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to not see the point of baby swim classes?

(109 Posts)
Madmum24 Fri 12-Apr-13 12:28:11

Another epic thread about baby swim, but I honestly don't know what the point is so someone please enlighten me.

My kids go swimming once a week and at the same time there is a baby swim class in another pool; it is a half hour class with babies ranging from about 4 months to maybe a year. All they do is walk back and forward and occasionally join in a circle and the instructor (who is by the pool side) floats little plastic ducks in and pours over some water in a little watering can.

I understand these classes are a rip off expensive, so I am seeking MN wisdom on this one :-D Are they more a social meeting for the parents? I get the whole water confidence thing, but you could just take your baby for a regular swim and walk up and down the baby pool for a fraction of the price.

Have my children been disadvantaged due to missing this experience?

Mutley77 Fri 12-Apr-13 14:01:45

I'm sure your children haven't been disadvantaged by not going but both my children have gone and been hugely positively influenced by them.

I started both at 6 months and it was a way of "encouraging" me to take them weekly because I had already paid and made the commitment. I think it is absolutely essential to develop water confidence from an early age - and yes I could have taken my children each week on my own but I know what I'm like and I wouldn't have bothered!! As others have said the cost for doing a weekly lesson is the same as going in for a casual swim (I have only ever done Council or similar type lessons).

The benefit to them (and me) was that they could get in a pool for a lesson on their own at age 3 without a backward glance and both swimming independently without flotation device by age 4. If they hadn't had regular exposure to the pool/lesson set up/teacher I am not sure they would have been able to achieve that. I am not saying they wouldn't but there are no guarantees and I see so many friends (or unknown children in lessons with my children) where children have struggled to cope with water/swimming/lessons if they start at a later age.

BigFatBarry Fri 12-Apr-13 14:10:16

Lobbing herself in head first while the life guards twitch grin

Do you mean from the side of the pool? I'm not surprised the lifeguards are twitching. If she does that in a too shallow part of the pool, you are risking a broken neck.

MrsKoala Fri 12-Apr-13 14:13:16

We love it, it's the highlight of our week. Very active DS (7mo) squeals with delight and laughs all the way thru. It's the only thing which really tires him. He started at at 8weeks old and now kicks along happily and more importantly, is very confident and loves the water. He holds on the edge of the pool quite happily. This was important to DH as he can't swim and is terrified of the water.

Mehrida Fri 12-Apr-13 14:16:30

My local pool has free parent+baby swimming classes one morning a week. If I want to go outwith this time it costs me £3.50.

We sing songs and play with more bath toys than we could fit in our house, never mind bath! DS loves it and I get a chance to chat with other mums as not many of my usual social circle are off during the week.

So yabu. Just because it's not for you doesn't make it pointless.

TheSecondComing Fri 12-Apr-13 14:22:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ledkr Fri 12-Apr-13 14:25:27

Shut up big fat berry I was obviously exaggerating. As if me or the life guards and me for let her dive into shallow water.
It was a turn of phrase sorry if you couldn't see that.

mrsscoob Fri 12-Apr-13 14:27:23

little over the top there Ledkr! Having a bad day grin

BigFatBarry Fri 12-Apr-13 14:31:10

No need to be rude, ledkr. It wasn't obvious to me that you were exaggerating and not a turn of phrase I am familiar with. Thanks for the clarification.

bruffin Fri 12-Apr-13 14:31:20


My ds 17 started swimming lessons the week of his first birthday, my dd 15 from 6 months of age. My DS stopped at 13 when he passed his bronze medallion and has now got his NPLQ and works p/t as a lifeguard. My DD has just passed her BM. From monday it will be the first time since she was 6 months old that she doesnt have lessons. She is very sad about it and DS tells me he misses lessons as well.

Baby lessons are more than just bouncing up and down. It teaches them to automatically reach for the side if the jump/fall in. They teach babies not to panic underwater etc

There is also the social side, i made friends having lunch with the other mums after lessons etc.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 12-Apr-13 14:41:00

Well to all that says it's a waste of money. Do you buy annual passes to zoos, farms, or take your kids to other lessons? All my mummy friends seem to have multiple annual passes, and go to gym tots, sing and sign, music bugz, soccer/rubgy tots, etc. They are all equally a waste of money, isn't it? You could just take a football to the park and kick around. It's free, cheaper than even going to the council pool for a swim!

thermalsinapril Fri 12-Apr-13 14:41:13

Some of the classes are focused on safety, even though it's disguised as fun and games. Learning to kick up to the surface, blow bubbles if the mouth goes underwater, float on their back, turn over, and pre-swimming skills like holding onto the side and climbing out of the pool.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 12-Apr-13 14:42:21

If you only go for free activites, then maybe you aren't the type who'll pay for baby swimming lessons either. I bet not many of our premier league footballers went to soccer tots.

