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Encouraging 3 yr old to get in swimming pool

(14 Posts)
maximama Mon 05-Jan-15 16:58:35

Ds3 is on his 3rd swimming lesson and refusing to get into pool (again). Bribery and encouragement do not seem effective, any tips?
Ds1 (7) has his lesson at same time. Ds3 (3) is a twin, and has always been happy and enthusiastic to come swimming with dp. Ds2 (3) is not keen, so as it is super hard to get an entry level swim school place round here and only 1 came up (first for months) we decided to just enrol ds3 and not his twin. He is excited to come to his lesson, but then does not want to get in. I realise it may just be too soon for him but I don't want to give up on it without giving it a good try, seeing as it is so hard to get a place. I can't go in with him because dd1 is 6months and ebf so can't leave her with anyone (and have no one to leave her with at this time).
The other kids in the class are all totally water confident and the teachers time is pretty much taken up with them so it seems that it is left up to me to coax him into the water. She occasionally says 'would you like to get in?' And he says 'no' and that's it. Is that normal/the best policy? Feel a bit like what am I paying for although of course she can't spend all the lesson getting him in. Frustration (standing by poolside as I type...)

Ferguson Mon 05-Jan-15 19:24:32

At age three, why on Earth does a child have to have swimming lessons if they don't enjoy it?

Wait a year or two.

maximama Mon 05-Jan-15 19:38:25

The main reason that we want him to have lessons is that it is very difficult to get swimming with 4 children so it rarely happens, whereas it is manageable to get to swimming lessons, where we don't both have to be there and in the water, on a weekly basis. I think that swimming is an essential skill for safety reasons of nothing else that I would prefer is learnt as early as possible. We started the lessons in consultation with ds3, he was keen, and is keen on the idea but just a little nervous of the class setting in practice. I was hoping someone may have some helpful tips for gentle encouragement. Of course if he continues not to want to take part after a few weeks we will reconsider the situation, smile

Guyropes Mon 05-Jan-15 19:42:58

Swimming pools a weird places. My kids found them hard. However they loved paddling and gradually going in deeper, and that's where they got the water confidence from to enjoy swimming lessons. Not the right time of year for that though (assuming you're in Northern Europe!)

IHeartKingThistle Mon 05-Jan-15 19:51:37

DS was terrified of swimming at that age. On his nursery teacher's advice, we took him to a quiet kids pool with wide steps, sat him on the top step with a little watering can (and armbands!) and let him play while the rest of us swam. Then we gradually encouraged him down each step one at a time at his own speed. He then got in quite happily, but we took him out when he'd had enough. We did a few sessions like that. He's 5.5 now and loves swimming but I still haven't started him with lessons (DD didn't start till 6 and she's not behind her peers really). Formal lessons when DS was 3 would have been a disaster.

summerlovingliz Mon 05-Jan-15 20:15:39

I had the same thing with my Ds at that age.. He is 4.5 now and loves his lessons. I do think the instructor should work a bit harder to control coax him in, part of her job is water confidence. Taking a little t pot and cups to play at side for a while with or s water can might help, it did for us

maximama Mon 05-Jan-15 20:27:20

Thanks, We are in England smile. will try water toys next week. They have them at the pool so I'll ask the teacher if she can give him some to mess around with at the edge.

VikingLady Mon 05-Jan-15 20:30:01

Does he like any TV programmes that would help? DD (2.6 at the time) was terrified if getting in the water, then of letting go of me - until she saw Peppa Pig do it

WorrisomeHeart Mon 05-Jan-15 20:30:56

We had the same problem with DS at the same age - we actually ended up pulling him out half way through the course when it became apparent that he would by go in the water and the teacher was not prepared/didn't have the time to spend coaxing him in. It's actually damaged his water confidence to some extent and we've had to work on building it up again with casual trips to the pool. I'd say if the sitting on the steps with a watering can doesn't help, then don't push it, take him out and try him again in a year or so.

TeenAndTween Mon 05-Jan-15 20:49:06

I'd ditch the lessons and get your DP / the twins DF to take them at w/e while you look after baby. Sit on the steps and play with watering cans to start with.

No point in my opinion to pay for lessons just to get your child into the water. Wait until they are confident in the water (including putting face in) then pay to learn to swim.

Jaffakake Mon 05-Jan-15 21:03:41

I suggest looking at a different lesson provider if possible.

I live in Manchester, so I may be speaking from a city dwellers point if view where there's lots of choice though. Ds has been going to a private swim class run at a local gym. You start with them in the pool, but later classes they go on their own. Progression is entirely based on each kids progress. Emphasis is on safety & all the kids are crazy about the teacher. So ds (3) when starting in classes on his own would cry but I'd dump him in the water & leave him in full knowledge he was safe. after about 4 weeks he was fine & will get in himself.

Alternatively I agree with pp that you need to work on getting them water confident before leaving them with a teacher.

Fantail Tue 06-Jan-15 05:39:33

How big is the class? If there is 4 and all but your son is water confident the the teacher should be able to give your son the time. Small goals, say sitting on side, then on side with feet in, then "will you get me (the teacher wet), then can you kick your legs in the pool, then will you come with me down the other end of the pool (down other end of the pool) ...and so on.

If the teacher can't do this then ditch the lessons and take him yourself until he is 4 and try again.

As a former swim teacher (I taught end 3 year olds - pre-competitive level), I think that any time between 3 and 4 is a great time to learn and certainly every 5 year old should be confident and able to safely enter and exit the water, even if they can't swim.

But then we are New Zealanders and perhaps have a different attitude. DD is 4 in March and we have just started her off with swimming lessons. She is happy in the water, but can't hold her breath.

Other observation is sometimes it is better if Mum doesn't stay and watch...

maximama Tue 06-Jan-15 17:54:15

Thank you all, I appreciate the views and experiences. Think I will speak to the teacher about her giving him a bit of attention, the last week before Xmas (lesson 2) he did get in and she ignored him. Was a bit miffed.

Orphanblue Wed 07-Jan-15 07:48:15

I would ditch the lessons and just play on the steps with toys. He will get in when he is ready. We did this with ds (2.5) and at 3 he is now crazy about water. He can almost swim by himself. I should add getting him a swimfin helped a great deal giving him autonomy in the water. I think the jackets with removable floaties are similarly good. Neither restrict movements and allow them to move around safely.

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