DD (3.5) hated water when she was tiny, but then in the last year she started enjoying us taking her - although still quite cautious. We didn't get round to organising lessons for her.
But over the summer we had 2 weeks somewhere hot, and she was in the pool for 3-4 hours per day. She went from being a complete non-swimmer to managing a width of the pool without any buoyancy aids or help (!!). She basically keeps her nose out of the water and kicks/doggy paddles like crazy She did that several times in our last few days... but... she does still occasionally just start sinking and not know how to get going again. And she still hates getting water on her face, and generally doesn't seem confident in the water the way some kids do.
We started swimming lessons for her when we got back. I told them she'd started swimming a bit on holiday, but didn't elaborate. They have put her in a 'confident beginners' class where they still use noodles the whole time. I think this is fine - since her lack of water confidence means she is still finding the tasks (like floating on her back, or going under water) challenging.
DH is worried that she'll lose learning momentum and possibly lose interest. I think we shouldn't miss this step.
What do you guys think? Is there anything we should do, or just go with it for a while?
DD's character is cautious (finds new things hard) but she's determined and very physical. She takes pride in being able to do things (hence my DH's thought that we should make sure she's progressing) but will avoid things she doesn't think she can do (hence my concern not to miss steps).
I appreciate any opinions.
I think she's at just the right age for lessons. My dd's 7, and the oldest in her lessons by quite a bit, and I wish we'd started a while ago. Make sure she has goggles - makes the head under water aversion much better.
iMessage swimming teachers are extremely good at gauging a child's level and progressing them when they have the skills.
So whether it's 2 months or a year in that group they'll move her when she's ready.
You may also find an age thing comes into play a bit. Many swim schools don't take children into 'formal' style lessons until they are 4.
My nephew could swim a width in his own way at the same age but couldn't join the lessons to learn like that until 4. So for 6 months they taught him basic skills - noodle, breathing etc. When he went into the other lessons he was moved up within 4 weeks! So in the end he probably benefitted form it!
Put her goggles on in the bath and practise "blowing bubbles" then move on to putting her whole face in and eventually submerging completely.
Being happy in the water is great start but your DD still requires the building blocks of swimming in order to progress to be a good and safe swimmer. I doubt any swim school would allow your DD to skip this stage as your DD cannot progress until she has mastered basic skills first and until she is happy with her face in the water. The noodles are not a step backwards, I've seen my DCs use floats even at high levels to practice particular skills.
IMO this is the most dangerous age/ stage - where they can swim a bit but think they are a lot better than they are. I witnessed 2 kids at our pool on holiday get into difficulties and almost drown for this reason.
I would go with it-the main thing at this stage is to be able to swim underwater, or at least with your face in- once she can do that the rest will come much more easily.
Your DD is water confident but she has no technique yet.She needs the buoyancy aids to allow her to work on the strokes
Thanks everyone - it's good to know that this does seem to be the right thing for her to be doing.
faraway and a7 - I think using noodles to work on technique is what we were expecting - since she clearly has absolutely none! But in this case they are still using them just to get the confidence to propel themselves any which way.
But it does sound like those skills - getting your face wet, going underwater etc - are really crucial, so I'm really happy for her to work on those. It's a marathon, not a sprint - and I'm happy to take the time to get solid basic skills if the end result is her being a confident and capable swimmer.
We'll just have to keep an eye on DH's worry about her losing interest. And kidding that's really good to know that the teachers do keep an eye out and move them up when they're ready. 4 seems a bit of an arbitrary point, but I can understand them wanting to make sure the maturity to follow instructions is there before trying to progress. I can imagine that all the lessons learned in the earlier stages come into their own when they do move up - will be looking forward to seeing that!
I guess the main thing I'm a bit impatient for is to feel that if DD fell into water, she would be safe. I'm certainly under no illusions that she is remotely safe in the water yet! I guess that's a fair way off though.
Interesting that several people have mentioned goggles. I wasn't sure whether getting some was cheating (!) and she should just be getting used to the water in her face! If it's generally seen as ok, I'll get some.
Many thanks everyone for helping to clarify things!
Definitely goggles, not cheating, necessary piece of equipment!
Yes she needs goggles.
She may be able to doggy paddle a width but in the class they will learn the strokes properly that they need so sounds like she is in the right ability group.
The use of noodles in perfectly normal in ASA stage classes as they learn to swim properly and not just do doggie paddle. It's structured and they progress at an appropriate rate. They move up when assessed as ready.
Let the experienced master of the science do their jobs
Let her doggy paddle around when you family swim but follow the structure during lessons?
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