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AIBU to think swimming is a basic skill for children?

(86 Posts)
whistleahappytune Thu 07-Mar-13 10:02:59

A friend of mine has DD (8) who can't swim. I don't mean she can't swim well, I mean at all. AIBU to be a bit shocked by this? I always thought it was an essential skill to learn. I only learned this because I invited her DD to a sailing event for kids, and of course she can't go because they need to be able to swim. Her mum was very blah about it and said there was no time and her DD would learn when she was ready. Huh? This is a child who does every activity going - every day after school there's some club or something, plus at weekends.

Yes I do know it's none of my business and I should unhoick my judgypants. But what do MNers think?

chocoholic05 Thu 07-Mar-13 10:54:56

Is she scared of water?

Startail Thu 07-Mar-13 11:00:55

I'm guessing she doesn't swim and possibly has some bad memories of her own or her DH has.

Very difficult for the child, because at 8 pools drop their supervision rules and it's likely to be the default Birthday party.

I hired both our local pools as it's the cheapest way of entertaining the whole class and exact numbers don't matter.

fieldfare Thu 07-Mar-13 11:02:53

The ability to swim is such an important life skill to have! I don't understand people not taking their children swimming from tiny and at least teaching them the basics. It's fun, cheap, great exercise and an important thing to learn.

mmmuffins Thu 07-Mar-13 11:05:45

I think it is dangerous not to teach your children to swim. What if they fall in pool/pond/lake/river etc

bangwhizz Thu 07-Mar-13 11:06:03

It isn't cheap to swim here £4.50 per adult and £3.50 per child

diddl Thu 07-Mar-13 11:07:41

I would think that it's unusual, but really-meh!

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Mar-13 11:09:42

Children should all be able to swim IMO.

Plus when school swimming lessons start in Year 3/4 they don't want to be in the bottom group while everyone else is swimming lengths.

anotherbrewplease Thu 07-Mar-13 11:10:54

Maybe she has other children and they all do lots of activities and they can't afford the time/money to pay for swimming lessons.

YABU and a bit judgy. I say this as my 7 year old can't swim, and yes I'm blah about it, and yes we will get round to it. But no, it is not the END of the world as we know it! My older children are now proficient swimmers and do just fine. And learned when 6+

Is that ok??

lockets Thu 07-Mar-13 11:14:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flobbadobs Thu 07-Mar-13 11:15:31

Its great and useful if they can but some children just can't! DS has been going swimming since year 4 both at school and private lessons. He does other sport to town level but swimming is a blind spot for him. He had the floating ability of a brick if I'm being honest and no amount of swimming lessons up to now have been able to do anything about it. Group or 121, total failure.
Thank God he seems to have got a decent teacher at high school, he can now at least float and do a few strokes without an aid. Fortunately he has been getting support off his classmates too, they cheered him when he managed itgrin
It looks like DD1 is a little fish though and hopefully when DD2 starts going to the pool after Easter she will copy her sister's example!

GwendolineMaryLacey Thu 07-Mar-13 11:16:47

Depends. DD1 (5) can't swim. She'll start at school in a couple of months but we don't live near water anywhere at all, we don't come across many rivers and lakes. Her cousins have been having swimming lessons for years and don't seem especially proficient. Can't say it bothers me too much.

AMumInScotland Thu 07-Mar-13 11:19:13

I couldn't swim at 8. Somehow I survived to adulthood hmm

I agree it is a good skill to have, but it may be that she is scared of the water and her mother is deliberately keeping it low-key until she feels ready to have a try.

