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to let ds swim by himself?

(104 Posts)
whethergirl Sat 06-Apr-13 12:44:43

Ds, just turned 8, went swimming with his friend and friend's dad. I sat in the cafe, waving. Much of the time, the boys would separate and the dad & son would end up together, with ds playing with other kids.

There was a sign saying "children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult" which got me thinking, as I just presumed that you'd have to be older than that.

Anyway, time to leave the pool, with DS in tears, begging me if he can go again tomorrow.

I don't enjoy swimming. I have an enchanged forest down there that needs sorting out, and a spotty bum. I am really concious of my weight at the moment and on top of that, bloated with PMT. And I don't have a swimsuit. Only an attention grabbing pink polka dot bikini (and god knows where that is).

AIBU to take ds there tomorrow and sit out? He is not a particularly strong swimmer (has had a few terms of swimming lessons). He only plays in the shallow pool where there are fountains etc. and doesn't go in the deep end, he is not a daredevil, more cautious than necessary if anything. There are always plenty of lifeguards about there, blowing their whistles at the merest hint of breaking any rule. I would obviously also be watching from the cafe (which has quick access to the pool, should I need to do a pamela anderson). Having said that, I can lose sight of him as all wet kids look much alike.

pnin Fri 12-Apr-13 11:49:52

I let my three year old swim by herself sometimes if baby was napping in sling, but she's been a good swimmer for a year and we have a pool so I wouldn't get distracted by noise/others

whethergirl Fri 12-Apr-13 10:11:02

That's exactly it, dayshiftdoris, ds started off really enjoying the swimming but then it came to a point where it got to be quite hard/exhausting and ds is a bit feeble at times and I'm sure if he'd stuck with it he would have developed his strength and it would have been easier again. Don't think I explained that very well but you know what I mean.

dayshiftdoris Wed 10-Apr-13 23:01:41

As they get stronger the lessons get easier and the more he practices the stronger he gets.

1:1 is expensive... but if he needs less in the long run... might work out cheaper?

Worth checking out grin

Mine was being lazy in rookie lifeguard yesterday - 'couldnt' do 50m dressed but miraculously managed it today grin... instructors are well used to it!

whethergirl Tue 09-Apr-13 23:49:11

He does love the water dayshiftdoris but just didn't like it when he felt the swimming lessons were hard work. He just likes to have fun! So he'll do stuff like theatre club and art club with no problem at all, but has given up on stuff like martial arts when he's realised it can be hard work!

He used to like the swimming lessons a lot better at another place I used to take him (where a few of his school friends also go) but I had to stop because they were so much more expensive. But I'm going to look into it now.

Or perhaps an intensive 1:1 course with a personal tutor? Or that's probably silly money isn't it.

dayshiftdoris Tue 09-Apr-13 23:37:56

My son had got to ASA level 2 - failed 3 twice a couple of years ago before I took him out until July last year and now has passed 3 & 4, working on 5.

The problem with intensive courses is they have long gaps between them (holiday to holiday) where they can pick up bad habits, poor technique which then makes swimming harder.

If its been a couple of years since he did the weekly lessons then give them another try... as they go up the levels they do more swimming naturally because the group gets older and easier to manage IYSWIM. They managed themselves better too.

An intensive course might have 20 on it... depends on pool. If he goes with school there will be even more.

Your boy will get there as it sounds like he loves the water... thats the key to build on - mine certainly wouldnt do what he has done without loving it.

whethergirl Tue 09-Apr-13 22:24:28

dayshiftdoris that's good to hear. I was thinking today that instead of weekly lessons that he might get bored with halfway through the term, to give him a week or two week intensive and just insist he does it if he wants to go swimming regularly! I must admit, the lessons he had before were in a group of 12, so his actual swimming time was not that long.

dayshiftdoris Tue 09-Apr-13 20:34:04

Enticing to have lessons I meant!

dayshiftdoris Tue 09-Apr-13 20:33:47


Last June he had a similar ability to your DS... but being given plenty of opportunity and decent swimming lessons.... well its incredible grin

Try enticing him with the promise of trying diving or Rookie Lifeguard or Water Polo... anything he fancies

whethergirl Mon 08-Apr-13 23:55:18

Ooh thanks for that ChristmasJubilee, they're on sale for £6.99 + £3.99 delivery on Amazon!! Do you find it's got quite good tummy support? Will order one now, can't lose at that price. Swimsuits with short legs should be more available - why would anyone want to walk around with half their arse hanging out?

dayshiftdoris if my ds had swimming ability like your ds I'd be banking on him to rescue me!

