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to stop wasting money on swimming lessons because my DC are clearly NEVER going to learn to swim when they hate the lessons so much

(33 Posts)
wigglytuff Fri 16-Nov-12 19:49:11

DC are age 5 and 6. They started swimming lessons in august last year (2011) Progress was slow in the stage 1 (beginner) group but they were happy to go to the lessons and try all the moves. I was fine with this and they were enjoying themselves so i didn't mind paying out for the lessons.

After 6 months I had to change the day they had lessons on due to a change in my own timetable. This also meant they had a new teacher who (this may be important) actually taught them while in the water herself rather than stood by the side as previous teacher had done. All of a sudden both DC made rapid progress. they seemed to just 'get' what they needed to do and were moved up a level after 3 months.

This is when the problems started. The teacher from that lesson had no space in her level 2 group so they went on the waiting list and in the meantime were offered spaces in another (3rd) teacher's group. It wasn't at an ideal time or day for any of us but i accepted. The new teacher stood by the side of the pool and after a while DC started to lose interest in going to lessons. They also grew less confident in their abilities in the pool. I tried to reassure them and we stuck with the lessons as i thought it an important skill for DC to learn.

Eventually the got offered spaces on the 2nd teachers group 2 lessons. DC very excited about this. They start to make progress again but more importantly loved going to the lessons. But after just 3 weeks the teacher tells them she is leaving, she was only a maternity cover and the original teacher is coming back. Many tears about this and I again reassure them it will be ok and this teacher was also going to be in the pool.

It hasn't been ok though. On their second lesson with this teacher she made them jump in the deep (2 metre) end of the pool) DC were terrified and screaming but she still made them do it-twice! the following week they refused to go to the lesson. The week after i got them to go but DS spent half the lesson crying 'because he couldn't do it' Last week they didn't go because we had a party later in the evening and i thought it would be too much to do both. They didn't complain at all.

So this week's lesson (today) teacher isn't in the pool as she has a broken arm. DS spent the entire lesson crying and refusing to even try to swim. Teacher just said fine sit on the side then, which is what he did for the whole 30 mins. DD did try but she was quite obviously struggling and didnt seem to know what to do after 20 mins she was in tears as well. They both came out of the lesson saying they never want to go back.

AIBU to give in to them and just cancel the lessons? I am wasting (quite a lot of) money when they are not actually learning to swim. Or should I be forcing them to keep it up and keep my fingers crossed that the lessons will improve and DC will actually learn to swim one day?

nannyl Fri 16-Nov-12 19:52:33

i would look for another pool / lesson where their is a teacher in the pool with them.

maybe give it a short break and look for something that suits them after Christmas?

Bobyan Fri 16-Nov-12 19:56:41

Why don't you complain?

toofattorun Fri 16-Nov-12 19:57:28

Oh poor little mites. I hated swimming lessons - they used to push us into the diving pool. It has scarred me.
Are you able to speak to the teacher and explain the problem and ask her to suggest something? Maybe they can change the lesson a bit or they can go back and wait to see the teacher they liked at level 2.

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 16-Nov-12 19:58:57

Why don't you stop the lessons and take them yourself for a while. They would have fun in the pool with you instead of being in a lesson then summer holidays start it up again.

Anonymumous Fri 16-Nov-12 20:23:15

If they've just got a bit of a 'block' about jumping in at the deep end, can't you take them yourself and get them to practice jumping in, gradually getting deeper each time? It sounds like their confidence has been shattered - I wouldn't have thought that was an ideal time to stop the lessons really.

I'd also think about switching to a different pool if you can - somewhere they can make a fresh start. Hopefully they'll associate their miserable memories with the place rather than the activity!

wigglytuff Fri 16-Nov-12 20:27:11

If I stop the lessons then yes I would use the money to take them myself, as I used to regularly before they began having lessons. I can't swim myself though and I'm not terribly confident in the water. That is why I really wanted DC to learn especially as we live near a river/sea.

They can't go back to the teacher they liked as she left because she was just maternity cover. I did try to complain again tonight. I think the problem with the teacher being in/out of the water is that I don't think my DC understand just from verbal instructions what they are supposed to do. The teacher they liked was very hands on and would physically put their arms/legs where they need to be and they learnt it that way. I have twice ask for this to be passed on to the teachers but I don't see how they an do it now if not in the pool anyway. Also DD has recently been flagged up by school as possible having auditory processing problems so maybe she just can't hear the instruction when yelled across a noisy pool.

The outcome of complaining tonight was they have put their names down for yet another different teacher's (who does get in the pool) waiting list. I agreed to this, I wanted to just cancel there and then even though that day isn't possible for me anyway.

I personally feel its not worth the stress, money, unhappy DCs anymore sad

CMOTDibbler Fri 16-Nov-12 20:29:03

I'd stop the lessons, and just take them swimming to have fun.

eosmum Fri 16-Nov-12 20:30:49

I'd nearly ask about the teacher they liked and either find where she's teaching now, or ask her to do private lessons. It would probably work out well financially if they progress rapidly instead of paying for two or three terms at the same level they'd move up a couple of levels over a term.

discrete Fri 16-Nov-12 20:31:34

Is there any chance that you can ask for the teacher-they-liked's details at the pool and contact her to see if she can do private lessons?

