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Swimming (but not lessons) for 26mo

(14 Posts)
MiaSparrow Mon 22-Apr-13 16:07:31

Hi all,

I'm feeling very guilty about this but we've been really crap getting into a swimming pool with DD who is now 26 months. She's only been a handful of times. I'm mainly blaming The Longest Winter Ever.

Anyway, I took her the other day and she loved it. We're not going to do structured lessons just yet because she has so much else on at the moment but I'm looking for tips to teach her myself.

The really great thing, despite us being so crap and despite bloody one year olds zooming past her on their own is that she's super confident and doesn't seem to have any fear of the water - when she bobbed her head in a few times she came up laughing, so that was encouraging.

Have you taught your DCs yourself at this age? Any useful tips beyond the obvious holding out a float and kicking?

Thanks! xx

PleaseLetsGoToSleep Mon 22-Apr-13 21:55:41

Bumping, I'm in the same boat with my 18 month old.
Hope someone has some suggestions!

MiaSparrow Mon 22-Apr-13 21:58:24


I feel terrible! blush

MrsOakenshield Mon 22-Apr-13 22:00:34

I take my 3 year old, colds permitting, as often as possible (obviously we haven't been at all this year grin). We go to a hydrotherapy pool, so it's very shallow (I'm never more than shoulder deep and I'm short - I've met non-swimmer gps in there!) and warm. I dunk her under quite a lot (started off kind of swooping her under, but now I just dunk) which she loves, and we have a rubber ring so she can be independent, and I'm trying to teach her to kick and she does seem to be able to propel herself to the side. I taker her out of the ring in the shallow bit and she loves working out when she's out of her depth. I think I might get some armbands as I think they might be better for her actually learning to swim, but I would start off with the ring, they are great.

MiaSparrow Mon 22-Apr-13 22:15:07

Thanks. Glad to know I'm not the only one whose toddler can't properly swim yet! (I'm sure I didn't learn until 4 or 5... I was defo at school). Yes, she has armbands. We haven't got to the swooping under stage but maybe we'll try that next time. I guess so much of it is to do with confidence in the first place and technique will follow? <hopes>.

MiaSparrow Mon 22-Apr-13 22:16:16

Oh and yes we have a ring too - will bring that next time.

NaturalBaby Mon 22-Apr-13 22:19:20

Our local leisure centre has baby drop in sessions and we just sing and swish them round for 1/2hr!
It's mainly about confidence at this age but we're doing a bit of water safety as well - teaching them to get into the pool properly (instead of throwing themselves in without looking like my 3yr old) and practicing jumping in then going back to the side to hold onto it.

We're started doing hand movements swishing through the water, getting him to kick his feet and I always hold him in a swimming position rather than upright. I do a lot of swishing so he can feel the water move past his body.

LtGreggs Mon 22-Apr-13 22:27:07

It's unusual to be able to swim at 4 or 5 (some kids can, but the vast majority not). This is from what I see of the peer group of my DCs, who are 4 & 6.

I've taken DCs swimming loads since DC1 was around 2.5, so they are very used to the water, confident etc. DC1 started lessons at age 5, and at 6.3 can probably (just) swim a length on a good day. DC2 does not have lessons yet. From what I see, most 3 & 4 year olds totally cannot master doing the 'straight leg kicking' (rather than bicycle legs) that you need to do to swim effectively. They start to be able to get it around 5ish. DC2 (4yo) can 'swim' in that he usually doesn't wear armbands and can go 2/3 metres in a fairly inefficient manner - but I wouldn't class this as really being able to swim.

Thus - don't worry about teaching toddler to swim. Just enjoy the water!

Armbands much better than ring for independence, IME.

monkeytennismum Mon 22-Apr-13 22:35:34

Background: I have 3 young DCs. Eldest two started lessons aged 3, youngest is not old enough yet. Before they start lessons I just took them whenever I could. I tend to do armbands in the main pool then take them off in the baby pool / shallow end so they get the idea that they don't naturally float.

In their first lessons aged 3 the teachers tend to do the following (no armbands):
1. Get them to 'monkey' along the edge of the pool. In the water, holding onto the edge and moving up and down the pool.
2. Hold onto edge of pool and kick legs.
3. Teacher holds their hands and walks backwards so they are 'swimming' supported.
4. Jump off edge of pool into teachers arms / water in front of teacher if braver.

Hope this helps and enjoy it!! smile

looseleaf Tue 23-Apr-13 19:42:36

Both ours have had a terms' lessons and no sign of any armbands anywhere as I think you get a more natural swimming position with one of those noodles? They practice things like kicking their way across the (shallow) pool with noodle supporting them and holding a float too sometimes to get their arms out ahead of them. And getting used to being wet so blowing bubbles, brief submersion etc, and goggles make a big difference

MiaSparrow Thu 25-Apr-13 15:51:36

Thanks for the advice, all! Really helpful. thanks

Jemimabelle Fri 26-Apr-13 20:56:39

I agree with keeping it fun whilst they are young. We did aqua babies lessons with our ds 18mo since he was 4 months but he has now got a fear of being in the water in case he gets dunked, which the lessons rely quite heavily on. Suffice to say we have quit the lessons. I spoke to a colleague who also instructs children and he thinks most kids learn best from about 6 years old and progress much quicker from then on, so we need to back off with the dunking and just keep it fun, using arm bands and building his confidence in the water.

MiaSparrow Sat 27-Apr-13 15:13:01

Ha, that's really interesting, Jemima I was beginning to think the same about the dunking thing - and I wondered if DD hating her hair being washed was something to do with her just not being used to having water on her face & in her eyes, but I took her swimming this morning, thinking we'd just have a quick little bob up and down and half way through she comes out with "Mummy I want to go under water". So I dunked her! By the end she was jumping in from the side and going right under because she saw a big girl doing it and wanted to copy her. She even managed to "swim" (ie get from A to B, splashing) on her own, with armbands. I'm shocked! I really didn't expect her to be so confident. We're going to go every week now. Will defo still keep it fun, but I think at this stage her confidence is everything. I'm so pleased!

looseleaf Sat 27-Apr-13 16:57:45

I refused to dunk last term as was affecting DS' enjoyment. But this term tried and he objects but then asks for more swimming so I think getting more used to the water. Sounds great about your day Miasparrow! How exciting

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