 struggled because he has sn, and even extra swimming lessons didn't help him, and it was a bit frustrating seeing him struggle.

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

Only pressure from the kids, who would love to go more. It's a shame that it is so expensive and the government cut the free sessions for children. Before those were axed we did go a lot more regularly.

RarelyUnreasonable Mon 05-Nov-12 09:41:30

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 fun, good exercise and potentially a life-saving skill. DD started at about 12 weeks old - she's nearly two now and loves water. She is confident and happy at the seaside/in the pool (obviously with supervision!).

~ 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 ultimately. Schools should offer lessons too (government funded).

~ 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?

Fine at the moment as she's a baby. I'm not a great swimmer, so as she gets older, I imagine school or swimming clubs will take over.

~ 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 so far at baby/toddler swim groups - lots of songs and games help.

~ 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.

TamasinR Mon 05-Nov-12 09:41:59

i think it is vital and fun to learn to swim, my little girl is 2 in january and is happy in armbands and getting the hang of breathing and kicking. We started going to the pool at about 5 months and lessons at about 8 months. We both really enjoy it, she goes twice a week at the moment and it is great for getting her to sleep.
Parents have to take the lead as it's much easier to start before they get scared. i think parents should be able to take children to the pool for free at least to try it as i know a lot of the lessons are quite expensive. However our teachers are great and very reasonable and i really appreciate their guidance for her and for me.

aristocat Mon 05-Nov-12 10:29:02

~ 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, swimming is very important, it could help save their (or someone elses) life. Mine have been swimming with me from an early age - they were only about 6mo old to start with and obviously were only splashing about at first. The most important aspect is getting them used to the water and not to be scared.

~ 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 responsibilty is everyones. In the first instance it is our job as parents to help them swim but then I dont think any child should leave junior school without being able to swim a little.

~ 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 very good swimmer but when I tried to teach my children it didnt go so well. My DH and I tried for about a year and then gave in and booked swimming lessons at the pool. I was confident enough to teach them but they were about 4 and 2yo at the time and didnt really take it all in. Perhaps if I would have waited until they were older we would have done better. Anyhow they are still having lessons and are now 10 and 8yo and are excellent swimmers. We do swim together once a week and they have their swimming lessons once a week too. Obviously when on holiday we swim much more. It is a super feeling to be able to swim lengths with your DCs smile

~ 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 they like swimming very much. It can be frustrating when learning but improving their technique takes time and patience.

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

Me, I swim 4 times a week and my DCs swim twice a week. I think this is about right for their age group. It is such an important life skill and one the whole family can enjoy together.

stealthsquiggle Mon 05-Nov-12 10:40:03

~ 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, definitely - it is a life skill that every child should have. I think baby swimming is a lovely thing to do with your baby if you can, but doubt somehow that it makes much difference to swimming ability in later life. About 3 or 4 seems the right sort of age for actually learning to swim, rather than jsut enjoying 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?

Confession time. My DC have both learned to swim entirely at school. However, they are lucky enough to have a pool at school and swim without fail once a week. I don't think it is practical to put the main responsibility on schools when many struggle to find the time and resources to take DC swimming - so the main responsibility must sit with parents, with a government responsibility to support access to pools for parents, children and schools.

~ 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 try not to be too involved in teaching my children as it tends to end in shouting matches. They have learned at school, with no involvement from me beyond making sure they have their swimming kit at school.

~ 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 have both enjoyed it, to date. DS is a very confident (but not very fast) swimmer, and when he tried diving the instructor commented on how much "at home" he was in the water. DD has confidence beyond her abilities at the moment, but I hope am sure that will change.

~ 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, DC would like to go swimming "just for fun" more often, but that pressure gets largely applied to DH. When on holiday, they would both quite happily spend the entire day in the water given the chance.