It will be more expensive on a per-lesson basis, but if they progress more rapidly it could end up being cheaper for you.

discrete Fri 16-Nov-12 20:32:25

x-post with eosmum!

skateboarder Fri 16-Nov-12 20:34:54

Give them a break and ask around to get recomendations.
Perhaps take them to a fun swim centre and see them have fun. Dp/h or friend to help perhaps if you are a non swimmer.

Spatsky Fri 16-Nov-12 20:37:18

Its a tricky one. If it is scaring them this much then it's doing them no good but if you stop now, in their mind it will confirm that it is something scary and upsetting and won't help them overcome their fears.

Are a few 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 lessons remotely possible financially just to get their confidence back? I had simialr problems with group lessons and 121s have totally transformed the situstion.

Spatsky Fri 16-Nov-12 20:38:07

oops crossed posts with two others

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 16-Nov-12 20:38:33

Have a look on the swimming pools website for their splash sessions when they have all their floats out. One pool by me always has them out the other is only for set lessons. Does seem like dc really need to learn to have fun instead of instructions shouted at them.

Cahoots Fri 16-Nov-12 20:40:12

I would stop the lessons for a while and just take them to the pool for a mess about and to have fun. You can start lessons again later if needed. Some DC's manage o teach themselves. I am a strong swimmer and diver and have never had a lesson in my life.

I agree that DC's must learn to swim and it is the one activity I insisted my DC's do.

Kalisi Fri 16-Nov-12 20:46:54

It would be a no-brainer for me really. Ask them. If they don't want to go any more then so be it.

12ylnon Fri 16-Nov-12 22:57:57

I would look for a different swim school. Perhaps give it a rest for a term or two though. Thats what i did with DS and it made all the difference. Please don't let them stop altogether though, swimming is such an important skill.

Pixel Fri 16-Nov-12 23:04:05

I was going to suggest trying to get a few private lessons but someone already has. We had years of taking dd to lessons on and off, it never worked and in between we would take her ourselves and try to make it fun but she would be hysterical if she was so much as splashed. Then someone suggested private lessons and we had a wonderful woman. I couldn't believe it when she had dd swimming confidently including underwater within three lessons! I honestly never thought I'd see the day when dd would be jumping into the deep end for fun. Definitely money well-spent.

wigglytuff Fri 16-Nov-12 23:14:03

Its not the fear about jumping in- they jump in the shallow end fine. I think that may have caused them to stop trusting the teacher and believing she would keep them safe though.

I've been having a google to see what other lesson options are available. There's a few other pools locally, 2 of which state they do lessons but i will need to ring to find out for what ages/experience etc.

I can't find much info on 1 to 1 lessons anywhere. I think that might be a good compromise although it will depend on cost. Any idea of an average price per hour? I currently pay £40 per month for the lessons.

In the mean time I will try to increase the frequency I take them swimming just for fun. We usually manage about twice a month on top of the lessons and they always have a great time especially when they have the floaty stuff out on sunday afternoons.

alcofrolic Fri 16-Nov-12 23:14:09

Stop them. My ds hated swimming lessons SO much that all he did was hang on to the side for 15 minutes. He learnt how to swim with the school in Y5 (when he was ready) and, when he was 16, he became a lifeguard.

(P.S.I didn't learn from this. I sent him for driving lessons when he was 17. He didn't want to drive, and failed his theory test twice through sheer indifference. I will wait until he WANTS to drive and maybe sub him a few lessons!)

ivykaty44 Fri 16-Nov-12 23:22:19

I opted for private lessons where is was 4:1 and the teacher was in the pool, it was her own pool at her house.

After this dd went to a swimming club where they did lessons as they were a decent price - 3.40 per lesson and you only paid when they actually went - there was a short waiting list, she still swims 3-4 times per week but with a squad.

This was after council lessons for a year that were just hopeless and just a waste of money.

blanksquit Sat 17-Nov-12 00:16:30

Have a break then find another place with a good teacher. It's a long haul teaching them to swim I think (she says after 4 years and several hundred pounds). But it's an important skill to learn.

Atozandbackagain Sat 17-Nov-12 00:26:19

YABVU

Being able to swim is vital.

There was a Headmaster of a London Prep school many years ago (may have been Westminster) who said the first skill a child needed was to be able to swim.

This summer a local teenager drowned when he fell into the river - and hadn't learned how to swim.

I cannot imagine going through life being unable to swim. It's one of life's great pleasures.

myBOYSareBONKERS Sat 17-Nov-12 07:19:03

I would be concerned about the instructor having a broken arm - what would happen if a child got into difficulty.

What area of the country are you? I am in Northampton and can recommend an instructor

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