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to think I'm not a bad parent because my child hasn't learnt to swim?

(419 Posts)
purplefan5 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:48:26

DS is 7, he doesn't know how to swim and he is still in armbands, is this really so bad? I seem to get the worst looks when we go swimming, etc.

Is it really that bad? He doesn't want to do swimming lessons.. Are you supposed to force them?

FATEdestiny Wed 13-Jul-16 14:51:10

I wouldn't give my children a choice on swimming lessons.

I consider learning to swim to be an essential skill.

Being unable to swim at 7 years old is not unusual, so no need for you or him to be embarrassed by looks. But yes, I would be forcing him to learn.

longdiling Wed 13-Jul-16 14:52:51

Are you sure you're getting looks? Is he very tall for his age? I wouldn't find it that remarkable. Not everyone can afford lessons and most kids will learn with their school. It's an important life skill that I wanted my kids to have by the time they were going out independently of me. And it's handier if they learn it early because they get more out of swimming on holiday and stuff. You not having managed this by age 7 doesn't make you a bad parent.

I would try and get him to at least try lessons though, he might enjoy it.

Flossieflower01 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:53:12

Swimming isn't optional for my kids. Rugby is unlikely to save your life, swimming very well might! Minimum of 1km distance, not just 25m.

reallyanotherone Wed 13-Jul-16 14:53:47

Take his armbands off, he must be able to touch the bottom of a learner pool? smile

I hate to see kids in arm bands, not because im judging whether they can swim or not, but because they're pointless and will hinder swimming!

Get him a noodle to hang on to/play with, and let him find his confidence. Once he has that he may agree to lessons to learn actual swimming.

longdiling Wed 13-Jul-16 14:53:51

Or teach him yourself! My nieces and nephews all learned to swim without lessons, their mum used to just take them swimming loads.

Chippednailvarnishing Wed 13-Jul-16 14:54:08

Out of 30 kids in my DS's class only one needed armbands when they started school swimming lessons in year 3...
Swimming is a life skill and yes I would be forcing him.

RagamuffinAndFidget Wed 13-Jul-16 14:54:36

My 7yo DS can't swim either. He's a very anxious child though and has been very stressed at the thought of starting primary school (his new school has its own pool) without being able to swim so I've found a summer holiday swimming course for him to do. Would your DS consider something like that?

Petal12 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:57:56

Has he not done any at school?? I would certainly look into lessons now and take him swimming lots whilst waiting for them to begin. Maybe one of those week intensive ones would be beneficial. Swimming is an absolute essential in our house, not always done lessons but we go to the local pool weekly.

Pyjamaface Wed 13-Jul-16 14:58:36

DS 7 can't swim either. He freaks out whenever I have tried to encourage him, he is getting better though so I'm going at his pace. He has progressed to actually getting in a pool and bouncing about a bit and has agreed to let me teach him how to float so it's a start!

Vinorosso74 Wed 13-Jul-16 14:59:25

My DD is 6 and we have regularly taken her to the pool since being small but she has only recently started swimming lessons. She really didn't want to have them before so we decided not to force the issue and put her off. She can swim a short distance now and enjoys the lessons.
We didn't use armbands as I believe when you stop using them you need to learn to swim again without them. Have you tried floats like those noodle ones which go under the arms?
No you're not a bad parent. Like everything kids learn to do things at different ages.

Flouncy Wed 13-Jul-16 14:59:57

I'd second what another poster said about if he can touch the bottom take his armbands away.

If there is a big anxiety issue you could reduce the air in the armbands over time, but ideally just remove.

Use a float or a noodle is more fun for play.

Neither of my DS's were confident swimmers at 7 but at 8 and 10 after weekly visits (we'd moved and live near a pool now) they were.

No lessons just regular playing at the pool and mini rewards for achieving challenges like head fully under water, swimming a width with a float, length with a float, width without a float, length without a float, width on back, length on back etc.

mouldycheesefan Wed 13-Jul-16 14:59:57

It's an essential life skill. Why don't you want him to learN?

MermaidTears Wed 13-Jul-16 15:00:46

Not a bad parent, but I do think when I see children of that age...they really should be able to. It's a life skill.

