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Swimming lessons - I'm going to look like a pushy Mum if I say something, aren't I?

(48 Posts)
Wallace Thu 19-May-11 21:25:11

Ds2 started to swim by himself when had just turned 3. Not knowing what to do next with him i started taking him to parent & toddler swimming lessons. These turned out to be mainly water confidence classes but we carried on going mostly because being in the parent & toddler classes means that when your child is old enough to go into the learn to swim scheme they don't go on the waiting list.

Now ds2 is 4.5 and on a good day can swim 15 metres and is just starting to learn proper front crawl arms etc - we go swimming for fun once a week and if he wants to I try to teach him stuff.

I was delighted to be told that he was allowed to start the learn to swim scheme slightly early. He was put in a level one class and at the first lesson was the only one swimming without a woggle/noodley thingy.

The swimming teacher said after that first lesson that they would give him a couple of weeks to settle in then move him up to a more appropriate level.

At the second lesson he was using a noodle (he told me they were all told to take one) and he was doing stuff he has been able to do for more than a year without any floats etc.

I emailed the teacher just to say that when she moves him up a class it is ok if it is not on the same day. She emailed back to say that he will just stay in the same class for now.

I am a bit hmm at him spending yet another term being encouraged to blow bubbles the water and bob up and down to get his face wet... I was looking forward to him starting to learn the strokes properly which is what he needs.

I can't say anything though, can I? Because then i will be one of THOSE mothers who insist that their child is soooo much better than the others even though he is

Pkam Thu 19-May-11 21:36:29

I was pushy. DD (4.8) is a fish and always has been. This meant she was in a class with children at least 2 years older than her. This was fine for her swimming ability but not for her mental ability. Not helped by the fact that she's big for her age so looked the same age as the rest of the group and got treated as such. Cue her not improving as just not understanding the instructions from the teacher. She can swim 25m in three recognisable strokes (when she wants to), dive in beautifully and swim down to the bottom in a 1.8m pool. But actually, at 4, what she wants to do is hang about under the water playing games and pretending to be a mermaid. I need a lesson that will let her do that and teach her at the same time hmm. I took her out of lessons in the end and am still looking for alternatives - I think I'll need to go private and spend a fortune to get a lesson that will cater for her being 'different'.

Moral of this is - be careful what you wish for! Not that I'd have done anything differently.....

Ismeyes Thu 19-May-11 21:36:57

I would pay for 1:1 lessons if that is possible. I don't think they learn much in classes at this age anyway, lots of waiting around.

dixiechick1975 Thu 19-May-11 21:44:08

Look for a small private swim school so he can be assessed and go in an appropriate class.

DD's class of 4 and 5 year olds (reception age) are all swimming no armbands learning backstroke breaststroke etc. They have been swimming since age 3 - only 3 or 4 in the class, makes a big difference.

Wallace Thu 19-May-11 21:49:52

Wow pkam your dd is a good swimmer! i think most of ds's class are 5/6 maybe even 7. I know what you mean about the lessons.

Can't afford to pay for 1:1 lessons unfortunately. I could pay for other smaller group lessons but the ones he does at the moment are free if you pay for and all inclusive membership of the council's scheme for entry into leisure centres.

I think my other choice is to just put up with it and do more with him when we go swimming. But mostly he just wants to have fun.

pleasenap Thu 19-May-11 21:54:54

My Ds has 1:1 lessons and they're only marginally more expensive than a group lesson - £6 per lesson - that's in with other kids having lessons but he is having 1:1 tuition.

dixiechick1975 Thu 19-May-11 21:58:27

Do they offer crash courses in the school holidays i.e one lesson a day?

Our local council run pools offer this.

Tend to be smaller groups and assessed to go in the correct group. At the end of the week they do a certificate if appropriate.

25goingon95 Thu 19-May-11 21:59:33

We have the same problem!! DD age 5 needs to be practicing swimming in the deep pool, she is able to do that with us without armbands just needs more practice. This is her second term on level one messing around in baby pool blowing bubbles and walking from one side of the pool to the other!! hmm Very annoying!! A few of the other parents are getting annoyed now too.

