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Pool fun/Learning to swim/bouyancy aids for toddlers - advice wanted

(31 Posts)
JimbobJones Mon 18-Aug-08 13:27:35


I take my DS (just turned 2) to the local toddler swim session on Sunday mornings...been about 5 times now and he loves it!

We spend about 30 mins in the pool, he goes on my shoulders, likes to hold on to ther bar and move himself along (supported by me of course), splash about and also watch daddy blow bubbles. He has also recently learned that he enjoys having a shower afterwards!

He can be clingy and holds on to me a lot in a cuddle position whilst we move around the pool but is always smiling and laughing.

I want him to use some kind of bouyancy aid so he can learn to have some independance from me in the pool (obviously with me still in touching distance and still supporting him with my hands.)

I'd like to hear any recommendations anyone may have, share experiences and get some general tips and advice


mrsbabookaloo Mon 18-Aug-08 13:31:59

Watching this with interest

used2bthin Mon 18-Aug-08 13:32:19

I've been wondering about this too. You can get those suits with floats in that you can take out or add for more or less support. Or they come as little zip up jackets. Mothercare do them. I'll be watching this thread though as haven't yet bought one for DD as wasn't sure whether it would help her or not as someone once said to me that it puts them in the wrong position for learning to swim as it keeps them upright, any thoughts on this anyone? I can't even remember who said that to me so for all I know it may be rubbish!I tried arm bands on dd last week for the first time, just borrowed the ones at the pool, she then could float between me and my Dad which she loved.

LIZS Mon 18-Aug-08 13:32:26

Try a polystyrene foam woggle/noodle( scroll to bottom). They go under the arms/across chest, giving free arm and leg movement, or can be ridden like a hobby horse. You can join the ends to make a ring and use alongside arm bands(or the foam ring version) at first.

christywhisty Mon 18-Aug-08 13:33:49

My dc's had swimming lessons from babies and the teachers used these discs

As they get more confident you just remove them one at a time. Shop around and you could probably get them cheaper. He may only need 2 on each arm to start with.

LIZS Mon 18-Aug-08 13:34:36

ah that was what I meant by foam ring arm bands

peanutbutterkid Mon 18-Aug-08 13:37:45

With his little floatie suit on my 4yo can swim on his back, on his front, on his side, any old position. Can't see that it limits him at all, just keeps him from sinking.

Friends who used the same Aquafloaties suits from early age have kids who all swim like fish from before their 5th birthday, that's good enough for me.

Woggle is good for older children who can sort of swim in deep end, but get tired easily.

used2bthin Mon 18-Aug-08 13:41:56

Oh thats good peanutbutterkid I might get DD one then. The list of things I want to get her is growing!

JimbobJones Mon 18-Aug-08 13:42:34

Thanks for posts so far.... I especially like the look of the discs Christywhisty and LIZS!

lucsnowe Mon 18-Aug-08 13:51:59

I have a mothercare jacket. It's good in that it gives a lot of buoyancy, but I don't find that it alone keeps my little one completely above water- I still need to give some support. However, older children can, I think, learn to swim with them once they understand that they have to keep moving, kicking etc.

horseymum Tue 19-Aug-08 20:13:22

i have just been given one of those woggle noodle things by a neighbour - what do you do with them? we are going on holiday soon and there is a little pool so hopefully will spend lots of time there. have also bought small kick board and both kids have armbands- any tips for play. ds is 3 and dd1 with not much water experience- i am too lazy to take them that often!

Habbibu Tue 19-Aug-08 20:16:20

Ordinary arm bands work really well for dd (21mo) the ones which look triangular seem to be better for keeping her upright than the ones which are round.

hotbot Tue 19-Aug-08 20:43:39

agree with some suggestions here, woggle is great as it encourages the swim position and you can have them on their front and back ,and the best fun for dd is horsey horsey, woggle between legs and holding onto top of woggle while you bounce them round the pool, and only for about £4.00, you can also let them jumo in from the side onto the woggle.its a great confidence booster and your lo sounds really into swimming.

hotbot Tue 19-Aug-08 20:45:05

oops sorry LIZS... should have bothered to read posts first....grin

Shoegazer Tue 19-Aug-08 20:56:47

DD has been having swimming lessons since 3 months old and we use backpack floats likethis and you can use it with a woggle too to encourage swim position but he won't sink if he falls off the woggle IYSWIM.

cmotdibbler Tue 19-Aug-08 21:05:51

Ds has a Speedo swim jacket from Little Trekkers, and it lets him have real freedom in the pool, and doesn't restrict him. It also keeps him toasty warm. He hates arm bands and would never keep them on.
He really enjoys jumping in from the side, climbing the steps, and riding on my back whilst I swim

UniS Tue 19-Aug-08 22:53:23

try before you buy, try all sorts of things, you may be suprised by what works for your kid.
After trying ( in swim class last term) float suit, float back pack and woggles with my DS all of which he disliked the right thing for him seems to be old fashioned (cheap) arm bands AND a swimming hat.
Hes now very confident and enjoys swimming on his own with me nearby in the water. he is 2.6. the swim hat solved the issue he had with not liking to get his ears wet. made a huge differnece to him.

