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Teaching children to swim- is it possible?

(15 Posts)
choccychic Sat 21-May-05 15:58:40

My DS2, aged 5 is struggling to make any progress with his swimming lessons. I think he would be OK if he didn't have the view that 'I can't do it so to avoid making myself look silly failing I won't try' I don't want to push or upset him but he will be going swimming with school next term and I know he will be upset if he is the only one who can't swim at all. Anyone had any success teaching their own children or got any other tips/suggestions.

pleaserewind Sat 21-May-05 16:10:41

I would just keep up with the lessons and try to take him yourself regularly but keep the emphasis on having fun.
i doubt he'll be the only one who can't swim. ds1 is 9 and was recently upset at the thought of school swimming sessions for the same reason but there were 2 or 3 others who couldn't swim and the progress he made was amazing so i got him on to lessons after school. ds2 has been doing lessons since january and and still needs armbands and struggles with almost everything his teacher asks of him, he's 6.

SoupDragon Sat 21-May-05 16:19:23

Can you take him once a week yourself and just play? Maybe if you "just play" in a way that teaches him more confidence and some of the things he needs to learn in order to swim, he;ll improve rapidly.

I've never had any success teaching DSs to improve their swimming - they both learnt in lessons but simply don't listen to me now I take them myself. I have had more success doing learning hidden as fun stuff though.

SoupDragon Sat 21-May-05 16:19:58

I meant you take him in addition to the lessons.

roisin Sat 21-May-05 16:42:51

I do believe that swimming is one of things that you just have to be patient with. DS1 had a real psychological hurdle to overcome. His water skills were fab, but when 'swimming' he just wouldn't take his feet off the bottom. He didn't actually "go for it" until he was almost 6.5. But within 3 weeks of swimming for the first time had done 25m. Now (nearly 8) he is one of the better swimmers in his class.

DS2 could swim 5m when he was 3.5, but made very little progress in the next 2 years. He is 6 now, and still hasn't done his 25m.

choccychic Sat 21-May-05 17:09:41

Thanks all, I think you are right Soupdragon, in theory he listens to my every word, trusts me implicitly and can swim within 2 weeks, in reality it will end in a strop and tears, so yes, I think I need to relax about it and I will try to take him more often myself. Only trouble is DS1 always keen to come with us and his ability makes DS2 feel worse. Will have to arrange for DS1and3 to be elsewhere, or send DH !

Gobbledigook Sat 21-May-05 17:12:36

choccychic - what do you mean by not making progress? I.e. what can he do and what is not getting to the point of doing iyswim?

SueW Sat 21-May-05 17:22:28

Can he swim at all or does he just no confidence to take his feet off the ground/lose the waterwings?

I taught my niece to swim in an afternoon after a year's worth of swimming lessons where she wouldn't take her feet off the ground. Within an afternoon she could swim across the pool in our holiday camp, maybe 10m wide.

choccychic Sat 21-May-05 19:01:43

They don't wear armbands at all in the lessons but the pool is all within his depth. He just doesn't seem any more confident in the water than he did in January when he started. He isn't frightened ,just doesn't want to put his face in the water which obviously is a bit of a hold back. Having said all that I have I have just checked DS1's badges and he spent 2 terms in the first level and then grasped it and didn't look back, but DS2 was moved up (wrongly I think) after just one term. I think I will try to get him back in the first class. We are off to Greece in 6 weeks so would love him to be relaxed enough to enjoy the water without necessarily actually swimming.

Sari Sat 21-May-05 19:10:10

We cracked ds1 not wanting to put his face in the water by giving him goggles in the bath. In fact he started off with a mask and snorkel which meant he didn't have to hold his breath. Now he has goggles and spends most of the time in the bath underwater. Could be worth a try.

Tommy Sat 21-May-05 19:30:49

I used to be a swimming teacher and found that one girl I taught couldn't manage in the class so I suggested private lessons to her Mum (more expensive but I didn't earn any more so not just a financial incentive!)and she came on loads. Is that a possibilty? If not I would suggest taking him out of lessons and going lots with you just to have fun and enjoy it. You can buy "Teach your child to swim" books which might give you some tips on things to try with him.
Good luck

choccychic Sat 21-May-05 20:12:33

Thanks for the suggestions Tommy and Sari, I am defo going to try taking him more myself, move him down a class but not push it if he gets upset, and give him his goggles in the bath (have to remove his brother first though!!) We have waiting lists for the private lessons so I might just put his name down and see when we get to the top!

Furball Sat 21-May-05 20:31:07

My ds has one to one swimming lessons and has just got his 5 metre badge, he's 4 in August. The lessons are a bit pricey but well worth it. If I take him he doesn't do half as well and won't try at all, so like Tommy said, maybe a few private lessons will bring him on.

Furball Sat 21-May-05 20:32:26

oh, sorry forgot - The other things that really help are goggles and a nose clip.

Gobbledigook Sun 22-May-05 11:44:10

I second the goggles in the bath idea. I've not tried it myself as my ds's are fearless in water but my friend is using that method to get her ds more confident about going under and he is getting better.

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