To jack in swimming lessons after 2 terms(27 Posts)
4 yo DS has been having swimming lessons since last September. He had a fear of the water when he first started and wouldn’t get in the water on his first lesson. After that the teacher encouraged him in and it had been going well, sometimes he did cry when he first went in but cheered up after 2 minutes and thoroughly enjoyed the lesson after that.
His original teacher changed at Christmas and the lessons haven’t been as good since then- more crying and then the last 2 weeks (including today) he’s totally refused to get in the water at all. Today he spent the whole lesson sitting on the poolside. I noticed today that the lessons don’t seem as fun and all the other kids did was get in and out of the water.
Before now I’ve said that swimming is an essential life skill and he needs to learn but now I’m leaning towards pulling him out and trying him again in a year or so. He’s not learning anything sitting on the side of the pool and he should be moving forwards not backwards. But AIBU? Should we persist?
Yup. Try again when he's 5 or 6. I know in our current high pressured world lots of people do manage to get their children to swim at
age 4, but traditionally 6 or so was considered the age at which you could properly learn to swim.
Yes, you want him to be safe. But you also want him to he a lifelong love of the water, and you aren't going to create that by pushing him before he is ready.
Swimming is a life skill.
It also needs to be fun - if you could go as a family every single week and PLAY in the water until he is comfortable in that environment.
Then restart lessons and continue with the family swimming (so he is going twice a week) he can then practice what he has learnt in the pool.
I think you have to try out a few different swim schools/teachers to find one you like.
We had mind numbingly boring classes where the kids were barely in the water, then found a teacher who had six kids in the water at once and swimming like little ducklings.
Swimming is a life skill but it also needs to be a fun activity too. My dd’s swimming picked up dramatically after a holiday where she was in the pool all day every day and she joined the dots of fun and being able to swim. Taking your DS to the pool for some splashing fun together might help with motivation.
I'm very much in the as early as possible camp when it comes to kids and swimming as it can be scary at 4 when a pool is so unfamiliar.
These lessons are not working for you and continuing as you are at the moment will not help encourage a love of water. I would definitely stop the current lessons but can you take him yourself once a week for a few months let him play in the water make him realise that it is fun so he gets the confidence to be able to then focus on something more formal.
I'd also check out what other pools in the area have to offer.
Agree with PP. Go to the pool together every week and just let him kick about on a woggle.
I think the people who have children who can swim at 4 are probably those who have taken their child swimming very regularly from being babies rather than tiger parents paying for 3 private lessons a week.
I don't think there is much point starting formal lessons until after water confidence has been achieved.
One of my DS was very similar to your DS, so we simply stopped the lessons. My DS had a immense fear of water and would literally climg to me in water. We left it until he was 7 and he now goes to 1 to 1 lessons and is flourishing. My older DC all attended group lessons and I seriously wish we had sent them to 1 to 1 instead. I think when there is a fear involved you need to let them lead as you do not want to turn it in to a life long issue.
DS2 started at 3, did very similar to what your son is doing so I shelved the whole thing for a year. He was fine by then.
We had this between 3-4 with ds2. I had to stop lessons for just under a year. I used to take Ds1 to school, then straight to the pool where me and him played about in the shallows just splashing and pouring water out of jugs, catching ducks etc. All in sight of the mother and baby classes so he could see other toddlers in the water.
We restarted lessons when he started school, he went in at the same time as his brother (different classes same pool) and he was much more confident.
The year of no pressure had made a huge difference. Also going every week, just the two of us when it was totally quiet.
Stop the lessons for now and commit to taking him yourself once a week, just having fun. Get a woggle (am I the only person who calls it a noodle?!), some small boats and lightweight balls and just play. When his confidence increases, look at lessons again.
Mine had group lessons from aged 4 and 3 respectively, however, in December we moved them to 1-2-1 lessons as my eldest wasn't progressing (has a habit not concentrating in a group situation). Best thing we ever did. If it's something you can afford, I'd say it's worth doing. The instructor can put your DS at ease and focus on learning through play. He can build that relationship with her. It's about trust. He's nervous around the water and is expected to entrust himself to this complete stranger whilst other children are splashing and making noise.
