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to feel I've wasted money on swimming lessons.

(85 Posts)
MsColour Fri 21-Feb-14 17:22:43

DD7 had swimming lessons for 2 years. Yes, she can just about swim without any swimming aids but her technique is not good and she has lacked a lot of confidence. She spent a lot of time standing on the edge of the pool because she wouldn't jump in (which would have ticked off one of the things she needed to achieve to move to the next group up) and didn't like putting her face in the water. DS4 started lessons last year and watching him trying to learn in a group of up to 8 children with no-one correcting his technique. He still requires a lot of swimming aids.

So got to end of January and was due to renew their lessons but money was tight. So thought about it and decided that paying £5 each a week for them to swim across the pool 5-6 times in half an hour just wasn't worth it. Plus they were always missing lessons due to coughs, parties etc. I decided not to renew but instead I would make a point of always taking them on my weekends and extra in the holidays(they go to their dad EOW) which would work out cheaper and would be more quality family time. The pool I take them to is never to busy and also gets all the floats out for them to use. The children can be in the water for longer so we can have some time to practice their swimming technique and some time to play.

About a month in and I already feel the children's swimming and confidence is improving. DD's technique is much better just when she puts her mind to it and has been happier about putting her face in the water. She will quite happily jump in as she's doing it on her own terms, not just because someone else has told her to. DS is generally swimming horizontally not vertically like he was in his swimming lessons and is also much more confident in the water.

So AIBU to feel group swimming lessons were a bit of a waste of time?

Musicaltheatremum Fri 21-Feb-14 17:25:00

It's difficult isn't it. My 2 were fish from day one but some children really need someone there with them. I would get them confident and then look at some stroke development lessons if they need it.

sooperdooper Fri 21-Feb-14 17:27:25

Well the difference is going with you then get your undivided attention, if you paid for lessons where only the two of them were taught by one person you'd have got the same result, but itd cost more

MrsCakesPremonition Fri 21-Feb-14 17:28:08

The place I take my DCs has always insisted that parents take the children swimming once a week in addition to lessons. You are right that one to one support can make all the difference to a nervous swimmer.

But my DS refuses to swim when we go as a family - has a whale of a time bobbing about instead. So at least the lessons mean that he does swim.

MsColour Fri 21-Feb-14 17:28:56

That's what I'm thinking. DD will go with school next term and then I'll see how it's going. Maybe look into a short course of private lessons for DS as may be better value for money. I think I was just mindlessly throwing money at it without thinking about the value for money.

bodybooboo Fri 21-Feb-14 17:29:25

yes I think you are right.

we taught our kids to swim in family swimming sessions and by just playing and having fun.

I think all this relentless lessons from a young age are very boring and stifle the fun if splashing and ducking.

we had them have proper technique lessons at 11 and that worked really well.

all are now grown up/teens and very good strong swimmers who love the water.

NormHonal Fri 21-Feb-14 17:29:27

It's tough to know, isn't it?

We paid a fortune for group lessons with one of the big franchise swimming schools for DC1 a few years back and DC1 hated it, in fact it provoked a bit of a phobia of water.

We are now doing 1:1 lessons with a small-scale local teacher, paying less than we paid before for group lessons, and the improvement in confidence and technique is astonishing.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 21-Feb-14 17:30:24

They can be great - some kids need the group dynamic to put in the effort iyswim.

I think it's excelkent to teach your own kids if they listen and progress -do a bit of research on correct technique etc, because it's better to get it right to begin with than unlearn poor technique and re learn.

Make sure you get floats and practise breaking down the strokes,and don't forget skills such as diving etc.

DarlingGrace Fri 21-Feb-14 17:33:21

Depends on the child really.

DC1 threw himself in with gay abandon and whooshed up his badges
DC2 hated it and pratted about to the point I stopped lessons because it was an utter waste of money
I never bothered with DC3 on the grounds that swimming isnt actually very useful as a life saving technique, but treating water and not panicking is infinitely more useful

Tailtwister Fri 21-Feb-14 17:35:29

In general I don't think group lessons are a particularly efficient way to teach a child to swim. Both boys do go to group lessons, but DS1 has a private weekly lesson too. Once we feel DS2 is ready we'll go that way for him too. I can swim, but not particularly well and really want our DC to be able to have some kind of technique. DS1 has just turned 6 and can do a fair crawl, very good back stroke and is in the process of learning breast stroke.

I think if you feel you can teach your child (and if they will listen to you!) then regular visits to the pool as a family are better than group lessons tbh.

Tallalime Fri 21-Feb-14 17:39:11

I had the opposite problem. If I took her DD would cling to my neck and refuse to go in the water without a ring.

I put her in lessons at 3.5 and within 10 weeks she could swim. She did stall at stage 3 for ages - over a year - and in the end I bit the bullet and paid for 1-1 lessons. It took 3 sessions to get her over the hump and into stage 4 (she now easily swims lengths, she's just turned 6).

