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Swimming - will my ds EVER enjoy it?????

(26 Posts)
Ali5 Thu 21-Jun-07 11:43:16

Need some reassurance here, bear with me it's a long one...
Took ds to a mum and baby pool session when he was 6 months old. He spent the entire 6 weeks clinging onto various parts of me, my hair and my swimming cozzie. He relaxed slightly when chasing a ball!
If DH and I go, he's clingy at first and then relaxes and seems to quite enjoy it.
I booked water babies to try and build his confidence and the first session was yesterday. The same thing happened, clingy and tears even. I thought he didn't like the first sessions coz the pool was cool - the water babies one is 35 degrees.
Do I persevere, as the water babies lady advises (she puts it down to separation anxiety which babies his age can get, but he's been the same for 5 months now!) or should I give up and try again in a year or so?
I'm worried that if I carry on he'll just end up with a phobia of any water that's not his bath (which he loves btw) and also, it's upsetting me. But I also think it's important he has confidence in the water and knows how to keep himself safe.
Anyone else been in a similar position?

IdrisTheDragon Thu 21-Jun-07 11:45:50

Have to admit I am not a taking babies (or small children) swimming type of person - but DS has been through a few phases of hating baths and I can see that the same could happen with going swimming.

Personally, I'd stop going swimming - 5 months is a long time to be doing something that both you and your DS aren't enjoying. I think also that children can't learn to swim until they are at least 2.5, and there is plenty of time for your DS to enjoy the water more.

hana Thu 21-Jun-07 11:48:29

of course the instructor is going to say to stick with it, it's money in her pocket!
I would def stop going, why do something that your son isn't enjoying?

There is plenty of time for water confidence and keeping safe in the water when he's older

my daughter started proper lessons at 5 and loves them now (nearly 6) Never took her to organized mums and baby lessons when she was little, I didn't see the point.

Ali5 Thu 21-Jun-07 11:48:33

Sorry, need to be clearer - took him for the 6 weeks session when he was 6 months old - only taken him occasionally since then with dh.

hana Thu 21-Jun-07 11:49:25

my 9 month old hasn't been near a pool yet
my 2 year old has been a handful of times, and I'm sure when thye're older that they will learn to swim and enjoy it

lots of time

TheApprentice Thu 21-Jun-07 11:51:56

What a relief to see this post! Dh has been taking ds (5 and a half months) to Waterbabies for past few weeks. Despite him loving the bath, he is not getting on at all well! Dh had complained so I went along too this week to see for myself. It was awful! He can't stand the dunking bit and once that had happened was absolutley inconsolable. In fact he was upset for the rest of the day. What made it worse was that all the other babies seemed to love it!

To be fair, Waterbabies have been very good and said just go to the class and don't dunk, but if we want to carry on he'll have to do the whole set of lessons all over again, and at the extortionate price I don't think we'll be going again when this term ends.

Like you, am worried he will end up with phobia, and the whole point is to help his confidence , not dent it. So we have decided just to go swimming over the summer in a low key way, no dunking and getting out as soon as he gets upset.

What puzzles me is why he hates it so much. Whats surprised me is how upset I have been over it. FFS he's only 5 months!

PinkChick Thu 21-Jun-07 11:54:49

my dd age 4 loves the baths, booked her 11 lessons recently to help her learn to swim properly and she hated it, she can swim sooo well, but she didnt like being in there without one of us and the teacher was a bitch!...just take it slowly when you all go together, ii was getting annoyed with her but i know thats not going to help, so we went a few days later just me and her for a splash about and she was swimming again fantastically!(p.s i got money back from lessons too!)

PinkChick Thu 21-Jun-07 11:55:42

when you think about it though, children even my dd's age are used to geting about on their legs, crawling and suddenly all this weightlessness in water MUST un nerve them?