SpringSunshine Mon 05-Nov-12 11:52:37

~ 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?
Absolutely essential for children to learn to swim - it is excell;ent exercise and could save thier life or that of a potential rescuer. They should start as young as possible - 4 months 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?
PArents need to take responsibility with assistance from local council schemes running 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?
Both my children learnt to swim thro a combination of me teaching them and lessons at the local pool. I am a competent swimmer and have trained my daughter in stroke technique. My husband cannot swim and could not accompany the children so he was definitley 'out of his depth'! My teaching certainly works - my daughter and I love swimming together and she is better than me now! My son has issues with glue ear so is less able but still loves to play around in the pool

~ 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 children both love the water, the only tension was if I couldn't take them any time!

~ 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 - now my daughter no longer swims at school we should go more often but there is limited time with her other activities. The pressure most definitely comes from her!

Kingcyrolophosarus Mon 05-Nov-12 13:12:33

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,I think it's important, and I think that if you start them as early as possible, it helps with their confidence in the water. But I don't believe that taking them to baby classes will make them a better swimmer eventually

~ Who do you think should take the main responsibility for teaching children to swim?

Swimming at school would be fab, but I don't think there is any money for that. Parents can encourage, but swimming teachers have the knowledge and the experience so I am happy to leave it to them.

~ If you have a child who has learnt or is learning to swim, have you been helping to teach them?

I have encouraged DS to swim, but really, he just wants to play when we are in the water together.

~ Does/did your child enjoy learning to swim?

It caused a lot of frustration with group lessons, because he has a very short attention span and really didn't get enough to do. But he has been thriving with individual lessons, and he absolutely loves the water
I find the whole thing fraught with tension, getting there on time, getting him changed, making sure he didn't jump in the pool before he could swim, but that's just my son!!

~ Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often?

No, but he has been regularly

bubby64 Mon 05-Nov-12 13:33:22

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?
It is very important for children to learn to swim, and they should be started as young as possible, so they are not scared of water and able to use their natural abilities

~ 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 initially, and then by taking them to special classes with a swimming instructor and also for "fun" swimming

~ 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?
Although I was capable teaching my children to swim, having premature twins, I felt I needed support from an expert as well, also, they tended to listen better when taught by someone other than their mum!

~ 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 boys LOVE swimming, and they have never not wanted to go.

~ 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! and the pressure comes from the children themselves- they are now beyond ordinary swimming lessons, and the advanced ones were really beyond my budget, but the boys continue to want to go swimming every week, luckily, they are now of an age where I can drop them off at the local pool and collect later, but, unfortunatly, they have to rely on me having use of the car to do so. If they could walk it, or if we had reliable public transport in our village, they would go even more often.

Cambam2010 Mon 05-Nov-12 14:28:36

1) It is very important to encourage children to swim. Children need to be confident and secure around water. It can save their lives. My son started swimming lessons through the Waterbabies programme when he was 6 months old. He can't properly swim yet (2.5 years) but he loves going swimming, can pull himself out of the water and has such confidence and enjoyment through it. It is also a great form of exercise.
2) It is a parents resposibility to arrange for the child to swim. It shouldn't necessarily be the parent that teaches them but it should be the parent that instigates the idea of swimming. Govt funded programmes would be great for those families on low incomes.
3) I have been taking my son to the local swimming pool in addition to his lessons. This enables him to have a seperate fun session in addition to his fun but structured lesson. This has increased his love of water and also increased his confidence. Due to his age this mostly consists of fun splashing about but it also helps with his bouyancy and the busyness of local pools also gives a different feel to the water, creating currents that he would not experience during his lesson.
4) My son loves swimming. He would be in theater every day if he could. I imagine that as his lessons get more structured and he is expected to do more swimming then playing that he might get a bit frustrated
5) I do feel under pressure to take him swimming more often but as a aorking single mum it often falls to the weekends which are often full of other jobs that need doing. We do try to go once a week in addition to his weekly 30 minute lesson. I think the pressure comes from me. I want him to do fun stuff and as I know he likes swimming I do try to take him often.

JoulesM Mon 05-Nov-12 14:40:25

Swimming is one of the most important safety skills we can teach our children!!! My 2 yr old has been doing lessons since she was 6 wks old (and was in the water at 4wks with us). Our new baby will start lessons at 6 wks as well and was in the pool on Sunday (5wks old).