She would never have advanced like that with me, she needed the distraction of the other children. Now when I take her we practice retrieving things from the bottom and 'diving'... the fun stuff, which I prefer. grin

BabyDubsEverywhere Fri 21-Feb-14 17:41:20

Genuine question - why does technique matter? Is there something I am missing? Not drowning, enjoying being in the pool, ability to drag someone else out - I get. Pretty breast stroke I don't quite understand so much? Does it have a purpose?

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 21-Feb-14 17:43:53

It matters because it makes it easier, you can swim further and longer, and you are less likely to injure yourself Baby.

MrsCakesPremonition Fri 21-Feb-14 17:45:55

Having an efficient stroke makes swimming so much more enjoyable - gliding through the water instead of having to work twice as hard and not get very far.

Megrim Fri 21-Feb-14 17:55:45

If your child won't put his/ her face in the water they won't progress - they will never get the right body position or manage to breathe properly.

Breaststroke is very technical - about 10% of kids can get the kick naturally, everyone else needs to work at it. Teachers should be strict about getting it right - if poor technique is not corrected it becomes very difficult (and demoralising for the swimmer) to sort out.

Get the technique right and the swimmer will move efficiently through the water.

BabyDubsEverywhere Fri 21-Feb-14 17:56:01

Its what I thought then, that makes sense smile
I just wante dto make sure I wasn't missing a big swimming secret smile

QueenofLouisiana Fri 21-Feb-14 17:56:05

For us they were invaluable. DS is another neck clinger (at 8!) if I am in the pool. He swims much, much better than me but just sees me as a useful prop I think!

In lessons, swims like a fish- for huge distances.

lljkk Fri 21-Feb-14 17:58:01

hmmm... I dunno, kids I know IRL taught by parents tend to swim a lot more poorly than the kids who have been thru months of our local 1/2 hour formal group lessons. It's just what I see. I know that I would be a lousy teacher and that the weekly commitment having paid up front means that we definitely go that half hour every week (DC often beg off of fun sessions otherwise).

I also have a bugbear about people who take their kids to fun sessions and then insist on trying to teach their kids to swim while there. Picture 15 children running around like loons in the water & two flustered parents trying to get a 5-6yo to swim lengths with a kick board, wistfully looking on with envy at his peers actually having fun. Cost of a family swim ticket is £8.50 vs. £5 for the weekly lesson, so not really any cheaper. The very worst offender is actually a local swim teacher who I have seen speak in a very angry voice to her 3-4yo not paying attention to mum's directions or working hard enough during the fun sessions!!

It's great that there are lots of ways to learn to swim successfully; I had one-to-one lessons as a child plus my mother's efforts. All that failed, and I didn't learn to swim properly until I taught myself as an adult using previously unknown essential equipment (a pair of goggles).

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 21-Feb-14 18:01:04

I am a swimming teacher and I teach my kids in a public session.

I pay my money like you lljkk !

Megrim Fri 21-Feb-14 18:03:30

Goggles and a proper swimming costume are a must - don't send boys in baggy swim shorts. If you've ever tried swimming in baggy shorts you'll understand why.

MsColour Fri 21-Feb-14 18:06:41

I think I'm coming to the conclusion that a bit of both might be best. For the moment, swimming as a family feels the right thing, as time goes on some more lessons might be needed. In an ideal world, they would have swimming lessons and have a family swimming session every week. In my case, time and money don't allow that.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Fri 21-Feb-14 18:06:47

We've always done lessons, but have had to change classes a few times to settle on ones that suit the DCs. We never had any luck at all getting the DCs to swim when we went for fun, they only started wanting to once they could already swim as a result of lessons. I didn't want to force the issue in our fun sessions so we have kept those for fun and lessons for learning and it is working for us.

I wish I had had proper lessons (I still might one of these days) as although I can make my way up and down the pool in a variety of styles my technique is poor and I am slow and inefficient.

Newcurtainsplease Fri 21-Feb-14 18:12:44

I find it quite odd the obsession with swimming lessons from an early age. Yes a child needs to be able to survive if they fall in, but why do weekly sessions from a baby until 12 or beyond?

We decided to pay for 1 to 1 sessions for a few months to get the children swimming. Works out a lot cheaper than years of weekly group sessions.

OP Yanbu

Owllady Fri 21-Feb-14 18:18:00

Mine all do lessons because the water reAlly activates my skin now
As a spectator technique is so important. Watch the people in the fast lane, they barely move their body!

Worriedkat Fri 21-Feb-14 18:18:44

I used to pay £4.50 for a half hour lesson for each child. It was like you described zero value for money. Once DS1 had been at stage 4 for 18 months I spoke to the teacher who said he was holding back the other kids who we're approaching stage 5 and he should be put back in the shallow end.

Immediately swapped to a private provider with smaller classes and a nicer pool. Within a month he was swimming lengths down the centre of the pool. Costs £12.50 ph but achieved desired result in a tenth of the time.

So for us, we got what we paid for.

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