Are pre school swimming lessons worth the huge expense?(84 Posts)
I need to make a decision about whether I renew for next term for two dc. It will be to the tune of £300 for the term. DD1 is 4 and is a bit nervous in the pool. DD2 likes water but I think she has little understanding and doesn't always follow instructions e.g kick your legs.
DH goes in the pool with them (consecutive lessons) whilst I dry and dress the girls
and don't have to worry about having fanjo tidied up
When did your dc learn to swim? I didn't learn to swim in the swimming lessons we went to at school as had horrid shouty instructors. Am still not a confident swimmer. So want to get it right for dc but what worked for you?
Have you tried your local council run pool, ours do waterbabies type lessons at half the price, you only pay on the day so if you miss one you don't have to pay and they do underwater photos. They also move seamlessly from babies to toddlers to swimming lessons, they have three year olds who can swim without any aides so are obviously successful.
I'd not bother if the aim is purely learning to swim and nobody is having much fun.
6 is a good age to start formal swimming lessons, they're physically strong enough and able to follow instructions reasonably well by then.
Why not just go for a weekly swim as a family?
We never did preschool lessons, they started at about 7 and 5 I think.
Dd has been able to swim unaided since 3 and ds1 was closer to 4. Both have/had private 1-1 lessons which do cost a lot. Dd joined swimming club at 6 and ds1 then started so I was paying for one lesson instead of two. DS2 is 3 so would like him to start but I just don't have the funds right now so I'm not stressing. He does come to the pool to swim 1-2 times a week though so is in the water and has fun. I was very scared of water as a child and wouldn't want my kids to be the same.
Are you paying out for a water babies type course? I did 2 terms with my DD when she was months old and then swapped to council run classes - they were practically the same but at least half the price.
She then started swimming lessons on her own at 3, I was quite nervous as I didn't go in the pool with her any more but she was more than capable to listening to instructions and physically completing the tasks and she is a tall but very slim little girl.
I will say at this point the reason I did all of this was because she has always been a fish and would happily spend the day jumping into the deep end and used to wear her goggles in the bath to swim! So for me it was better that she learnt how to swim properly for safety reasons and to give me peace of mind - not that she goes into a pool without adequate supervision...
She is now 4 and a half years old and working towards her 10m badge. So in my opinion yes its definitely worth it but having said that she absolutely loves it, if I was struggling each week then maybe I would think again.
I do think £300 is expensive though, might be worth looking around for other cases, maybe your daughters will react better to a different approach?
I think age 5/6 is a better age to learn to swim. You can get them used to water by just taking them to the pool yourself.
What I did learn with mine was that the lessons vary hugely. Ask around to find a decent provider. Sometimes you pay a little more for it but it's worth it.
We started lessons when DD was nearly 4. At that point she was confident in the water and could listen to instructions. These were lessons where the teacher was in the water but parents weren't.
She enjoyed it. Wouldn't have done it at that age otherwise.
Pre school lessons are pointless. But I think its still important they go swimming just not lessons. DS was 6 when he had his first lesson and got his 5 metre badge within weeks.
My dd is 3.7 and has just got her 15m badge. She did preschool swimming aged 2-3 which really gave her confidence. We pay £3.70 a week for half an hour. If I was you, I'd shop around for much cheaper lessons or just go as a family until they're a bit older.
How much???! I'd actually spend the money on swimming lessons for you. If you were more confident and swam i think it would be better longer term for children?
I'm pulling my four year old DS out of lessons at the end of this term as they are hugely expensive and he just isn't concentrating. I'm going to reintroduce them once he gets a bit more sensible. I agree that 6 sounds like a good age.
Btw that might be a massive over projection of what I'd like if we had the money!
£3.70 a week is an absolute bargain! We are paying £15 for half an hour 2-1 or a small group with one child is £9 for half an hour.
The groups are maximum 8 children, usually around 6 though.
I have found 121 lessons more effective, although they cost substantially more there is less wasted time and they focus on areas the child really needs to do.
£300 sounds steep. I used to be a baby swimming teacher and I wouldn't have paid that much. I also think that a lot of what you do in the pre-school lessons is just filler to justify the extortionate cost.
Now I have my own children I take them to the council run 'baby splash' at our local pool. I sometimes get a bit bored taking a small baby by myself and a short half hour session with other mums stops that. Also, if you're not a comfortable or experienced swimmer yourself, I would imagine that it's quite reassuring to have someone that's qualified in the water with you. In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is pass your fear of water to kids (if you're apprehensive about swimming that is). You want them to be able to turn and reach for the side calmly if they fall in and not to panic. There's plenty of time for swimming a recognised stroke when they're older.
Can't you just take them yourself? I never had lessons until I was much older and neither did my DC. (I swam at a national level as does one of my DC.)
We were lucky (imo) that DS's school has weekly swimming lessons as part of the curriculum from pre-school age (3). DS has therefore learnt to swim entirely at school, but almost immediately there was very little difference between his ability and those who had swimming lessons at a younger age, so I certainly wouldn't be convinced that it was worth it before then.
I think my 3 year old (well, she'll not hesitate to remind me she's FOUR BIRTHDAY WEEK!) is only really benefiting from swimming lessons because they're proper lessons, not splash around and sing nursery rhyme ones and they're a really really small ratio for the classes (it's usually 2 staff to either 2 or 3 kids depending on if they all show up) and it's actually about the same price as the much larger classes at the local council run pool. If she wasn't making progress or listening I would stop it with no hesitation.
It's actually her older sibling (almost 5) who concentrates less.
That's a lot of money for swimming? £150 per child? We pay £60 a term here.
Anyway, we did swimming from around 1 as we spend a lot of time around the water. On boats, the beach, my parents have a pool etc. If we didn't, and only went near the water when we went to a swimming pool or a beach holiday once a year I would probably have waited and just gone swimming with them
DD goes to a group lesson, although there are never more than 3 or 4 in her group as people often don't turn up and we pay £70ish a term and the lessons are for 30 minutes.
I would have considered 121 lessons but as we're in such a small group at the moment and she's going through the levels (duckling and now octopus) I think well she's settled and getting something from it so why change it.
I really would consider looking at other options in your area though if you feel that neither are making any progress at all. Maybe it will be that the girls may react to different pools, different methods or even you being in the pool instead of daddy?
At that age you're better taking them yourself, letting them learn water confidence, going under etc.
Competitive swim clubs won't start kids in their learn to swim sections until around 5. No point before then- strokes are hard to learn due to proportions of arms and legs:torso and head. Obviously is there is the odd exception who will be able to learn earlier, but by 7 or 8 their peers will have caught up anyway/
Only time they're worth it is if you have a problem with water and can't take them regularly and/or teach them water confidence.
I think it's important to take them swimming from a young age and I wish mine had had lessons when they were pre-schoolers so as to install it as a habit before they were old enough to refuse to go. I took mine swimming pretty much weekly from when they were a few months old, with intention of them having lessons when they were a bit older. But although they like swimming, they refused to have lessons and therefore haven't progressed much since, other than the one term of school lessons they had in year 5 - DD age 12 can swim about a length and DS aged 10 about a width. I hate the fact that they aren't therefore safe near water and that when we go as a family we are limited in what we can do in the pool. If I had my time again, I'd do it differently by starting lessons really young.
And for those of you thinking "make them go", you don't know my children! Of course I could have bundled them into the car and got them to the pool, but I couldn't then have made them change into their costumes or get in the pool. No amount of bribery would work. For them, it's an anxiety thing - new people, new situations, etc.
Ours are £7.20 per lesson. Mine started at 3 and DD was a very confident swimmer before she was 5.
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