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How did your child learn to swim?

(36 Posts)
ilikeyoursleeves Sat 11-Jun-11 21:28:48

We are getting back into taking our ds's to the swimming pool after being out the way of it for ages, ds1 is 3.8 years & ds2 is nearly 2. We have never had the boys at 'official' swimming lessons but just really played about with them in the pool etc to get them used to the water. I'm just wondering how to progress them to actually learning how to swim? Anyone taught their own kids to swim or do all kids go to swimming lessons these days?

Bunbaker Sat 11-Jun-11 21:39:07

I took DD to swimming lessons. The reasons are many:
A teacher at the side of the pool can monitor the children's technique more easily
The teacher can discipline the children far better than parents and carries more authority
The teacher is a qualified swimming instructor and can teach different strokes and techniques far better than I can
Lessons won't be spoiled by other children messing around and jumping on top of you or your child as the pool will be used for swimming lessons only
I am extremely short sighted so for DD it was far safer to be with someone who could see properly.

create Sat 11-Jun-11 21:39:15

Mine have done swimming lessons, simply because my mum taught me, but never properly. I can swim, in that I can make it from one end of the pool to the other, but only in that strange head up breast stoke that middle aged women do.

I've always wanted to be able to do the stokes properly and one day will get round to having lessons myself.

I wouldn't start yet though. Our pool will take them from 3 and DS1 (PFB) did go at 3, but didn't seem to make much progress beyond doggy paddle until well into his first year at school. DS2 started when he was 5 and is now the better swimmer of the two.

FTB, just carry on having fun in the water.

hefferlump Sat 11-Jun-11 21:40:56

I took DS (3.6) to the local baths a few times and then went on a short holiday when we went in the pool twice a day because the weather was too bad to do much else. Anyway, he went from a Konfidence float jacket to armbands within 2 days and now we're home he's jumping in, ducking under water and given a brief opportunity he's treading water without armbands!
I am a firm believer that if you can go with them very regularly to have fun/teach them in a fun way then they will grasp it just as well if not better than formal swimming lessons.
I say this because I was taken to swimming class when I was little and hated it. I then went to the baths with friends for fun - copied them - learnt to swim then ended up swimming in competitions.
If you're not confident in water it really dosnt matter - they will just have fun and develop their own confidence given the right surroundings.

Rainydaze Sat 11-Jun-11 21:46:14

Aquatots. DS could swim a width unaided at the age of 2. He's now turned 3 and can dive in, swim to the bottom to collect a ring or something similar, and then do it all over again!

It's not cheap, but I'm very glad that he started early (about a month old, I think). He loves swimming, is confident and above all is safe in water.

ilikeyoursleeves Sat 11-Jun-11 21:56:25

I am a strong swimmer myself, been in a swimming club when younger, so wondered about teaching them myself. I'm not sure about how to teach them to go under water though? As in just their face so they get used to their head in water etc... And any recommendations for good arm bands that actually help them float?

Rainydaze Sat 11-Jun-11 22:02:09

Aquatots (I'm not on commission, by the way) don't use armbands. There's no need for them.

Ragwort Sat 11-Jun-11 22:04:39

I took DS to swimming 'lessons' from six months old - he went regularly for nine years grin and is a very confident swimmer. Well worth the investment (not particularly expensive - council leisure centre) - agree with Rainy don't bother with armbands.

cryhavoc Sat 11-Jun-11 22:13:22

My husband and I taught DD. Took her to the pool once or twice a week from about 18 months, and built up her strength and confidence. We used to take a little ball and get her to chase it - as soon as she worked out she could move by kicking her legs she was away.
As far as going under the water was concerned, we just got her to jump in (in armbands), catching her at first but then letting her go under and resurface.
When her kicking seemed strong enough we gradually let air out of her armband until they were virtually empty, then took them off.

She got her 25m badge the day before she turned 3, and now she's 3.3 she loves using dive sticks and doing forward rolls in the water.

Her confidence has always been really good though. Had she been less happy in the water, nervous or reluctant I think it would have been a slower process. We were lead by her really. Her friend is quite nervous in the water, and his parents have just started him at lessons because they think that will work better for him.

Woodlands Sun 12-Jun-11 11:06:14

my ds, 10.5 months, swam half a length yesterday with a float thing under his arms. he also started crawling yesterday. so he could move in the water basically before he could move on land! just shows it's never too young.

