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Swimming lessons for 4yr old-are they necessary?

(37 Posts)
Mala Tue 27-Feb-07 09:33:16

DD has just turned four. Most of her friends have started swimming lessons. These are half an hour sessions in a group, once a week. I can't help thinking that they can't be learning that much during such short lessons. I would prefer to teach her myself, but I can't swim and don't know the best way to go about it. I thought that maybe I could buy a book and try and teach her every week. However, on the other hand as I haven't a clue about this sometimes I think maybe I should just enroll her in one of these lessons.
What do people think? What did you do with your children?

Her school will start teaching her when she is 6, but I rather she learns a little before that.

TheBlonde Tue 27-Feb-07 09:36:14

Half an hour is fairly standard - any longer and they get too cold

My LO is only 2 so I can't comment on school swimming etc

MascaraOHara Tue 27-Feb-07 09:37:00

they're not nevessary but they are a good way of incorporating some enjoyable exercise and it's a good skill to ledqarn early (easier to learn when younger as less fear)

My dd is 4 and has been going 4 terms now.. she absolutely loves it and her ability and confidence in thwa water is amazing

Enid Tue 27-Feb-07 09:38:16

agree with mascara

not necessary but fun for them and a great skill to learn - learning how to do stuff builds confidence too.

dd2 (4) loves it

MascaraOHara Tue 27-Feb-07 09:38:21

Another thing to add is.. they listen better to an individual who is not a parent... I like to keep our family swimming time fairly fun with just a bit of learning..

Also if I told her to swim a length under water she would but if her instructor did she would lol

Enid Tue 27-Feb-07 09:39:09

also agree that half an hour is a good amount of time

most of the time they are learning water confidence

dd1 didn't really concentrate on proper strokes until she was stronger at 5+ IIRC

hana Tue 27-Feb-07 09:39:17

agree with mascaraohara - dd has been doing lessons since sept ( she was 5) and is swimming , lots of confidence. but there is lots of time to learn to swim, it doesnt' have to be done at 4
something that a lot of councils do during school holidays is sessions where you can go everyday for 30 min or so, not lessons, but when it's everyday its great for their confidence, dd did this during the summer and during 1/2 term, made a big difference going everyday as opposed to once a week

sixlostmonkeys Tue 27-Feb-07 09:40:37

I see no reason why you couldn't give it a go yourself. By looking at a book for eg you will have some idea of what to teach her and at least you will be providing her with confidence in water along with the fun.
I considered lessons at one stage as sometimes a child will take instruction from someone else much better than from a parent. It didn't take long though before ds got the hang of it and was off.

Give it a go yourself but if you find that stress or anticipation is creeping in then I'd suggest the lessons.

Enid Tue 27-Feb-07 09:41:38

it is fun for them to muck about with other kisd though (not that they are supposed to be mucking about, dd2 please note )

FairyMum Tue 27-Feb-07 09:44:29

I would go for lessons. I tried to teach mine, but they wouldn't listen to me at all and just wanted to play in the water. They were swimming a full length after 10 weeks of lessons and now I can just concentrate on splashing and having fun while someone else takes care of the teaching. Unless you have a particularly motivated child I would say it's very difficult to teach them at this young age.....

MascaraOHara Tue 27-Feb-07 09:44:58

lol Enid, agree re. them mucking about.. they also gain confidence from each other!

the only thing I would add about teaching yourself is that if you are nervous of the water your child will pick up on that which could make learning difficult.. e.g. if you won't put your head under, how will they think it's ok etc.. sorry, not trying to be negative.

half hour is enough, swimming is tiring

ScottishThistle Tue 27-Feb-07 09:45:06

I don't think swimming lessons are necessary though it's rather an enjoyable skill to have.

If your not a swimmer your lack of confidence in the water may rub off on your child, just a thought.

ScottishThistle Tue 27-Feb-07 09:45:26


Enid Tue 27-Feb-07 09:47:06

you cant swim


why on earth do you think you can teach her???

lessons please!

Mala Tue 27-Feb-07 09:52:22

Hadn't thought about the fact that she would listen better to an instructor than me. That is so true, she wants to play when with me and that's fine, but I think it would be hard if I was trying to teach her.

Thanks that really helped. I think as I can't swim(though do want to learn), it was hard for me to know if these lessons would be useful.

I think I will continue taking her to the pool for fun time and leave the lessons to the experts.

ghosty Tue 27-Feb-07 10:05:15

My personal opinion is that Swimming is a vital life skill (as opposed to a fun enjoyable one)
I suppose that is because I grew up in Holland where the threat of flood is very great (many many people died in 1950-something when most of Holland flooded and it became law for children to be taught to swim).
I now live in NZ and we are surrounded by water in Auckland ... plenty of opportunity for trips to beaches/fishing/ferries etc.
So, DS has never missed a term since he was 2 and a half (he is 7 now and a confident swimmer) and DD is just embarking on her first proper lessons (without me in the pool with her).

So, in answer to your thread title ... yes, IMHO swimming lessons for 4 year olds are necessary.

majorstress Tue 27-Feb-07 10:10:22

I went for swimming lessons myself in late 30s, really glad I did and highly recommend it for everyone regardless of age. Instructor said fear is the main probelm esp with adults. Don't try to teach dd what you haven't learnt, you might instill fear by accident. DEFFO proper lessons for her please.

Lasvegas Tue 27-Feb-07 10:13:06

Would you reccomend after school lessons or will a 4 yr old be too exhausted? My dd is recently 4 and at school full time.

ghosty Tue 27-Feb-07 10:14:43

What about weekends?

MascaraOHara Tue 27-Feb-07 10:15:09

I was taking dd at the weekend until last term but couldn't get her a place this term as she moved up. She is doing after school at the moment but is only half days still.

I think I will stick with after school next term though as she enjoys it it doesn't feel like a chore.

It also means I can take her at the weekend too

ghosty Tue 27-Feb-07 10:15:26

If you got a lesson early enough (say 9 or 10 on a Saturday) then it may not cut into your weekend too much ...

Lasvegas Tue 27-Feb-07 10:43:45

ghosty - 5 days of persuading dd to get ready for school quickly (essential so that I don't miss my train for work) is enough for me. At the weekends she watches TV in dressing gown till 11 ish. Important for both of us that we chill out.

Enid Tue 27-Feb-07 10:44:38

we do 8am on a saturday morning

Clary Tue 27-Feb-07 10:50:29

Mine all started at 4. Actually ds2 is only 3 (4 in April) but the teacher at the pre-school session we went to said he was ready.
As far as I'm concerned, the idea is to get them swimming confidently with good strokes by the time they are in late juniors.

It depends on money tho doesn't it. I think it is vital to take them swimming youself to build their confidence. We try to go once a week as well as lessons. Half an hur doesn't sound long, but as others say, that's long enough at this age. Personally I think earlier lessons are a good idea or you get a child who is 6-7 and cannot swim at all. A 6yo in DS2's Level 1 class has had to stop because he hasn't the confidence to get scross the pool with armbands on. Mind you his 8yo brother in the same class is making great strides.

I think much before 4 and a child cannot follow instruction/stand still/ reach the bottom etc.

Agree with ghosty that swimming is an essential life skill.

Clary Tue 27-Feb-07 11:02:00

Ours are after school btw, tho early on a weekend would be better (not 2pm tho, which is what our pool offers).
5.30-6 and 6-6.30, time for tea before and in bed by 7.15 so not too bad.

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