We swim (either a formal lesson or at the pool with us) at least once per week, two if we can manage. I think it is parents responsibility to encourage their children but think this is often best fine through a combo of formal lessons and parent swimming with them. Children are often better at learning to swim in a proper lesson setting.

I'm an Aussie and have been able to swim since i was v. young and swam competitively. It's a great way to keep fit and is also SO important to stay safe at beaches, pools etc!!

I should stop now as I'm ranting about swimming (can you tell I LOVE swimming!!!)

NorbertDentressangle Mon 05-Nov-12 14:46:37

It is absolutely vital to teach children to swim as early as possible.

I feel that swimming lessons should be compulsory from an earlier age at school and more frequent (at my DCs school for example they only have weekly lessons for one term in each of years 3-6 IIRC). However I appreciate that access to a pool is often difficult for schools

If it can't be fitted into the school timetable then lessons after school should be cheaper and more accessible to all.

There should also be an incentive to encourage parents to take children swimming -at the moment it would cost upto £15 at our local pool for 2 adults and 2 children

gazzalw Wed 07-Nov-12 10:26:11

I'm afraid to say with shame that we are one of those families with non-swimming children. I think the problem for us is that neither DW nor I are either strong swimmers or even like swimming. I know, I know....that should have made us swing the other way with our DCs.

DW did try to get DS into swimming as a toddler and paid for lessons but he was not at all keen and frankly the battle of the wills wore her down on this subject....as that old expression goes "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" - and such was the scenario with our son. I think that by the time DD was a similar age she just had such bad memories that it put her off taking her...

The other thing is that we are really not well situated for swimming pools which are convenient to us and as we don't have a car it's always been a bit of a pain even considering after school lessons etc.... If we'd had one on our doorstep it would probably be different.

DS's secondary school is lucky enough to have its own swimming pool and we did feel a bit sorry for him when he reported back that he was the only one unable to swim properly. I guess we might just have to steel ourselves and go on family swims....

I think the problem for us is that we are of an age when we were all properly taught to swim at school and there wasn't the same expectation for parents to have to fund swimming lessons. DS has literally half a term's worth of swimming lessons at primary school. Thankfully this has now been reviewed and remedied and it seems likely that twixt Years 3/4 DD will get the equivalent of year's worth of swimming tuition which will I hope stand her in good stead....

Buries his head in shame blush

shriekingnora Wed 07-Nov-12 10:42:55

~ 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 do think it is important that children can swim well for both reasons of safety and self confidence. I think they should be encouraged to be confident and safe around water from when they are babies.

~ 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 these, really.

~ 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 helped DC1 and 2 learn but I used to teach swimming in a school so have some idea of what to do.

~ 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?
DC1 has loved it DC2 has become frustrated through lack of progress but it seems to have clicked recently and he is much happier. The only tension it caused was him saying he didn;t want to go to his lesson and me saying gvie it one more try. He's always absolutely fine when he is there.

~ 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. The pressure invariably comes from the children.

amck5700 Wed 07-Nov-12 10:52:39

Just a note on cost too - a few people have mentioned this as a barrier and whilst i'd love it to be cheaper, swimming is still actually a reasonably priced family activity - there can't be that many things that a family can do for an morning/afternoon that cost less than £15 in most cases. I know £15 can be a lot for people but it is easy to spend that on rubbish.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 07-Nov-12 11:38:32

~ 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 vital children should be able to swim. You never know when it may save their life (or they might be able to help save someone else's). It also opens up a number of other activities to them for which they need to be able to swim - sailing, surfing, windsurfing, waterskiing and many others. I love swimming so have been taking DD since she was a few months old, initially to classes and now just as and when we can fit it in. At the age of 2.11, she is a complete waterbaby and happy to go underwater. We are trying to work on the kicking and moving her arms and soon might think about proper lessons again.

~ 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 combination. Hopefully parents will take the lead, but not everyone is water confident or likes swimming, so it would be useful for schools to get involved where there are resources and facilities available to make sure children don't slip through the net.

