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2 YO swimming lessons - is it the case you have to be cruel to be kind with forcing her underwater?

(55 Posts)
Reastie Mon 10-Jun-13 18:06:43

Any advice on this?

DD is nearly 2.5. We have been doing swimming lessons for several months. She has always hated going underwater or getting her face wet. She's gone through a couple of phases where she has screamed through the whole lesson pretty much and it's directly related to fear of going underwater and she chokes every time she goes underwater and has cried afterwards. She seems to slowly build up confidence again whilst I don't put her underwater but then as soon as she thinks I might she goes back to square one with being scared and crying through the lessons.

I'm feeling like an awful mother about this. My gut instinct is to not put her under the water at all and keep her happy and build her confidence and in time she'll learn to swim, and if she never likes putting her head under water then it doesn't matter, she'll just swim doggy paddle forever more. She won't win swimming galas but then who cares about that... However, my swimming teacher is strongly of the position that I need to be cruel to be kind and in the long run it's the best thing for her just forcing her in as it will make her a more confident swimmer in the long term and by me saying no to her going underwater I'm stifling her progress and ability.

PoppyWearer Thu 25-Jul-13 21:04:03

We stopped lessons for DC1 around 2yo as she started to be scared of the water due to the continual forced dunking.

Now slowly resuming (she has just finished Reception year at school) but the fear is still there.

We have done lots of fun swimming in the meantime but I am so angry about our decision to follow the previous lessons. We spent a fortune.

Amiee Fri 26-Jul-13 15:31:47

My daughter hated it too.
We encouraged her to blow bubbles in the bath by putting her face under water and she will do it now.
I agree with the general consensus. Don't water-board an unwilling toddler.

NellyTheElephant Fri 26-Jul-13 22:50:51

To be honest I really don't get why you would do this. Yes, children need to learn to swim, but at 2??? We have our own swimming pool, but none of my three learnt to swim until about 4 and a half. Before that they wore arm bands and enjoyed every minute of freely zooming around the pool (with head firmly above water!). At 4 ish they developed enough confidence to swim - and wanted to. DS (now 4.3) just learnt about 3 weeks ago and within a week of being arm band free was swimming like a little fish, diving down to pick up sinkers from the bottom of the pool. Let her be, let her enjoy the water, there is plenty of time to learn.

TheBakeryQueen Sat 27-Jul-13 20:04:00

You do not have to be cruel to be kind, no.

What you have described is very obviously cruel.

Like a previous poster mentioned 'water boarding', what you have described is not unlike water torture.

Obviously the teacher has made you doubt your instincts.

Trust your instincts on this one, and don't continue to do something to a child, which a) isn't necessary and b) is making her shake with fear. hmm

SwimmingConfusion Sat 05-Mar-16 20:43:48

Hi Reastie

I know you posted a few years ago, but was just wondering what you did in the end please?

We are going through a very similar situation with my 2 years 3 month old. He's been swimming since 5 months but has always hated going underwater. He finally seemed to start enjoying lessons recently, though not the underwater part, but we've just been moved up a class to where he's supposed to go in the water alone, but it's caused more distress than ever & i've ended up back in the water with him but he still cries throughout. Having said that our last lesson was better, no screaming just some crying.

It's also got to the point where he's having nightmares about it & when I go in to settle him he says 'I don't want to go underwater'. I'm petrified of traumatising him but am keen for him to swim. We go for fun swims a few times a week too but the lessons are distressing for both of us & I'm so confused as to what the right thing to do is, especially when he seemed better last lesson, yet still continues to have these nightmares & worries.

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