RedTartanLass Thu 21-Jun-07 11:56:38

Lol, had exactly the same with my ds2 at Waterbabies. Loved it at first then at about 6-7 months screamed his bloody eyes out, was all for giving up, but when I took him to other pools he loved it. Think it must have been something to do with pool. Anyway he's 3 now and swims like a fish, mostly underwater, people are amazed when they see this wee thing "diving" in and swimming over to me. [proud mum emoticon]

PinkChick Thu 21-Jun-07 11:58:03

oh yeah and the pool dd was learning i was freezing!

Ali5 Thu 21-Jun-07 12:05:29

I just wish I knew what it was that turns him from a bright smiley baby into a clingy wuss!
He loves a bit of rough and tumble at home, being pretend dropped, being thrown in the air - he laughs his head off and the only thing that's different is that there's a bit of warm water involved!!!
The bizarre thing is that whilst he's not 'doing' anything like the bouncing or splashing water on face (she didn't dunk him under this week!) he's grinning at the other babies and pointing at all the lights, so it doesn't appear to be being in the pool...?
eeeh. Do you think I'll get my money back? - you have to pay for the 10 weeks up front.

Budababe Thu 21-Jun-07 12:13:39

My DS is now almost 6 and is still v. nervous. Started taking him when he was a baby and he was hysterical. Even just sitting at side of pool. Did progress to us getting in and he just clung on to me.

Then we moved and I let it go.

It started going swimming with his nursery class and was v. nervous but his teacher was great and did one on one with him while the instructor carried on with the others. He did get to joining in generally and enjoying it by the end of Reception.

Then in Yr 1 they use a different pool we reverted to him hating it.

But he is totally fine when in his depth. I organised one on one lessons for him and he hated the teacher so that didn't work.

I think some children just don't like the water as much as others. I have a phobia as a result of being made jump in aged 6 and nearly drowning. I eventually learned to swim aged 26 and am still not great - hate being out of my depth.

If your DS enjoys just going along for a splash about with you or your DH I would just concentrate on that for a while. He doesn't need to swim yet!

TheApprentice Thu 21-Jun-07 12:13:57

My dh said something about you getting your money back if you only go to one session, but you would need to check that out.

My ds sounds v similar toyours, he too loves rough and tumble, is very interested in other babies and the lights too of course!

Don't suppose we'll ever know whats bothering them.................

Lucycat Thu 21-Jun-07 12:18:15

tbh I think I'd hate being dunked too.

I agree don't take him - do something else instead.

My dd went through this phase until she was about 2.5 when she suddenly decided that she would let go of my finger - by this time she could stand up in the little pool - she's 4.1 now and swims like a little fish, or should that be sinks?

we really do put pressure on ourselves as parents don't we?

How about Tumbletots if he is into active games?

Wisteria Thu 21-Jun-07 12:19:04

My eldest DD didn't sit down in the bath for a year after she experienced a swimming pool and she had no obvious trauma or scare whatsoever. I did try to persevere for a while but it did no good. She finally sat down in the bath again when she saw younger dd quite happy in there.
She learnt to swim at 5 (I do think it's important that you push it a bit later on) but still would rather be out of water than in and I don't think that will ever change.
Doubt if you'll get your money back but I hope you do!

aquababe Thu 21-Jun-07 12:22:58

my dd has been brought swimming since the age of 4 months but not once in that time have I wasted money on swimming lessons.(shes 18m now)

she didn't like it the first few times we went. I think it was the strange noises. she also calmed down a lot when it was just me.

but I persevered and now we go everyweek and she loves it she loves playing with the other babies and seeing mummys face as she splashes me(I hate water on my face)

(Admittedly I do have an urgency to seeing her swim as her father is desperate to drag her out in a canoe on rivers)

you say he enjoys being in the pool just let him enjoy it play with him as you would at home and scrap lessons and the focus on swimming he'll get there in his own good time.

damewashalot Thu 21-Jun-07 12:23:06

Haven't read all the posts but I would say stop the classes but make sure you go as a family to build his confidence and worry about classes later by which time he will be used to the pool having been with you lots it should all be less stressful.