GadaboutTheGreat Fri 12-Apr-13 14:53:44

YABU. Classes such as WaterBabies (which my DD has done since 10 weeks) are a vital life line to new mums/dads. Having the weekly class brings a bit of structure to an otherwise chaotic first few months grin

Yes you can go to the local pool whenever but it's really not the same. I know first hand as I've been intending taking DS (now 11mo) but 'never get round to it' sad

DinoSnores Fri 12-Apr-13 15:00:48

I did them with DS at the local swimming pool and only stopped with DD arrived. It was good for us to get out each week. I was very, very nervous about water until I was an adult, so I want DS to like water and also to know that he is not to get into water without asking permission. He can now (at the age of 2.5 years) jump in, swim for the side and then 'monkey walk' along the side and get out. It took me until I was in my 20s until I was able to put my face in the water, so he's doing a bit better than me!

Wannabestepfordwife Fri 12-Apr-13 16:32:42

I take dd to lessons a course of 16 lessons was far cheaper than paying every week and it makes sure I go.

I take dd as i was to anxious to take her alone in case I dropped her or I slipped with her in my arms etc etc.

I've met some really nice mums and I have the confidence to take her alone now so for me it was well worth it.

JsOtherHalf Fri 12-Apr-13 16:35:49

I used swimbabes for ds. We went from he was 4 months old, until he started school at 4. He is now 6, and the youngest in his swimming class at a local high school on a weekend. He has his 50m breastroke, can pick up objects on the bottom of the pool etc.

He loathed swimming for months when he around 18 months old, but he has no memory of that :-D

BackforGood Fri 12-Apr-13 16:58:01

IMO, all baby 'classes' are for the benefit of the parents rather than the babies. In this example, the child isn't going to improve as a swimmer, or with water confidence anymore than any parent who takes their child swimming regularly, however the fact there is a commitment probably means the parent is more likely to go than motivating themselves, and it is a chance to get to know other parents with little ones the same age - same as all baby classes - and that can be a lifeline to otherwise isolated parents.

MrsKoala Fri 12-Apr-13 19:04:40

i disagree Backforgood the benefit is that DS is taught how to hold on if he falls in and gets to play with structure like songs and actions - none of these i would have known/thought to do with just taking him to the baths alone. So i think he benefits more with a class than just messing about with me in the pool.

If you follow a similar programme once a week on your own and are confident enough to dunk your baby without a teacher there to help you then yes it wouldn't be any different - but i don't know anyone who would have that knowledge.

BackforGood Fri 12-Apr-13 23:06:27

Seriously ? A 1 or even 2 yr old demonstrated that if they fell in, they would know to turn and grasp the rail ? Must be more of a MN "G&T" child than a normal one, who are not developmentally ready to grasp such skills so young. confused

MsBella Fri 12-Apr-13 23:10:47

Baby swim classes are great I think! Took my last 2 dcs to them, its just a bit of fun really and gets mums and dcs out of the house to do something and socialise a bit

YoniTrix Fri 12-Apr-13 23:26:40

Backforgood, all of the kids in my DC's swim classes were swimming unaided at 2.5, and able to climb out of the pool unaided. They weren't all G&T. Of course a child younger than 2 is capable of turning round and grasping a rail.

TheDetective Fri 12-Apr-13 23:47:51

I have been taking my 4 month old weekly since he was 10 weeks. We go to council run schemes, and they cost a couple of £. You pay as you go.

Why? Well, I wanted him to be in a session without toddlers or older children splashing him before he was confident in water.

I wanted him to have some structure to his week, and we have a couple of groups, and swimming is one of them. All the classes are for his benefit not mine. We do baby sensory - that does not benefit me. Baby bubbles and rhyme, which is an hour of singing and action rhymes. No benefit for me. And swimtots. Again, no benefit to me.

He loves going to the groups and gets excited at the activities.

When we started at swimming, he cried. The water was cold for him. I bought him a neoprene wrap, and he was a lot happier. Each week he has grown in confidence, and as long as he is warm, he is happy! I can safely dunk him under water (I did this myself, not as part of the session) to get him used to the sensation of being under water. He does not cry now when he gets splashed, or water on his face/in his eyes. In fact, we have just been away to Switzerland, and went to an aquapark there. He had a lovely time, and happily went in the water, which was cooler than he was used to. He loved the lazy river, and I took him down the little baby slides.

So for me, I can see the benefit for him. It isn't about learning to swim, it is about having fun.

If he isn't having fun, we stop. Simple as that.

WilsonFrickett Sat 13-Apr-13 00:07:24

We did them at the local pool and it was something like £2.50 a session, so cheaper than a 'normal' swim. Im not hugely confident in the water and as pps said, often it's about giving the parents the confidence to splash and dunk. And all while the pool is otherwise empty, so just a lovely environment for 10 or so parents and babies to enjoy. It's actually the only 'baby group' I'd recommend.

I am totally shock though that 3 pages in no one has mentioned the main benefit: swim, baby starving hungry, eats for Scotland, then naps for at lest two hours and then still sleeps for longer at night

bruffin Sat 13-Apr-13 00:12:43

baby swimming survival

Agree with Yoni, as said above mine were taught to automatically turn to the edge in their baby lessons.

MajaBiene Sat 13-Apr-13 00:22:09

Don't see the harm in baby swim classes if parents enjoy and can afford it, but also don't see any advantage for under 3s over just taking them swimming yourself.

Also really don't get the point of putting babies through horrible self rescue training. When is a baby/toddler going to be unsupervised near water? Can't imagine the kind of parents who aren't with their under 3 near water are the same ones who shell out for the training!

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