DontCallMeBaby Tue 19-Aug-08 23:15:06

We've used lots of things!

Float suit (Floaties) - good while it lasted, but DD grew out of it quite quickly (you are SUPPOSED to take each and every one of the 16 floats out before you put it on, then put them back in again - yeah, right)

Delphin discs - great, but dig painfully into DD's arms. Supposed to fit up to 12yo, unless they soften up a lot I can't see it (DD is 4, not skinny but not huge either)

Conventional armbands - floatation device of choice, nice and small when they're deflated, can be inflated a little less to get a child to work a little harder. Don't think learning to swim with armbands did my generation any harm.

Kick float - hasn't got on with it up until now, think she feels insecure.

Woggle - fell off it in the deep end (the 3m deep end, argh). She sinks like a stone ... I won't use anything now that's not firmly attached to her, not in a pool where she is out of her depth in all but the very shallowest part.

I'd also be very wary of kick floats or woggles if I had another child to supervise (I don't, and it doesn't sound like the OP does either?)

elmoandella Wed 20-Aug-08 07:59:12

my kids have been to swimming lessons since they got their first jabs.

instructor says any sort of buonancy aid hampers the learning to swim on their own.

start by letting them rest on a woggle with you holding one end.

progress to you letting go.

eventually they let go.

UniS Wed 20-Aug-08 09:25:26

I've a hunch that the no bounencey aid system works if you start it young enough.
However with a 2 year old who can and will scale their mothers head with ease becauce they don't feel happy in the water.... a bit of bounencey aid can help them feel confident in water and learn to kick & paddle before the adults start to decrease the assist. Its very hard to get a kid to kick and paddle if they are clinging to you in death grip.
At 6 months my son was nice and relaxed floating on his back with no aid. we then stopped swimming ( I needed to work) going back to it at 18 months he hated it, trying again at 2 it took weeks of trying float aids to find one that he accepted, then 20 mins for him to be swimming away from me with big grin.

cmotdibbler Wed 20-Aug-08 10:20:27

The thing is with the no boyancy aid method is that it assumes that they will have to keep swimming all the time until they reach the edge or are in a pool with shallow enough water that they can always reach the bottom.

Our pool doesn't have very shallow water, and we go to the pool to have fun, not to just swim from edge to edge. Boyancy aids mean that DS has been able to play in the water and move himself around long before he was able to touch the bottom.

I think swimming teachers (and some parents from what I see in the pool of a Sunday afternoon) forget that being in the water can also be about having fun - and that means you and the child being very confident that they are safe

christywhisty Wed 20-Aug-08 17:50:53

I think little ones are better off out of their depth with a boyancy aid than splashing about in depth without them.
I wouldn't trust a woggle alone, we had one to play with, but while they can't swim they shouldn't be used by themself to keep a child up.
My dcs had lessons since they are 6 months and 12 months and could swim width by the age of 3 using the arm disks. The are 10 and 12 now and have really good style.All the teachers at our pool use the disks from 6 months when they are allowed to have lessons.

ReallyTired Thu 21-Aug-08 09:42:16

I think a woggle in water that the child can stand up in works well. However most children don't have the coordination to cope with a woggle unitl they are nearer three.

I like the floatie swimsuit/ swimjackets for younger children and the woggle on its own for over three. In most baby pools a three year old can touch the bottom. The main pool is often too cold for a small child.

Most children don't learn to swim properly until they are nearer 4 or 5. It makes little difference whether you start proper swimming lessons at birth or at 4 years old. The child has to be physically ready. I think that before the age of 4 a family splash is just as effective as swimming lessons. The main thing at this age has to be enjoyment.

Weegle Thu 21-Aug-08 13:56:16

DS is 2.2 and he uses a rubber ring - he adores it as he can do/go wherever he wants, change direction etc. Also means I'm not having to take his weight constantly although obviously I'm nearby incase he goes through the middle. He can jump in with it etc.

In his classes he uses a woggle but this is harder for me because of supporting him (and the woggle) and he doesn't like it as much.

DaphneMoon Thu 21-Aug-08 15:02:10

I don't think you can beat arm bands personally. They can't go under the water with them on, plus you can let them down slowly over a period of time to let them get used to floating by themselves. My DS got on fine with them, then one day he decided I'm not having these on anymore, took them off and off he swam! He can now swim two lengths. However going back to the original post, arm bands do givem them total confidence. Woggles are ok once they can swim a bit, because if they let go they will go straight under. However they are great for those early swimmers who just need a bit of reassurance.

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