Thanks for your replies- it’s reassuring and tbh a relief that he won’t be deprived by not having lessons at this age!!
Part of the bonus of having lessons was that we don’t have to get in the water with him at this age, as we also have DS2 to consider who is 1yo and I obviously can’t take both of them in by myself. DH works some weekends so we won’t be able to commit to going every week but should be able to manage most weeks
It will do your 1yo the world of good to get In the water now go as a family it’ll be fun
If you are confident you can take them both if you have a pool with a very shallow learner pool. It takes a bit of planning and organisation but it's perfectly possible x
We waited until ds was 7 then invested in 1-1 lessons for a few months (and going to pool once a week to practice). Works out cheaper and less painful than years of going to group lessons with slow progress. 1-1 lessons also teach much better technique.
Stop the lessons for a year but make sure to go swimming as a family every week to build his confidence and make it fun.
I'm South Wales and have heard it called a woggle
Sounds a bit like my DS. We started him with a term of swimming lessons last spring when he was 3.5. We had taken him swimming pretty regularly since being a baby, and I would say he has always enjoyed it. However, he does not like having water poured on his face or going under water, and he was understandably nervous of trusting a new adult. He cried the first 10 minutes of the first couple of lessons, and although he did make progress in terms of trusting the teacher, I would say he was still not fully comfortable by the end of the term. He still needed me to walk him to the teacher at the beginning of every lesson, and still refused to join in certain bits.
We left it for about a year, and have taken him swimming about once a month since then. I'm impressed with those who are able to go weekly, but we just don't have the time with working and other things to do on the weekend. Anyway, he has recently started private 1:1 lessons. It's still early days but I am very hopeful as the teacher has taken the time to introduce herself, and get to know him, and obviously can pace everything just right for him. In contrast, in the original lessons there were 6 children (plus another 6 in a different lesson on the other side of the pool), and the teacher barely had time to say hello to them. And it was very noisy.
Just to add - I started my toddler on swimming lessons 6 months ago when she turned 1. She's enjoying it so far, and I hope we can avoid the issues we've had with DS.
DD started about age 6 and progressed very quickly due to actually being able to listen to the instructions, process them and control her body enough to follow it all through. She was in a group with older beginners because at our pool they have beginners in the baby pool (for younger kids) and beginners in the main pool (for older/taller kids).
We started with a week long, school holiday crash course to get her 5m badge, then she had group weekly lessons for about 1.5 years, finishing up getting her ASA Level 6 and 100m badge. Was pretty painless, she also learnt how to dry herself effectively, get dressed and operate a coin locker too - all useful life skills, especially for her 8 weeks of school swimming!
Oh God...we started DD at 9m. She hated it and it became a battle zone. It never improved. In hindsight I got caught up in the she must learn to swim NOW mentality whereas I probably learned completely around age 7?!
So I would give it a break because we pushed on until age two and it was hell. She’s generally into the water - the classes were shit TBH and not a lot went on, a lot of hanging around
We are not finding group lessons to work very well for dc 6yo. As they are just not progressing. Still stage 1 despite being able to swim abliyt 10m. I just think the instructors are not very interested as themoney is paid either way..
Agree with most other advice. Stop the lessons for a term but take him yourself instead. Make swimming fun - keep him feeling safe with arm bands or a float jacket. Work on him kicking about with these. Work up to him jumping in with you holding him or you lifting him in and out of the water. Teach him to float like a star fish on his back. Get him some Goggles and teach him to put his head up and blow bubbles. Only when you have done this work as his parent is he ready for swimming lessons.
Change to different lessons. I took mine for a year and he got nowhere. Changed to a different place and he was swimming within 5 lessons. Go to one where the instructors go in the water with the children. A new little boy started last week and he wouldn't go in at first. The instructor carried him in and bounced around with him the whole lesson and played with a watering can and balls. I heard her say to the mum when they finished that he hadn't wanted to get out and it's all about building confidence and having fun at first.
If you don't have a pool where they teach like this, I'd leave it for a bit and take him yourself and just play with him until he's happy in the water.
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