~ 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 keen but ungainly swimmer so DH and I are trying to give DD the basics - getting her to kick and use her arms and swim to an hold onto the side of the pool. I hope we can get her started but we will get her lessons to learn the strokes properly.

~ 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?

It is early days for us with respect to actual swimming, but in terms of water confidence, DD loves it and we love taking her. Getting her to leave the pool is usually the problem.

~ 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 actual pressure, no, although I would like to take her more often than I do (every couple of weeks at the moment roughly, unless we are on holiday). Ideally, I would like to take her weekly.

MummyPigsFatTummy Wed 07-Nov-12 11:40:08

Oh, and in terms of the right age to start them off, I don't think you can start too early. If they are used to being in the water as babies, they are more likely to be confident.

cornflakegirl Wed 07-Nov-12 12:22:41

Both my boys have gone swimming from very early. DS1 has lessons because although DH could teach him, he learns better from an outside person. DS2 will have lessons when he is 4. DS1 will have swimming lessons at school when he reaches Y4, but I don't really expect them to achieve much - happy for it to be fun and exercise for him, and useful for those children who haven't already had the opportunity to learn to swim. I'm not really sure that it should be part of the school curriculum - it's a good thing, but the school timetable is so crammed.

Both boys love swimming. We don't go as often as they'd like, for a multitude of reasons. When we do go, DS1 likes diving for rings with DH, while I try to keep DS2 out the deep end (he wears a float jacket so is quite independent).
DS1 also likes racing me or DH doing lengths - he can't beat me yet, but my technique is fairly rubbish, so it probably won't be that long. I've tried teaching DS1 to dive, but I'm not great at diving or teaching, so it hasn't been very successful.

BerryLellow Wed 07-Nov-12 14:46:22

amck5700, that's partly true, but actually, not all families have £60 a month in the budget for swimming. Plus, when the water is cold, or sessions are running, then that morning's entertainment is only an hour.

amck5700 Wed 07-Nov-12 14:56:10

Berry, they don't have to go every week, even once a month would make a lot of difference - most pools allow under 5s for free and even if you are only spending an hour in the pool - when you go swimming with young kids that can still takea whole morning grin

You could take a flask of hot chocolate for an after swim treat so you don't spend anything else.

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. Not only is it an enjoyable leisure activity (for most), it's potentially a life survival skill. Even if DD hated swimming I'd teach her how to float and get to the edge.
I was swimming in the sea with DD1 from about 3 months & took her to baby lessons (waste of time really - didn't do this for DD2) and have been taking her to the pool properly since about 18 months. She still can't swim properly but is getting more and more confident.

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?
Probably a combination, though ultimately it's down to the parents. I had swimming lessons at school (in NZ) though I don't think that happens here (central London)? I also recall my Dad teaching me & going to swimming club.
Lessons are expensive - it would be great if they were subsidised or even free. It's an important life skill.

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'm teaching DD1 slowly - she needed to build her confidence. Think she would make better progress in a class, but they are very expensive - £125 or more for a term.
I think my teaching is working, but she would pay better attention to a teacher in class than me. But we are getting there. I don't feel out of my depth, but I am just making it up and being very patient.

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?
She loves it, I love it though I am jealous that I don't get a proper swim while we are at the pool.

Do you ever feel under any pressure to take your child(ren) swimming more often? If so, who/where does the pressure come from?
From DD - she would love to go every week at least once. It's just a matter of finding the time.

* If they are used to being in the water as babies, they are more likely to be confident.*

I thought this too - until DD1 proved me wrong. She was swimming and loving water from 3 months. From 3-5 months she "swam" most days. Then we did 'baby swimming lessons'. She still can't swim at nearly 5 & about age 2.5 became very timid in water. We've moved on from there but she still won't take water wings off unless her feet are on the floor. Still there are improvements with every visit to the pool.

DP rarely comes swimming with us - he finds it way too cold.

lljkk Wed 07-Nov-12 17:07:40

Under 5s for free shock!? Where?!