DD gets excited every week about going into the deep pool to actually swim on her lessons and then spends the 30 minutes jumping up and down in thevery shallow water or something equally as pointless......

Eeek Thu 19-May-11 22:01:45

Push - they should be assessing ability not just looking at age.

However the older class might be in a deeper pool (is at ours) and that can disadvantage the young dolphins who can't stand to rest. It's also colder and some find it scary and it puts them off. If that isn't the case with you I would make a fuss to get yours into the right class for ability.

Wallace Thu 19-May-11 22:06:54

I am quite relieved at the response - I thought I was going to get heaps of people telling me just to chill out and stop being pushy grin

I have formulated a plan of action: I will speak to a friend who has a ds that goes to the local private lessons and find out what they do and how much they cost.

If they are too expensive or just more of the same I will just carry on as we are trying to do stuff with ds when we go swimming (as well as having lots of fun being baddies and goodies on the big floats grin)

I will keep him at his lessons as well in the hope he will get moved up for next term. And good suggestion about the intensive lessons in the hols. They do, and they are also free with the all-inclusive scheme.


Inertia Thu 19-May-11 22:13:22

I think Pkam is right. DD2 (4.6) is similar- extremely confident, swims 25m+ using correct strokes, happily dives to the bottom- but though she could probably swim with older children, she doesn't have the maturity to cope, she needs short simple instructions, and she needs to either be in a small group, or in a group where there are 2 teachers. And she loves to have 5 minutes of playtime at the end of the lesson.

(BTW I can claim no credit for her swimming- she's had 2 fab teachers in our local pre-schooler swim lessons. And incidentally, they still use woggles and floats for some activities, even with the children who've been confidently swimming for well over a year).

Now she's about to move to after-school lessons on a different scheme, I'm hoping they'll put her in a group with children her own age- bizarre as it sounds, swim skills are not the only important skills for children to develop in a swimming lesson. She needs to learn to listen and watch in a group situation, follow instructions, and develop a sense of water safety.

If I were you I'd be tempted to let the swimming teacher make the call on this- let your DS settle in at his own pace, and let him move up when he's totally confident in all aspects of that swim level. His swimming won't suffer- and he'll enjoy having fun smile

Timbachick Thu 19-May-11 22:46:22

Hi Wallace. To be blunt, no you won't be pushy. You are assessing your child's needs and finding the current situation to be lacking ... nothing wrong with that.

I would look at private 1:1 lessons or small group lessons. The crash courses are a good idea.

Don't know where you are situated but I know a good swim school that runs classes around North London.

My DS started at 5months with Aqua Tots - no floatation toys, submersion etc. He loved it. Lots of happy smiley faces. He progressed quickly and completed all swim levels and then all his lifesaving courses by the age of 9/10. I do have my suspicions that he is part fish. He absolutely loves swimming, always has done and is now, at 10, swimming at Club level. However, his ability/talent/progression was nurtured at good swim schools which I made sure suited him. I was always making sure that he was being challenged but also having fun.

Don't be palmed off. There can sometimes be a little bit too much emphasis on making everybody equal and working at the same pace ... really, if your son has ability beyond the group and the teacher will not re-assess him then you need to look for another group.

Wallace Fri 20-May-11 21:19:20

Swimming lesson today went well smile

He wasn't using a noodle and only a float when needed. And he looked like he was doing what he was told and having fun.

I think I will leave him in these lessons and hope he goes up at the end of the term.