MaidenDevon I came across that article for the first time a few weeks ago on MN, up until then I had no idea. I'm going to post it on my fb wall.

Wingdingdong I'm going to work on very subtly encouraging him to have lessons again, but won't overdo it because he is a stubborn little thing

Wingdingdong Mon 08-Apr-13 23:08:42

If I were you I'd take him a couple of times, make sure he has an amazing time, then ask him if he wants to try swimming lessons again so that he can go in on his own/with friends, without an adult. And then keep asking!

Sooner or later he's suddenly going to realise the benefits of being able to swim and will want to do it for himself.

Our local pool has one-on-one lessons during the school hols - speaking to a couple of parents over these past hols (whilst my 3yo DD was in the pool in a group session), their DC were all around Y5/6 age who'd missed out on lessons but who'd suddenly requested them as their friends were asking them along and they didn't like being 'behind'. Clearly peer pressure is the biggest motivator!

MaidenDevon Mon 08-Apr-13 22:50:17

When Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

Nice to hear you're going to take the plunge, OP, so to speak smile.

Please could I ask you all read this article if you haven't seen it elsewhere (or if it's already been posted in this thread somewhere?)

Shamefully I work and live very close to the sea and always assumed someone drowning would look like the typical Hollywood movie version (shouting, arm waving etc.). Very sobering.

dayshiftdoris Mon 08-Apr-13 21:58:19


According to this thread I should be going swimming with my 8yr old who can swim a 1000m, dive, has passed ASA level 5, uses the 3m dive board regularly and today started his rookie lifeguard...

My child can swim better than me in short... I am more likely to get into trouble than him in that respect... In fact on holiday he taught me how to do a handstand then forward in a scull (?)...

Do a sensible risk assessment alongside decent swimming lessons OP - if you are worried ask the pool. We're on first name terms with most of the lifeguards (who watch the pool like a hawk) and when he first started going in alone I discussed it with them... He had could only do 25m so he had restrictions on where he could go - 2 months later he did his 400m and was allowed in the deep end.

ChristmasJubilee Mon 08-Apr-13 21:27:00

Amazon do a very nice slazenger, boy leg swimsuit at a very reasonable price. I hane one and I luuuuuv it! Sorry, computer illiterate and can't link but google it.

whethergirl Mon 08-Apr-13 00:12:53

Thanks VerySmall, am browsing M&S swimwear as we speak!

VerySmallSqueak Sun 07-Apr-13 23:57:09

Listen to your instincts (which it sounds like you have) and don't then whether.

Personally I think you've made the right decision.

You may find once you've got a 'sensible' swimming costume and you've been a few times,you actually enjoy it!

whethergirl Sun 07-Apr-13 23:46:39

Oh my goodness reluctantmover just seen that video clip! shock.

I spoke to my friend about this today, she said that she was at a swimming pool with a friend and they were both in the pool, but chatting, and had stopped watching the kids for a few minutes. The friend of a friend's daughter was right behind them, starting to drown, luckily the dad spotted her and dived in.

DS had a bit of a scare today which got me thinking. For anyone that's been to the Diana Memorial Park, you'll know how safe it is. It's all fenced in, not huge, and there is a guard at the entrance; no-one without a child can go in, and no child without an adult can go out. I was sat in the same spot while ds went off and played, so that wasn't a problem, he knew where I was and would come back every 15 mins or so. However, later on, we took a walk around the park, and then he suggested that we went back to the original spot taking different paths, to see who got their first. Anyway, I thought he meant the original spot where I was sitting, he thought of the original spot where we had started our walk. When he wasn't at my original spot, (I was being deliberately slow so he could win) I thought I would stay there whilst keeping my eyes out for him as I knew he'd turn up there eventually as it was the main bit, and didn't want to miss him (also you have to pass this bit to get to the toilets/guard/exit). I waited for about 10 mins until he came running up to me, sobbing his heart out, because he thought he had got lost. TBH, I wasn't that worried at that point (have been far more worried at other times when he has been oblivious, at local park for example when he has been ran out of sight - behind a tree etc) considering the length of time and safety of the park. But the point was, for the first time in his life, he thought he was lost. It felt like an eternity to him. I actually thought he had got distracted by playing with another kids as so often happens at that park.

