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Swimming lessons 2.8 year old

(19 Posts)
PPT Tue 23-Oct-12 13:47:25

My son has been going swimming with me since he was about 4 months. We've changed pool a couple of times- but he has been going to this particular pool for over a year.

Over about the last 3 months he's started refusing to do any of the more 'independent' parts of the lesson. The teacher uses waist floats, and arm discs- but DS clings to me like a petrified limpet. He used to do this part just fine- nothing has prompted this as far as I can see. The class is slightly repetitive so I wonder if he is playing up because he's bored?

I'm a little embarrassed to be frank. He is at the upper end in this age group and the other boys and girls seem more compliant, whilst my DS is wailing and flailing! He also has a habit of legging it when we do activities that involve climbing out the pool.

I grew up overseas so learnt to swim from a very early age due to constant exposure! We don't have that luxury here as only have 1 day off with him in the week due to work, and this is the day we have our lesson.

What would you do? Any similar experiences? Would it be worth switching to a one to one lesson?

vodkaanddietirnbru Tue 23-Oct-12 14:21:17

he's still young. Neither of mine started proper swimming lessons until around the age of 4 and then picked it up very quickly. I would probably take him out of the lessons for a while and go as a family at the weekends, etc and see if you can build his confidence up again. There is no pressing need for him to be able to swim at his age so take the pressure off for a while

ZuzuandZara Tue 23-Oct-12 14:29:53

PPT I've taken my DC to flippin expensive water babies since they were titchy. One of them really lost her confidence for a couple of months and was really clingy in the water. We persevered (twins and one was still loving it) and she's back to her old self, flinging herself around like she's ready to swim the channel. I just let her be a bit clingy, reassured her lots and gently encouraged her.

I think it's pretty normal.

As vodka said, it's not vital to learn to swim at a young age, and in fact they can't really swim until a bit older and they have the strength to support their own weight in the water.

If you enjoy it carry on, I'm sure his confidence will come back. If it's really miserable for you both then quit lessons for a while but definitely keep taking him swimming. The worse thing you can do is avoid the water completely if he's going through a wobbly phase.

ZuleikaD Tue 23-Oct-12 15:37:53

I agree that if you go again just to have fun and drop the lessons for a while then he may get his confidence back.

For what it's worth, on my paediatric first aid course (taught by a paramedic) we were told that there's no real point sending small children to swimming lessons because they can't swim effectively until they're 5 or so and it can actually be counter-productive in terms of giving them an unjustified confidence around water.

PPT Tue 23-Oct-12 17:21:59

Thanks everyone. We have a family holiday coming up somewhere warm, so hopefully he'll have lots of fun time in the pool... and it'll help build his confidence. It's just deflating when he seems to find it so tortuous, and it is so expensive, so hopefully some fun in the sun will make it more enjoyable!

I'm probably stressing unduly as some of the wee children in DS's class seem to heading towards Michael Phelps standard... whereas, mine seems more Usain Bolt... but sprinting away from the pool! (I know I mustn't compare!)

Halfcups Wed 24-Oct-12 14:59:30

Agree with other posts. Don t bother with the lessons until at least 4 and able to fully understand instructions. There's so much out there for babies and toddlers that is way too early for them to really participate in. Just a way of making lots of money.......

ZuzuandZara Wed 24-Oct-12 15:13:03

Halfcups I have to disagree.

My children (2.10) love swimming lessons and fully participate in every lesson. They really do. It's a half hour of the children being on task almost every minute, targetted at their age group. Yes the company make lots of money but that's parents choice. We don't pay for much else for them (free family centre playgroups) but this is one I'm very glad we signed up to.

ZuleikaD Wed 24-Oct-12 15:39:36

Am shock at 'on task'.

ZuzuandZara Wed 24-Oct-12 16:46:45

Zulieka why?

ZuleikaD Thu 25-Oct-12 07:54:43

Didn't mean to offend, the phrase just sounded a bit 'tiger mother'. Most developmental folk consider that under-3s learn best by playing, not by being 'on task every minute'.

ZuzuandZara Thu 25-Oct-12 09:33:23

Christ, there's nothing tiger motherish about me.

The children being 'on task' at swimming is a result of how much they enjoy the lessons, not an expectation.