Costs £7 to take me + 4yo DS. > £4 for me alone. As if I get any swimming done while supervising him. hmm

I had similar with DD, HipHop. Several times a month swimming from 5 months old. Very confident clinging to us or with a floatie in her hands. Utterly terrified to get her face wet or to take her feet off the bottom without a flotation aid until she was nearly 6yo. Cried hysterically thru her first lot of swim lessons.

Swims like a fish now (11yo, Level 8). Best swimmer of the lot.

amck5700 Wed 07-Nov-12 17:16:29

lljkk - Stirling sports village - pre school under 5s free - family swim 12 pound, Uni pool family swim 10.90 but pay for 4 and over - Sessions don't apply unless the pool are doing a fun session and then they sometimes limit time if it's busy to let everyone get a turn of the inflatables.

Grangemouth is only 8 pound for a family swim but not sure what age a juvenile is - would assume over 5

WeAllHaveWings Wed 07-Nov-12 17:50:50

~ 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. They should be encouraged to be confident in the water as early as possible, but actual swimming lessons should be left until they are more able, say around 5-6yrs depending the child. When watching ds's lessons I have noticed children younger than this take a long time to progress, can be in group lessons for years so get demotived with the lack of progress. They also tend to drop out before they reach the higher badges.

~ 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 parents are responsible to ensure the child gets the right teaching that suits them. For my ds it was a mixture of 1-2-1 and group 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?
I couldnt teach my ds to swim as I can't myself. I have watched every lesson he has went to and discussed them with him and followed up with parts he was struggling with by looking on youtube or internet for videos to watch which he found useful.

~ 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 loves the lessons. Wouldnt have enjoyed so much with me as he can be quite stubborn with his mum sometimes!!!!!!

~ 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, he goes at least once a week for a lesson and is in for 30 minutes beforehand just playing around himself or with his other classmates who arrive early. He is now very confident in the water and especially enjoys the deep end of the pool.

sausagesandwich34 Wed 07-Nov-12 18:00:03

~ 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?
it's vital that they learn to swim, could be a lifesaver one day

~ 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?
it should be a combiation -school swimming lessons are fairly pointless starting at 8 as a fear of water has developed in some, and some will have been having formal swimming lessons for 4 yrs+ so just put the distance in
however swimming lessons should be made easier to access and more affordable -our council runs a system where children that have been in the system since babyhood are prioritised for school age classes -this benefits the SAHMs who have the time to take their babies to classes but penalises working parents as all the baby classes are during the week. Once existing children have been enrolled, enrollment is open t everyone else for 1 day only and you go and queue -people go 4 hours early to get to the front of the queue and again this is in the daytime on a weekday
once you get your child into lessons, the latest after school lesson is at 4.45, again impossible for working parents, so you are left with saturdays where places rarely come up
getting my children into formal lessons was a nightmare!

~ 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 children want to play when I take them so do not listen to instructions (but we do races and floating)

~ 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 get frustrated as the pool is split into 5 sections (25m pool) with 10 children in each group, they get very little swimming time and are often bumping into each other

~ 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 children love to go but pool opening times are fairly restrictive

BerryLellow Wed 07-Nov-12 18:23:57

All the pools around here start charging child rate at 3yrs (Cornwall)

I know you don't have to go every week, but it's the consistency of it being a regular thing is what helps very young children with their water confidence, which is why I think that the cost is prohibitive to learning to swim.

Our local leisure centre allows you to set up a swim membership on a monthly direct debit, but that's quite a tie. Great for me, I adore swimming, but it wouldn't encourage more reluctant parents in.

smile

amck5700 Wed 07-Nov-12 21:38:15

I pay our swimming lessons by Direct Debit - 12.40 a month each child for a 1 a week 40 minute lesson - each lesson is over 4 pound so I guess they even out the cost on the months when they don't have 4 - and you don't pay for a couple of months in the holidays when there are no lessons either.

TeaTeaLotsOfTea Wed 07-Nov-12 22:01:25

I live in the east riding of yorkshire and the standard of school swimming lessons here is diabolical.

