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help.... my 20 month toddler HATES his swimming classes...

(34 Posts)
nkweto Sun 21-Sep-08 21:19:15


I am not sure if this is the best topic for this discussion, but was wondering if anyone has experienced anything similiar. My 20 month old son has been swimming before (only on holiday in the sun), wearing either used armbands or a circular float which gave him quite a lot of freedom and he loved it.

I am comfortable in water and thought that swimming classes would be an ideal and fun way to continue the swimming experience and gain some useful skills (as much as you can at that age!).

However, the classes really seem to upset him, once he realises he is being held throughout the class and doing structured activities he get really angry and screams the place down.. we had to leave the last classe 20 mins early sad. He generally is quite an easy going child but he these are really big tantrums. I don't want him to associate the pool with trauma and upset ... and unsure whether we should continue with the classes.. any one experience similar and (hopefully) got through it ?

moondog Sun 21-Sep-08 21:20:13

Don't take him then.
Just go with him on your own.

moondog Sun 21-Sep-08 21:20:21

Don't take him then.
Just go with him on your own.

MuffinMclay Sun 21-Sep-08 21:22:02

I'd be inclined to stop going and try again a few months down the line.

My ds1 hates swimming (but used to like going). I'm planning to wait until he's about 3 before trying again.

TheArmadillo Sun 21-Sep-08 21:22:12

he's only tiny - quit and take it up again when he's older.

If he enjoys just being in the pool then take him when it's quite. All he needs for water confidence is to have some time to muck about in the water.

Classes can be a waste of time when they're that young.

IAteDavinaForDinner Sun 21-Sep-08 21:22:19

If he gets upset don't do it. IMO not worth risking putting him off altogether. It should be fun and confidence-building.

Go yourself.

Cadelaide Sun 21-Sep-08 21:23:02

Drop the classes, definitely, not doing anyone any good.

Take him regularly and just play.

Which is exactly what moondog said isn't it? grin

nkweto Sun 21-Sep-08 21:23:53

I think you are all right.. by the time I finished the message I was thinking... why do I need to force him to go ? He doesnt do structured activities anywhere else.. he isnt (and shouldnt be!) ready for that yet.. plenty of time in the future for structure. many thanks..

Don't take him to classes if he hates it.
Take him on your own if he likes that.
His is at tantrumming age.

fishie Sun 21-Sep-08 21:24:16

do you go swimming together otherwise? 20m is a bit young for classes, he isn't going to be learning much beyond confidence in water.

i took ds once a month or so until he started lessons at 3. he is now 3.5 and being taught without parent in water, he isn't wildly enjoying it. but i have noticed how much more independent he is when we are in the pool together. this isn't likely to happen for a 20mo. have you paid a lot for the lessons? would you mind stopping?

Starbear Sun 21-Sep-08 21:25:02

Swimming coach friend told us not to bother with lessons until they are 3 years old. Didn't do lesson anymore after this money saving tip. Took him to paddling pool. Now in lessons can't swim but loves the lesson. if he didn't we would wait a again until the time is right. He is now 4 years old he has a life time to learn if he wants to. P.S Ds hates the sea!!!

tortoiseshell Sun 21-Sep-08 21:26:13

20 months is too young for lessons imo - take him yourself, do a mixture of armbands and no armbands. The absolute main thing is that he has a good time and learns to enjoy being in the water.

WilfSell Sun 21-Sep-08 21:27:44

Don't do it then. I thought 4 was recommended as the best age for swimming lessons?

Not sure why though.

nkweto Sun 21-Sep-08 21:29:21

Luckily the classes are at a local council leisure centre, and so were relatively cheap, so I would rather lose the rest of the terms classes than traumatise my son. We havent gone swimming together (casually) at indoor pools, but did on holiday.

I think I will just start taking him to the pool to hang out and play, as he has always been fine when we are playing in the pool waiting for the lesson to start.

Thanks, I feel a lot better.. thought I was going to be told off about being a 'soft' mum !

Saturn74 Sun 21-Sep-08 21:30:20

Drop the classes.
Getting upset in the water may make him unwilling to go in it at all.
Take him by yourself or with friends.

jollydiane Sun 21-Sep-08 21:38:36

For very personal reasons I was determined that DS was going to learn to swim so I took him from 6 months. I didn’t have any easy time of it and would often scream, and be difficult to get ready. I often wanted to give up but thought if I didn’t keep going I would never go again so I persevered. I also made friends with one of the other mums so that there was another incentive for him to see his little friend and they would play together. The structure of the class was good as there was always toy time at the end which he loved. DH also took him and this all helped

Swimming should be fun and being silly in the water helped us both. We would often blow bubbles or raspberries or take a toy frog, seal or duck etc for a ride on his tummy (the teacher was fine with this)

Now he is 3 he went in the class for the first time a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t say he loved it but I felt so proud of us both for not giving up. I do hope you find a way to keep enjoying swimming as having fun is what it all about

nkweto Sun 21-Sep-08 22:18:22

absolutely, really want to find a way to keep enjoying swimming with my son.. I think for us possibly the classes are not appropriate for now. But we will definately be returning to the pool for fun times ! Thank you very much all...

Elibean Sun 21-Sep-08 22:24:20

Agree with HC. I had similar experience with dd1, dropped classes, went with just her and me/dh and at around 2-2.5 yrs she started loving it and gaining confidence very fast. Nothing I did or didn't do, just time...and developing confidence in her physical skills on land smile

MrsMattie Sun 21-Sep-08 22:26:01

Agree with others. Drop the classes and take him yourself. My DS wouldn't entertain swimming classes until around his third birthday. Absolutely loved them from then on.

brimfull Sun 21-Sep-08 22:27:25

waaaaaaaay too young

SpandexIsMyEnemy Sun 21-Sep-08 22:27:44

DS was like this when being held.

I have got him a zoggs 'vest' type device which has floats in it & keeps him afloat - it's fab as he has my arms there as a guide 'incase' but for the most part he's independent lil and doing his own thing.

then again thou we don't do the structured bit - but deffo advise you to get a vest thou instead of the arm bands - best £20 i've spent on swimming stuff in a long long while.

lingle Mon 22-Sep-08 09:29:38

You should send this to the Toddler Taming author to add to his list of "non-problems".


"My 20 month old is a normal strong willed child and therefore hates his swimming lessons which only really suit children of that age if they are very placid"

"Stop taking him to the swimming lessons".

sorry - that sounds harsh - I've fallen into the same trap myself - I stuck out tumbletots all last year when it was way to rigid for my 2-year-old...... and put him in pre-school at 2.6 when he clearly wasn't ready....sometimes it takes another person to say "why are you doing this?".

Anna8888 Mon 22-Sep-08 09:36:10

Don't take him if he doesn't like it.

scrappydappydoo Mon 22-Sep-08 09:45:24

Well my dd1 is 2.5 and we did swimming classes - she loves being in the ater but around 18mths she started to react to being in a 'structured' class (she also hated being held) So we stopped and have just gone regularly - just mucking about which she loves and I believe its done wonders for her water confidence. She can even swim 3 or 4 doggy paddle strokes. I'm planning to put her into lessons when she's 3 when she is more prepared to deal with a structured lesson. hth

Twiglett Mon 22-Sep-08 09:47:51

don't take him to classes

just take him swimming for fun with his armbands

I really don't believe children who learn 'to swim' as babies are any better than children who go for the first time at 4 or 5

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