Swimming is half hour of play, we just happen to be in the water. Singing nursery rhymes, jumping in to the water, stirring imaginary paint into the water blah blah.

There's often an element on here of swimming 'lessons' being a waste of time or too 'pushy' for toddlers. I'm using the phrase 'on task' to explain that my children and the children in our lessons follow the teacher the whole lesson (out of choice!) and they're really not a waste of time, too pushy, too early.

Also (I'll get off my soapbox in a minute!) their not really 'swimming lessons' as they're called, babies and toddlers obviously can't swim, they should be renamed 'playing in water sessions'.

We love swimming!

Good luck OP grin

geminigirl Thu 25-Oct-12 09:47:01

Both our local swimming pools won't accept learners until they're 5.... they say that they need to be able to understand and follow simple instructions. I totally get where they're coming from, hoping the ability to listen and actually follow instruction will miraculously develop in a months time when DS is 5.......(sigh)...hmm

ZuzuandZara Thu 25-Oct-12 10:11:12

That's mad geminigirl (not you, the pool!) There's loads of things that my 2.10 yrs DDs can do and have been able to for months as I'm sure most can.

PPT Sun 28-Oct-12 08:53:21

I think that's where we're going wrong then... The lesson really isn't much about play sad, although I do try and put my own slant on it and tell him that we're a mummy and baby bear (or fish, or frog etc. you get my drift!). I think if he fails to be enjoying it we'll withdraw in the new year and either just go ourselves and muck about or find another more lively class! Thanks everyone for your insights.

tacal Sun 28-Oct-12 09:19:33

My ds made much more progress at the local pool with me than he did at swimming lessons. I suppose it depends on the child. My ds likes to figure things out for himself and do it in his own time. Swimming lessons were probably pushing him too fast so he lost interest. At the local pool he could run about in the shallow water and have fun until he was ready to try swimming with his arm floats on.

RillaBlythe Sun 28-Oct-12 09:25:05

gg that's weird, so a child could have been understanding & following instructions for a year in primary school before they can learn to swim?

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 28-Oct-12 09:47:33

My dd hated swimming as a baby, though gradually came to like it more. I took her to swimming lessons for a few months when she was 4, and she hated them. The class was small (6 kids at the most) and she was familiar with the pool, but she absolutely refused to go in without me and wouldn't join in. We obviously stopped going.

I also felt deflated and like I was a bit crap because all the other children got in without their parent and just got on with it.

This summer, when she'd just turned 5, we went on holiday to somewhere warm with heated swimming pool. We couldn't get her out of the water - she loved it. She's now progressed to bobbing about independently and jumping in with arm bands on, which is so much further on than she was before the summer.

What I'm trying to say is that don't stress the lessons. Your holiday sounds perfect and then focus on swimming to enjoy. If you want to go swimming with your son on your one day off, does it have to be a lesson, or could you just go for the pleasure of it?

I obviously would like dd to learn to swim, but this summer taught me that when she's ready, she can do a 'crash' course one holiday and pound to a penny she's progress very quickly.

Pascha Sun 28-Oct-12 10:15:23

DS did this in the summer when he was about 20-22 months, every time we went into deeper water. I really wanted to carry on the structure of a class so the teacher advised us to change classes to one on a different day which focusses much more on shallow water confidence - lots of picking up treasure, crawling like a crocodile, lots of games. It was a phase and once he realised he didn't have to go deeper if he didn't want to, he became much much happier. Within a few weeks he was ok in the deeper water with discs on again, though he still looks at noodles with suspicion.

EBDTeacher Sun 28-Oct-12 17:12:43

My DS (2.2) can follow instructions well enough to learn loads of useful pre-swimming skills. hmm

He's done waterbabies since 6mo or so and can now (for example), on 'command' stand with his toes curled over the edge and jump in. He can then turn around underwater, kick up to the surface, grab the wall and climb out entirely independently. I'm not saying that that would save his life if he fell into water unexpectedly but I think it's better to have the instinct to do it than not!

He can also propel himself underwater by kicking, kick along on his back and front using a woggle and is learning to doggy paddle and a kind of 'double scoop' that will be useful for breaststroke.

We also go swimming as a family most weekends and he wears a Konfidence jacket. It that he can swim really well (under eagle eyed supervision) including changing direction and 'righting' himself to stand up.

I don't think the lessons have been a waste at all!

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