PeppaPigandGeorge Sun 12-Jun-11 13:28:51

We also do aquatots - the 'lessons' where you stay in the pool with them. Different pools may have a different name for them. There are different classes at our pool depending on age. Thet are really good fun and my 2 enjoy them more than when I just take them to the pool.

aliceliddell Sun 12-Jun-11 13:34:15

My friend is a swimming teacher. She says kids cannot learn to swim from scratch in the 12(?) lessons in yr 5(?) So they should go to proper lessons only when they are confident in and used to the water and can doggy paddle a bit or 'swim' badly.

titferbrains Sun 12-Jun-11 13:40:29

DD is 2.7 and we got one of these for our easter holiday, which meant she could "swim" independently using arms and legs but no irritating armbands. Her body was mostly submerged so it doesn't keep them too "high" out of the water IYKWIM. Hope to get her started on some lessons soon. She was pretty fearless from the very beginnning tho, we took her swimming last summer and she was happy jumping into our arms from the side or steps (over and over again...).

mosschops30 Sun 12-Jun-11 13:40:41

Both of mine have been to lessons.
Dd is now 14 and a good swimmer
Ds1 is 6 and very confident in the water,can swim a couple of lengths unaided.
Ds2 will start when hes about 4

Meglet Sun 12-Jun-11 13:44:52

4.6yo DS has had lessons since last Sept, he can't swim yet but it getting more confident and picking up the techniques. When we go on holiday this summer he will be in the pool every day to try and get him swimming.

DD will start lessons next Spring when she's 3.6.

MumblingRagDoll Sun 12-Jun-11 13:44:56

titferbrains...do they wear those things or hold them?

Hullygully Sun 12-Jun-11 13:47:55

Mine didn't have swimming lessons. I taught them both when they were five, one in a lake, one in the sea. And diving at seven. (It was what my dad did with us so I just copied it).

roguepixie Sun 12-Jun-11 13:51:18

DS started with Aquatots at 5mo. They teach swimming without swimming aids. He progressed to a couple of other swimming lesson providers until we found another one (Like Aquatots but for older children) who had lovely teachers and nice locations. He finished his Gold Lifesaving at age 9. He is now a club swimmer.

You will get a variety of responses to your question, I think, OP. Many will say that they taught their own children and others will say lessons are the way - I think you need to decide what you would rather do. I went for lessons as then I could spend time with my boy in the water just having fun and messing about. It worked for me.

Costs vary with some places being close to highway robbers ... and I speak as someone who found themselves paying over £145 for a terms' swimming for my DS as one time!!!! Until I thought about it and took him somewhere else - cheaper and better!!!

PM me if you live in or around London and want the details of an excellent swimming school.

inthesticks Sun 12-Jun-11 13:54:22

I found it surprisingly hard to teach my own children to swim. They were happy and confident in and under the water but I couldn't get much further. Group swimming lessons were a huge waste of money. DS1 went for a couple of years and made very little progress as there is so much time wasted hanging around for "your turn".
The best thing I ever did was to pay for one to one lessons. In the first lesson DS1 made more progress than in 2 years of group lessons.
I reckon 5 is about the right age for proper lessons, before that just have fun.

PeppaPigandGeorge Sun 12-Jun-11 13:56:55

titfer - did she take to the swimfin straight away? Mine (3) saw one in a shop, was very enthusiastic etc but now (after the £20+ has been spent) says "noooo, I don't want the sharky fin, I want to use a woggle". This is when we do "extra" swimming together (once a week), not aquatots.

adamschic Sun 12-Jun-11 14:02:30

Mine did swimming lessons and they didn't teach her to actually swim so when we went on holiday abroad, I taught her myself. Told her to keep her arms and legs moving, by shouting at her keep moving and she floated along and was off.

She did do some more lessons to get the right technique but gave them up eventually.

adamschic Sun 12-Jun-11 14:05:02

Also, meant to add that despite some experiences to the contrary, most children don't have the co-ordination to swim until they are around 5 years old. Mine had just turned 6 when she swam on her own unaided.

titferbrains Sun 12-Jun-11 15:21:58

The fin straps on their back. She did take to it straight away, as soon as she was in the water we were able to say "kick" and then let go of her to show her she was floating. We kept near the side but as soon as she realised she started having a go at letting go of the side and then became more confident. But I had not told her anything about the fin before we left so she didn't see or know about any other options for floatation style!!

Bunbaker Sun 12-Jun-11 15:23:08

"Mine did swimming lessons and they didn't teach her to actually swim so when we went on holiday abroad, I taught her myself. Told her to keep her arms and legs moving, by shouting at her keep moving and she floated along and was off."

I wonder if this was down to how good/bad the teacher was. You were obviously better than the swimming teacher. I was lucky that DD had two excellent swimming teachers that she liked. I chose that particular pool because they have a really good reputation at bringing children on. They also do crash courses in the holidays.

Bonsoir Sun 12-Jun-11 15:28:53

Agree with those posters who say that one-to-one lessons are the way to go - combined, of course, with lots of fun family trips to the pool/beach/lake.

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