The children only have 10 weeks of lessons per year and the standard of lessons is just poor.

It is so bad that I pay nearly £20 per week for my son to have one to one lessons. He has just been signed off grade 6 swimming.

The school swimming teacher asks them all to use floats, hold on to the side. Now I understand that the range of childrens ability is all different but she should be able to separate the children into ability groups surely.

My son hates swimming with school but loves his strict disciplined one to one lessons.

Things really have to improve for future generations.

lorisparkle Wed 07-Nov-12 22:29:28

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 really important to encourage children to learn to swim. Not sure when is a good 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?

More funding for schools to take children to swimming lessons would be good.

~ 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 currently can't afford swimming lessons but take children occasionally to build their confidence.

~ 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?

N/A

~ 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 put pressure on myself to take children swimming more often and to pay for swimming lessons but with little money and time it is difficult

I do think it is a GOOD thing to encourage children to learn to swim, but I am not convinced it is an ESSENTIAL skill for everyone. In particular I am not entirely convinced that everyone needs to be able to swim "to protect them against drowning", as especially with small children, I wonder whether thinking they can swim might actually make them more likely to get themselves into dangerous situations. (I especially wonder this about some of the baby-swimming classes where they are encouraged to just jump into the water - not great if they decided to do this when no adult is around, and maybe in a more dangerous situation...) I also have the impression that in a lot of drowning or near-drowning situations, being able to swim a little (in swimwear in a heated pool) doesn't necessarily help much - as a real-life situation is likely to involve other factors such as strong currents, waves or rocks, clothing and shoes, freezing water or ice, or obstructions like weeds in the water. I would be interested in seeing some figures on the number of "swimmers" vs. non-swimmers who actually drown.

On the other hand I do think it is a good skill to have in other respects, great for keeping fit and having fun with friends, and there are certainly some scenarios where it is useful and may help keep you safe.

We took DS to baby swimming sessions for a while, but he hated having to go underwater and got more and more agitated as they went on, so we stopped. Now we just go occasionally as a family and he is quite happy to splash around with armbands and can do a passable doggypaddle like that. We'll probably think about lessons again sometime when he's a little older. But until he's old enough to swim independently without the armbands (from the physical point of view) I don't see any rush.

DD on the other hand is a little waterbaby and I think would have loved baby swimming, but couldn't go due to the practical issues of having two! But maybe in future we'll manage to do something with them both together, and I'm sure she would love that.

piglettsmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 04:16:15

I took my daughter to the swimming baths from the age of 3 weeks. As a small child I was terrified of even having water splashed in my face and I knew from the start I didn't want this to happen to my daughter and whenever she had a bath at home I would gentl splash water in her face to get her used to it. When I took her swimming I used a baby swim seat until she could float with armbands but i always took her out and let her have time in the water with just me holding Onto her. She's now two and loves it. She uses armbands and wherever I can I encourage her to float in the water without me holding on to her ( obviously being only inches away) I once took her into water where she cd only
Just touch the floor and was astounded to see that her natural instinct was to doggy paddle and she can now do this rather well I encourage her by being just an inch out of arms reach, as she moves towards em I step back and that's how we do it!smile I honestly thought it wouldn't work but it does and it's so easy! There are also slides for toddlers plotted around the pool on in particular is in the bigger pool where she cannot touch the floor. I really try and encourage her to use it as I don't want her to be afraid of swimming just because theres nothing underneath her feet. I pop her on the side and let her get on an slide down it on her own ( it is only a lil baby slide and I can see her all the time) also I don't catch her get before she dips under, but make sure I'm there when she surfaces. Then like usual she doggy paddles over to me with big smile!! I often get disgusted looks from
Other parents often because I'm
Not clinging onto my child like them. But I want her to be very independent in the water and believe she will learn better this way! She always has her armbands on and I am always in reaching distance to her!! Not afraid to let her explore what she might be able
To do, so rather than use baby swim classes or follow a certain regime I just pop her floats on put her in the water and see what she does!! Children really are amazing and I think it won't be long before she's fully established how to swim with armbands on! grin

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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