When I saw how upset he was, he just looked so little again, like a toddler. I never would have thought he would have panicked so much, especially as I have briefed him in what to do in these situations and he has talked about it so matter of factly. He couldn't think about it logically at the time (as in, oh mum must be looking for me, I'll find her soon as she is here somewhere, she's not going home without me!). He hugged me all the way home saying "I really thought I'd lost you mum" sad.

Anyway - apologies, I digress and think i needed to get that off my chest!. The point I'm trying to make, is that, underneath that smart sensible know-it-all with occasional teen attitude, is still my little baby boy. He still needs me to look after him as much as I can. I didn't feel so quite confident about letting him in the pool without me, after that.

seriouscakeeater Sun 07-Apr-13 23:07:48

I'm amazed that some posters actually think that if u know how to hold ur breath u will new ok shock no...ur deadly wrong!

seriouscakeeater Sun 07-Apr-13 23:05:41

Luegi dear lord that's the worst advice ever..

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Sun 07-Apr-13 23:02:56

Ha ha whether I saw that and assumed she meant your son should NOT to try and breathe when under water!

Lueji Sun 07-Apr-13 23:02:15

Holding and breathing out under water.
If he can control it he should be fine.

whethergirl Sun 07-Apr-13 23:00:10

The main point is that they should know how to breath under water
You mean holding your breath right? Or do you know something I don't?

We didn't actually go swimming today because a friend came into town for a few hours unexpectedly and went to spend some time with her.

However, had a chat with DS and asked him if he would prefer it if I got into the pool with him, he said yes. So am going to order a swimsuit and try my best. Also my mum said she would take him this week if she's recovered from her cold.

No seriouscakeeater this is a swimming pool in North London.

BTW extra measures would be taken when the wave machine came on, i.e. he would have to sit at the very shallow end.

Interesting though, I think pretty much so far all the ex/current life guards on this thread have been in favour.

exoticfruits Sun 07-Apr-13 22:46:31

Quite clearly OP your idea of your DS playing in the shallow area while you are a few yards away, within shouting distance, and visible, relaxing with a coffee are not on. He is going to run around the deep end and fall in, think he can swim and jump in or get out of his depth with the wave machine.
He is only safe if you shadow him and he is within arm's length the entire time!

Why not simply tell him exactly where he can go,and not go,and explain that if he breaks your rules you won't do it again? (If he is generally a reasonable, sensible child who does as he is told)

VerySmallSqueak Sun 07-Apr-13 11:21:15

Also can he tread water and /or float if he's tired?

VerySmallSqueak Sun 07-Apr-13 11:19:09

Now I have heard there is a wave machine that goes on I am less sure about letting him in alone.

I think you need to make your own assessment but I would let my 8 year old,(who can get herself from any point of the pool to the side and jump in the deep end unaided) in the pool alone so long as I could reach her immediately should the need arose.However,I have already assessed the risk and think it would be extremely unlikely that I would need to do this.

I would be happier to do this tbh than be in the pool with her,ploughing up and down lane swimming myself, as I would be focussing on my swimming and often have my face and ears in the water.

I think OP you need to ask yourself this:
If your DS suddenly for some reason became tired or had the heebie jeebies in the middle of the pool,could he either touch the bottom or get himself to the side without being traumatised by the whole incident? If not,I think you still need to go in with him.

seriouscakeeater Sun 07-Apr-13 10:59:01

exotic you would be surprised. I teach school swimming also 7-8 and every fresh term there is ALLWAYS a few boys that don't need bands/discs and are adamant that they can swim. Which usually leads to them having no co-ordination or balance, jumping backwards trying just to regain a standing position, arms flailing, even in waist deep water. Luckily we never believe a word they say, even if they come in clutching a certificate, and all are assessed fished out . Children just do not understand the dangers of water unless drummed in to them.

A life guard is law bound to preserve life in and around the pool, that's why they are different from a life saver. whether its morally right to let ur kids in if they cant swim is another matter.

The wave pool would be a huge no no for me as it literally takes seconds to be pulled under and dragged back.

Swimming in the sea/river is a WHOLE new kettle of fish!

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