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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?

PenelopeLane Tue 16-Apr-13 09:06:38

I think it depends on how often you take your dcs to the pool otherwise. I've had my DS in lessons since he was 9 months, and he loves it. I've also learnt some good tricks for how to increase his water confidence including ways to hold him and games to play that never would have occurred to me otherwise.

When I signed up, my antenatal group was split in two, those who did lessons, and those who said there was no point as they could go themselves for less money, that they didn't learn etc - much the same as said here. Last time we caught up 2 of the women in the latter group admitted that at best they go to the pool once a month, so while they could go all the time in theory, they don't. Whereas when you've signed up to lessons, at least you make the effort to go regularly. If you take your dcs to the pool often anyway, then sure, no reason to enroll a baby.

JuliaScurr Sun 14-Apr-13 13:22:44

It was the only way to use thewarm hydrotherapy pool It's to keep the advantages of the early instincts so they never lose them and become anxious. I never learned to swim until age 35 smile
so wanted dd to learn easily - which she did

Mutley77 Sun 14-Apr-13 13:14:51

madmum - it's just about instilling the basics really - lead a horse to water enough times and eventually they will drink. Babies do learn to instinctively grab and hold the edge under 1 year old - mine certainly did.

So for example (although I am sure this actual circumstance is very rare and it would not be the reason I took my DC's to baby swimming) if my child was 2 and had been doing that swimming routine for 12 months at lessons, then fell in water somewhere unsupervised where he was in reach of an edge, I am confident his instinct would have kicked in to reach it. As I say very unlikely a) he would fall in water unsupervised and b) in reach of an edge - but it is about general habit forming for water safety. Not essential by any means but certainly not pointless IME. When they get in the water for "proper lessons" and are swimming initially unaided these habits are helpful. As is the fact they are familiar with being in water, a lesson routine, and being confident in putting their head underwater etc.

AmandinePoulain Sat 13-Apr-13 16:32:47

Mad we started when dd2 was around 4mo. We go weekly, apart from lessons missed whilst ill/over Christmas etc and she's now 8mo and knows to grab the side, and has done for a few months I would say. She can't get there by herself though obviously! We don't go to water babies and don't practice submersion in our lessons, just playing, 'swimming' across the pool (ie. I lead her across) and jumping in from sitting.

MummyBre Sat 13-Apr-13 15:44:51

I took both my babies to baby swimming classes and yes, it was expensive and yes, it was a big committment but i can now see the results as they are now 8 and 10 - both really confident in the water, swimming really well and will be moving onto swim club shortly, and both very strong physically. It was hard work at times when they went through wobbly stages but Water Babies were brilliant at helping us with this and building confidence and reassurance. Having had a really bad experience as as child, i really think swimming is a life skill and all children should learn. Of all the baby activities I did, baby swimming was the most worthwhile for us as a family!

YoniTrix Sat 13-Apr-13 14:22:59

Maja, babies lose the reflex that makes them automatically hold their breath upon their face being submerged at between 10-15 months. It then becomes a learned response. So babies that have done baby swimming lessons will still automatically hold their breath even if they have lost the natural reflex. Babies that have never been submerged and have lost the reflex may not hold their breath and instead inhale on their face being submerged.

No madmum, that would be G&T at 4 months. grin I can't remember exactly what age my two were able to hold onto the side themselves, but it was surprisingly early.

hackmum Sat 13-Apr-13 14:15:39

I think it's true that if your child to swim when it's older (say four or five) the differences even out - you don't get a long-term advantage from baby swim.

However, I did take my DD to swimming classes from when she was a baby. I did it partly to get out of the house (I was fairly desperate) and partly because I wanted her to have confidence in the water. I liked the idea that she wouldn't be able to remember a time when she couldn't swim. That indeed proved to be the case - she loved swimming lessons and she was able to swim independently by the time she was three. And that meant that for the next few years, taking her swimming was a lot of fun (for her, anyway!) She was and remains extremely confident in the water, though now she's a teenager, she isn't any better than her friends who learned later. But I have no regrets about doing it.

Madmum24 Sat 13-Apr-13 13:48:55

How many baby swim lessons are "needed" before they are able to rail grab, not panic etc? What age would this be expected at? I don't imagine that a four month old would be able to do this? Genuine questions by the way......:-D

bruffin Sat 13-Apr-13 12:25:13

Its not just splashing around that's the point. They are learning through play ie jumping in, you automatically turn to the side. Blow on the face so they hold their breath then dunk them etc. Its fun that's it.
Mine went to council lessons and there was pennies in the difference and because you overpaid you are more likely to go.
I have spent 1000s probably on lessons for me and the dcs over the years. I don't
I have gone to adult lessons for the last 10 years and am still learning, but i go for the social aspect as much as anything and its my me time.

difficultpickle Sat 13-Apr-13 12:13:43

Baby swim classes didn't help ds to learn to swim but it gave me time out of the house with other mums. There were many activities ds did as a baby which had very little to do with what he learned and had more to do with my social life!

MrsBungle Sat 13-Apr-13 12:13:09

Op - it seems obvious to me that the specific baby swimming class you are watching is shit.

My kids both do them - 3 yo DD has just finished and is now in local authority lessons. 11 month old DS has been in them since he was 3 months.

They hold onto and move along the side of the pool, get used to swimming under water, build their water confidence, have fun and many more things. They are sat on the side and helped to 'fall in to the water', they learn to turn in the water, make their way back to the side and hold on. The kids learn not to panic as they are so used to the water from an early age.

My kids love it. DD is 3 and can swim on her own and is very confident in the water. It is also an activity that I have met loads of new friends at. We have thoroughly enjoyed baby swimming lessons and I am glad my kids are water confident.