I am also planning to try to do more with him when we go swimming. Before he learnt to swim he was using a Swim Fin and I think it might be a good idea to start using it again sometimes to try to develop his technique a bit - so he can concentrate on the strokes rather than staying afloat. Does that sound like a good idea?

worraliberty Fri 20-May-11 21:25:32

I really wouldn't OP. Personally I would be concentrating on teaching him to swim without any aids (when he's ready)

You could tell him the floats are for fun and give him say 30 mins to play with them after he's done some proper swimming (or trying)

That way he gets to learn without and then to have fun (which is still part of learning) with them again.

lljkk Fri 20-May-11 21:30:21

No matter how well you think they swim, the teacher is looking for mastery of specific techniques -- & maturity. DS could swim independently but in a very cack way. Has been very slow to progress through the swim levels, because he has trouble with the listening and coordination. I am completely confident about him diving down 6' and swimming long lengths, but for a long time he always did all that whilst also giving the strong impression of failed drowning.

evolucy7 Fri 20-May-11 22:56:08

I have to say that I agree with those saying that everyone should not having to be fitting the norm for age and level. If you think he can do more say so and move him. I have found that children can very quickly 'fit in' with their class, when actually they could be doing more. My DD1 was 5 on Tuesday and currently swims in Stage 6 with no problems, as Timbachick said 'don't be palmed off'! I don't think it is helpful at all to be in a group below a child's level.

fairydoll Fri 20-May-11 23:16:00

You are not being pushy! You are paying for his lessons and you have every right to enquire about why they have decided that he should be in that group.

Wallace Sat 21-May-11 07:21:30

Thanks for the feedback. I will wait a term to see if he goes up. They probably are waiting to make sure that he will follow instructions etc - when I was watching yesterday they were supposed to be doing pencil jumps (which he can do) and he was taking the opportunity to "bomb" into the water blush

lljkk - my older ds is very like that. He is a strong swimmer with stamina but not very coordinated so his technique lets him down.

Out of interest I looked up to see what they cover for each level and he can easily do everything in levels one and two, and some of three. I was just remembering that when he was in the parent and toddler swimming classes one ofg the swimming teachers said that when he went up to the proper swimming classes he would be level three.

diddl Sat 21-May-11 10:01:00

Are you paying for these lessons?

If not & he is enjoying it I wouldn´t worry tbh.

Also, how strong is he compared to others in the next group?

Mine did a twelve week course one after the other.

They are almost 2yrs apart, but the difference in strength very noticeable.

Wallace Sat 21-May-11 10:58:04

Not really paying as they are free if you pay £23 a month for membership of the local council's leisure scheme.

Haven't seen the next group swimming. He is enjoying it though which is the main thing. I think it was the fact that the teacher said he would go up after a couple of weeks that bothered me most and that at the second lesson they had him using a noodle the whole time.

Wallace Sat 21-May-11 20:27:11

evolucy - missed your post. Level 6 at not yet 5 - wow!

bibiane Sat 21-May-11 22:46:15

Try a swimming club. They teach as well as coach. You get an assessment of your childs ability first before they are put into appropriate group.

Don't be scared of being labelled 'pushy' you might have a future Olympic swimmer in the making. There's nothing wrong in taking an interest in your childs talent.

AlmightyCitrus Sat 21-May-11 23:02:55

The floats and noodles aren't necessarily used just for non-swimmers/just learning. They are used when teaching technique. My 9 & 11 year old still use them in class when they are concentrating on certain aspects of leg work (or they hold the dumb-bell shape ones between their legs when improving arms.

I used to train in a pool alongside Olympic swimmers and they used floats sometimes (and got shouted at lots).

Swimming is a great lesson to learn. As long as he is enjoying himself he will still be learning.

CravingExcitement Sat 21-May-11 23:16:32

Can I second the suggestion of swimming club? I went to one when I was younger and can still swim so much better and faster than most people (I know that sounds big-headed, but it's true) He would also have the opportunity to compete if he wanted to.

foreverondiet Sat 21-May-11 23:28:33

I think probably ok to leave him in that class for the term on the proviso he goes up next term (and provided he's enjoying it). The next class will be older children and will be good for his confidence if he's done a term in the beginners. Go and watch the next class up though and see what they do.

Would be ok to push for him to be moved now, but I agree with what others have said in that the noodles are sometimes used by children who can swim for technique etc.

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