Ali5 Thu 21-Jun-07 12:30:49

What a relief to read your comments, thanks. You're right, we do put ourselves under pressure, and I never thought I was going to be that sort of mum! I think it's only over the swimming though, because I'm not that confident in the water, don't like being out of my depth.
I really wanted ds to have dh's confidence and assumed (wrongly it seems!)starting early was the way.
Might try a session at the local pool with dh this weekend and see what happens.

Squeakybub Thu 21-Jun-07 12:30:57

Message withdrawn

Ali5 Thu 21-Jun-07 12:34:55

Just as a matter of interest...Any positive water baby stories out there?

Jaynerae Thu 21-Jun-07 14:17:29

My DD has always been a nightmare when I have taken her swimming would not let go of me. The noise and splashing frightened her. I stopped taking her, only went for fun at this point no classes. Then when she hit 3 I booked her in for lessons where she goes in the water with tutors - and I watch on dry land! First three weeks she sat on the side and screamed! I had to encourage her to put a foot in - I did a bit of ignoring aswell! Now she is 3.5 and they have moved her up to the next class as she is so confident. I think me being in the water made things worse - when only a tutor was in there she had no choice but to get on with it.

I'd stop and start again later with lessons when old enough.

RedTartanLass Thu 21-Jun-07 22:04:14

"wasted money on swimming lessons" What!!!

Take it, aquababe you didn't bother to read my post!!!

Waterbabies was some of the best money I've spent on my kids. DD1 & DS2 are confident and happy in the water, although DD's lungs are not "large" enough to enable her to float she quite happly jumps in from the side and "swims" to me (underwater).

IMO, Ali5, especially as you mentioned you are not confident in the water, I would persevere. Let DH go in, and you watch from the side. Honestly it passes, if he get distressed, just stop and watch from the side.

As you say it is important he has confidence and more importantly understanding of the water, as the peak ages of drowning are 1-4 years old (and 15-19.) 42 children drowned in baths in 2002 and 28 in pools and ponds.

MadamePlatypus Thu 21-Jun-07 22:16:44

I have a positive swimming story! DS has been going to Aquatots since he was 10 weeks old (I think this is similar to waterbabies?). He is now 3.6 and loves swimming under water, jumping in, and diving for rings. DD has just completed her first session at Aquatots (she is 8 months) and loves it too.

Swimming lessons are a highlight of the week for both DH and I.

Ecmo Thu 21-Jun-07 22:30:25

I would give it a rest for a while .
my ds hated swimming when he was a toddler. He also used to panic about hair washing every time he had a bath. he was REALLY bad When we went on holiday he just used to sit on the side of the pool and dip his feet in. I tried swimming lessons when he was about 3 or 4 but he used to get so stressed out days in advance i gave up.
However when he was about 7 or 8 I booked him some private lessons as I was feeling a bit sad that my others were having so much fun and he wouldn't even go in. the teacher had him swimming in about 3 weeks and he now loves it and goes down flumes and slides etc. He only had private lessons for about 4 terms and then joined the swimming club for about 3 years till he passed all the basic groups.

Elibean Thu 21-Jun-07 22:33:50

I took dd to Aquatot type class when 5 months old, and she didn't exactly hate it - but was noticeably underwhelmed. It wasn't fun for either of us, tbh - and I think the water was far too cold, which didnt' help.

After that, I backed off and just tried swimming with me/dh for fun occasionally (in warmer pools) and she was happier, but still not overly keen - and a bit clingy.

Then suddenly, at about 2.5, she loved it - I think she had become confident physically in other ways, running, climbing etc, and it helped her in the water. From clinging to me, she went to splashing around on her own with armbands on and wanting to be shown how to swim without them - and the change came from inside her, not from anything I did. Before that, she wasn't ready - and no amount of classes, pushing, begging, or role-modelling was going to help.

I honestly wouldn't worry too much at this age: fun with you/dh, enjoying the bath, all that is GOOD. Swimming classes if he enjoys them, fine - but if not, I'd vote for stopping, personally.

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