MajaBiene Sat 13-Apr-13 12:10:57

You're lucky if it costs the same as just going to the pool - Water Babies type courses cost about £12-£15 a session! The local council classes are only a couple of quid more than just going to the pool, but just seem to be splashing around in a group with singing and games rather than teaching anything.

Actual swimming lessons, for 3/4+ year olds I can understand. Still don't see the benefit for babies.

bruffin Sat 13-Apr-13 12:02:36

Its not just about life saving, its part of a fun time. It doesn't cost any more than going swimming by yourself and usually a bit more fun because you got to meet others.
You can always tell if children have been taught to swim by parents. They have no breathing technique or good style.

aufaniae Sat 13-Apr-13 11:39:53

This thread prompted me to book DS (4yo) into lessons at the local pool, been meaning to do it for a while, so thanks for that!

MajaBiene Sat 13-Apr-13 11:34:06

Relatively few children under 5 drown in the UK (about 15 in 2010) and half of those are children drowning while unsupervised in the bath. I fail to see how baby swimming lessons are going to prevent a baby drowning in a few inches of water, or indeed how swimming lessons make a child that age any safer than just regularly splashing about in the pool with a parent.

As I said though, I have no problem with baby swim classes and understand that many parents like the routine and structure of them, I just don't buy that they give babies/toddlers any advantage over just going to the pool.

aufaniae Sat 13-Apr-13 10:34:24

I think YABabitU!

I signed up for baby swim when DS was a baby. It was the only costly thing I did. It wasn't about socialising for me. I booked it as a treat for myself really, just to spend some time with baby DS doing something different / nice together.

I preferred to go to a class rather than just splash about as DS was my PFB, and so I appreciated being in a class where an instructor demonstrated what was possible / safe to do. Also signing up for a class made me get out and do it every week rather than putting it off.

Now I'm pregnant again (due 2 days ago!) it's much less likely I'll do a class this time round (although I might). I'm much more confident with babies in water now so I'll probably just go for the splash about option this time. I might do baby massage or something though, that reminds me I must have a look at what's available locally.

rainbowfeet Sat 13-Apr-13 08:50:54

I recently looked into swim classes for my 14 month old ds & was shocked to find they cost the same as those for my 10 yr old!! I don't feel the need for them at such a young age! I'd rather go when it suits me & pay half the price for a splash around as I don't think they'll actually be learning to swim that young. Hopefully my dd will have completed all the levels in a year or so & then I'll start ds as I can't afford both. I don't feel my ds is missing out though as my dd only started lessons aged 8 & is already a fab swimmer she's even been chosen to swim in a gala (very proud mum)!! smile

atrcts Sat 13-Apr-13 08:38:23

You dunk the babies under water - just because you can under the age of one because they have an automatic reflex action to hold their breath - and the thought is that they come accustomed to water and so don't fear it.

I tried it with my son who hated it so I stopped!

yabu we did them £10 class in private pool on sun so was me husband n baby n between 3 n 7 other babies. if we went to local council pool would cost £4-£6 per adult.

my now 2yr old is confident in water puts his face in climbs out n jumps in happily all taught from early age.

we only did lessons from 5-9mths then as i was night nannying weekends husband took him local pool as cheaper on his own used all things taught n i slept!

MyShoofly Sat 13-Apr-13 05:18:38

YABU. According to the lifesaving society...

"In Canada, drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional injury deaths among children 1-4 years of age, and the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years. With some 500 fatalities annually, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death among Canadians under 60 years of age (surpassed only by motor vehicle collisions and poisoning)."

I know your probably in the UK but I'm sure you'll find drowning similarly concerning in your area.

Baby swim might not teach your child to swim but it doesn't hurt to get them comfortable in the water while having fun. Classes keep us in the routine of going when we would otherwise perhaps not feel like it. We slacking off on classes for awhile and my 2 year old was noticably more skittish when we would take him to the pool. Now that he has been back in a weekly class his confidence has quickly grown - he is putting his face in the water, kicking his feet, laughing, smiling and having a ball with it.

Beats having the kiddo who's terrified down the road, clinging to you leg refusing to get in the pool. That is not going be the outcome for all kids but I used to teach swimming, lifeguard etc and saw plenty of that too.

If you don't want to do baby swim then don't but I wouldn't be smug about others "wasting" their time and money participating either.

lifesisabiatch Sat 13-Apr-13 04:41:09

I had a chat with my gf over the weekend about this.
She think I should put the kids in swimming class as lil as 1 like her and everyone according to her. I think is fine not against it or anything but I never get the chance to do so. She would go out of her way just to get to class, find a class to register, get frustrated looking for a class calling around but she manage to get them done. I think is unnecessary to go through all. You can just take the kids to swims at your own time and you both have fun. She think that you have to get them start early in order to learn how to swim, the older you wait the harder for them to learn. I totally disagree.

If you have the time and money yes go for it. If you have to go out of your way to go be in the class don't.

bugsocute Sat 13-Apr-13 03:46:02

water is a mean bitch and then you can die. pools are a evil peace of work some times just make sure your babys and kids is wearing bubbles at EVERY time !

bugsocute Sat 13-Apr-13 03:44:59

listen up and listen too me good ! as long as the babys there have got bubbles it ok by me. babys and kid 1s need too be wearing bubbles when there in the water and when there by the water too drop in so they dont get drown

Madmum24 Sat 13-Apr-13 02:15:57

What techniques do they teach in order to prevent a child in (water related) danger panicking? It has been mentioned a few times in this thread.

YoniTrix Sat 13-Apr-13 02:02:54

Exactly. Or small ponds in back gardens.

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