MigGril Wed 13-Jul-16 15:01:29

DD was a reluctant swimmer but by 7 school was taking them as ours takes them in year 2,3 & 4. But school swimming isn't enough really and it is an important life skill I do wish my swimming was better.

By the way now at 9 she can swim over 50 lengths and does triathlons. Who have thought that but it was motivation to get her swimming as she really wanted to do it.

And I agree remove the armbands, mine have never had them and he must be able to touch the bottom by now. So give him a woggle and get him a bit more water confident.

Ilovetea82 Wed 13-Jul-16 15:02:08

I was taken to years of lessons from about 5-13 but I still can't swim sad

MintJulip Wed 13-Jul-16 15:03:27

Yes a life skills but if your a bad swimmer like me your not going to out yourself in water danger.... Isn't there a saying... The best sailors can't swim? Op don't worry about it as with every thing else it's something that needs to click.

HPandBaconSandwiches Wed 13-Jul-16 15:04:30

Yes I'd force him. Ds is also anxious and spent much if the first 4-5 lessons in tears at age 4 despite swimming without aids from 3 years old. Ds knows he can give it up when he gets to stage 7, which will make him a v confident swimmer.
I'm sorry, but you did ask, so yes, I consider it a parenting fail to not teach your kids to swim. He will get more anxious and embarrassed as he gets older. When exactly would you force him? Or would you let him become an adult non swimmer if he chose???
No other clubs allowed in our house unless swimming is done.

CocktailQueen Wed 13-Jul-16 15:04:32

In our school they don't go swimming till Year 3 - so age 8.

OP, I agree with others - of course you're not a bad parent (1/3 of the dc in ds's class couldn't swim in Year 3) but it's a good idea to teach your dc to swim - life skill, doncha know...

Pinkheart5915 Wed 13-Jul-16 15:05:18

I think all children should know how to swim.

Your ds doesn't want to do swimming lessons? How does he know he won't like it if he's never tried? Why don't you tell him his going to a few lessons to see if he likes it?

I could swim very young i had 1-1 lessons and then Dad took me 2 times a week.

My ds is 10 months and we have taken him to the swimming pool since 6 months old just to get him use to the water and we will teach him when he's older.

Goingtobeawesome Wed 13-Jul-16 15:05:25

I took mine swimming often/had lessons but none could swim until nine years old. Same as me. Ds2 had two years of lessons, still couldn't swim, went to new school and within half a term was like a fish..

EmGee Wed 13-Jul-16 15:05:37

Well my eldest is 6.5 and can't swim yet - even with armbands on. Most of her friends can. We haven't gone to the pool much with her (our fault) and I couldn't get her swimming lessons last year as they were full with a waiting list.

This summer we are going to 'swim' every day on holiday (weather permitting) and try again to get swimming lessons sorted for September even if it means having to go to a different town to do them.

I agree with PPs that it is one of the most essential life skills and you should ideally learn as a child. I learnt to swim as a young child and then went to a swimming club for ten years from the age of 8 or so - I wouldn't say I loved it; I just went because my parents made us all go!! My mum learnt to swim as an adult and she has never felt very comfortable/confident in the water as a result. DH never learnt properly and as a result he can barely swim a length without getting puffed (he is very fit and sporty otherwise) - he just can't get the breathing right, and his legs don't move properly.

I think in your position I would force him to do it and when he can swim 25 or 50m using the correct stroke, let him choose whether or not he wants to swim or not. At least he will have the basics covered.

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 13-Jul-16 15:05:41

I think swimming is pretty essential - it could save his life one day. I'm surprised he hasn't had swimming lessons at school by 7, though.

I would be getting him to have lessons, tbh. He's 7, why does he get to decide what he does/doesn't learn?

Claraoswald36 Wed 13-Jul-16 15:07:11

Not a bad parent but you need to crack on with this. Dd1 was swimming before 2. Dd2 is reluctant little bugger who tantrum mee through water babies. She is 3. She had a break now I've packed her off to the local pool lessons where I don't have to go in with her. I have told them I am
Letting them get on with it and I will support whatever method they suggest as long as she learns. She loves it!!

treaclesoda Wed 13-Jul-16 15:07:50

School swimming lessons at 7? They're 9 in my area before they get school swimming lessons.

My 10 year old can hardly swim at all. Years of lessons, and school swimming lessons and still can't get the hang of it.

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