babybythesea Thu 07-Mar-13 11:26:28

Yes, I do think it's a basic life skill. I live near the sea though and the beach forms a big part of our life - I wonder how much that affects my point of view. Having said that, water is everywhere - lakes, rivers etc. Giving your kids the ability to help themselves, if only for a few seconds to give someone time to reach them, is vital.
My four year old fell into a swimming pool not long ago - we were there playing, she was on the side and I was in the water. I reached her in under five seconds but in that time she had not panicked, she'd kicked her way up to the surface and managed to turn herself round and get back to and hold on to the side. That's what the lessons have all been aiming for. I now feel happy that even if she falls in somewhere, she is confident enough in water to give herself a bit of extra time for someone to get to her.
And not being able to swim does kind of cut you out of any parties or other fun stuff that goes on around water - swimming, rowing, canoeing - might be a birthday party, might be something that is organised with guide camp or similar.
I think it's the fact that it's a safety issue that migth make me judge - you can't keep them away from every body of water and you can't eliminate all risks. All you can do is equip them as best you can to be able to help themselves.

MerylStrop Thu 07-Mar-13 11:30:27

I love swimming

But not to be able to swim at 8 is no biggie

When we were kids we started swimming lessons aged 9 ish.

I refuse to take the DC to the half hour of weekly stress and hell for group lessons, which some of their friends go to -- and have appeared to be entirely ineffective--

whistleahappytune Thu 07-Mar-13 11:36:46

Anotherbrew, no other children and no, money isn't an issue, but time, yes. Glad your older DCs proficient now.

As a couple of posters have pointed out, it's a bit of a safety issue.
Is that ok?

whistleahappytune Thu 07-Mar-13 11:38:11

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't swimming part of the NC?

iismum Thu 07-Mar-13 11:39:40

To be honest, I think the safety thing is a bit of a myth. Of course if a child falls in water they are more likely to survive if they can swim. But statistically, children who are confident around water are much more likely to fall in and get themselves into trouble than children who can't - non-swimmers are generally very cautious around water, swimmers often have a very inflated sense of their own ability to cope (which is usually pretty minimal in cold, rough, outdoor water).

lockets Thu 07-Mar-13 11:42:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tanith Thu 07-Mar-13 11:49:57

My DS couldn't swim for years, despite lessons at school. He just couldn't do it.
It took a very patient teacher over a year of intensive lessons for him to get it and, even then, he's not a strong swimmer.

YABU and you're making a lot of assumptions.

ElvisIsKing Thu 07-Mar-13 11:51:31

Of course it's a good skill to have but what about those, like me, who worry whether the mortgage will be paid this month (and every month actually)? How do we afford these swimming lessons/trips to the swimming pool? Makes me very upset if I think about it too much as most of my DC's friends are having swimming lessons atm (DS is in yr 1)

Even if your friend can afford swimming lessons, yes it is a bit judgey on your part, she clearly doesn't think it's a life skill. Yabu

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Mar-13 11:55:55

Dd is 6 and still needs arm bands. She'll get to it. Ds has private swimming lessons but dd doesn't want to, I am not too worried.

FriendlyLadybird Thu 07-Mar-13 12:00:41

I agree that it's good to be able to swim. I wouldn't be shocked if a child could not swim at 8 though. My DS couldn't -- he can't float and didn't like putting his face in the water. It was only really about six months ago (when he was 10) that he got the hang of it. He swims like a fish now, although only freestyle.

Oh and the lessons we paid for were rubbish. And those that he did at school. It was my DH who taught him.

Sparklingbrook Thu 07-Mar-13 12:04:16

It's not really the safety thing although that's important. It was holidays at the seaside, holiday clubs that involve swimming, and in the last few years residential trips that include bell boating and swimming as part of the course. i didn't want not being able to swim meant they would miss out IYKWIM.

limitedperiodonly Thu 07-Mar-13 12:04:53

I think it is and like lots of things it's easier to learn when you're young because you're usually not scared or self-conscious.

Obviously I'm not judging anyone who can't afford it or whose child is actually scared.

DH grew up in a coastal town and they didn't have a swimming pool. Maybe the council thought you could learn in the sea. I'm a good swimmer and you wouldn't get me near the cold and the conger eels grin

When we go on holiday he loves going in the sea to cool off but one look at his panicked little face if he can't feel the bottom is really sad and I do keep a discreet eye on him from the beach.

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