baby upset by swimming lessons?! (water babies)(38 Posts)
Wasn't sure where to put this, but we just started water babies lessons. Its a massive amount of money for me but I our local pools are freezing and I can't swim myself so wanted some proper teaching.
I joined after the first two couple of lessons of the chapter. My baby was so happy for the first 5 minutes and then they dunked him underwater! He cried for the rest of the lesson and even cried in the bath just now which he has never done!
Any experience with water babies? Will it get better? Is this normal?
No advice other than that my 10 month old complains for most of the lesson...she's not exactly a natural. O can see slow progress though and we are persevering...I have faith it will get better and I'm sure yours will too.
My Ds has done water babies type lessons since he was 9 months old. He went through a screaming phase every time we went in the water for almost the full first term. He’s now 3, loves the pool and can swim 10 metres unaided. Definitely persevere!
I hate the dunking. It’s so unnecessary. Some babies don’t mind it but it’s scary for others. Fwiw my now 3.5yo hated swimming as a baby but he flipping lives his swimming lessons now and is pretty much the most confident kid in the class (and the youngest). We went to our local Mum and baby classes for about £4 per session and just got out if he wasn’t up for it that day. We never dunked him and now his favourite thing to do is drop under water. In fact he gets told off for it all the time in his lessons as he doesn’t listen as he’s always under the water.
Although it's not dangerous to dunk them, in my experience babies can find it stressful. I did the first year with DD1 and by the end of it she really didn't want to go under and made it clear, so I just stopped putting her under for the rest of the term and we did council run classes after that instead. I don't think it's particularly beneficial if you don't stick with it until they can swim unaided, which is potentially a couple of years away. If it's a large sum for you I would look for something else.
I just don't think lessons are necessary at that age especially if they dont enjoy it. Mine started around the age of 3
Best tip ever is to not react. Waterbabies is excellent. They all cry at various points. I'm getting divorced and can't afford to continue with the lessons but I was really happy taking my kids there.
The classes are more to give parents on maternity leave and things like that something to do. Your baby will learn to swim just fine if you wait until he's about 2 or 3 or 4 to go to the pool. There's no need to start so young unless you and the baby enjoy it.
You don't have to dunk them. DC loved swimming and dunking for about 3 weeks then changed his mind. The teacher doesn't mind at all and hasn't made an issue of it. We're on term 4 now, so the third term without going under.
We'd rather that he can only swim on the surface than not swim at all, eventually he may be ok with going underwater again but we're not going to stress him out by forcing him to do it.
The ASA advocates not dunking children of any age.
Sorry, I’ve forgotten how to do proper web links!
I think it’s bad practice and I swear it’s why my son developed a fear of water.
You don’t have to dunk the babies. Tell them not to do it or find someone else who won’t.
I’d talk to the instructor and also I mean this kindly but check your own reaction. My DD loves these classes but I’ve had to work on being positive and giving praise including smiling as she surfaces as water makes me a little anxious and I’m not a great swimmer which is why I wanted to do the lessons
Sorry but pushing a child underwater and distressing them is abusive imo. Just because you're paying someone to do it doesn't make it OK. I can't understand why people are allowed to get away with this.
I did Waterbabies with my DS and he never had an issue with being dunked but you are supposed to look happy and relaxed while you do it so the know it’s not scary. That said, lots of other babies in the class did struggle with it and the lessons are very expensive. We went to classes at our local pool after that which are a third of the cost and probably worked better for us in terms of timing/ structure etc. It might also be an issue if the water is too cold- you can get baby wetsuits from amazon which definitely help. But if you decide it’s not for you maybe speak to Waterbabies directly and see if they offer a part refund.
If your baby cries, or us distressed by submersion, the teacher should stop submersions for the rest of the lesson. They should have a signal that gets used that your baby will understand, and if your child shows any sign of not wanting to be submerged then you should also stop. Basically, some babies really don't want to go under, and that's fine, we should listen to them. It's perfectly possible to have useful and positive swimming lessons with no submersions for weeks on end, and they can gradually be reintroduced once your DC is happier and more confident.
You will probably find that once they are older, and can start to do seated jumps by themselves they are happy to go under on their own terms.
(I'm a swimming teacher by the way!)
I did a couple of terms with Water Babies, and my dd hated it, especially the dunking. We transferred to council run classes, which were much less stressful, and put the fun back into it. She is now a lot older and swims competitively at a local level. I would say to stop and save the money, and go to cheaper, council classes from about 1 year onwards.
I know of several people who's children developed a fear of water after doing expensive baby swimming lessons. I'm not sure if it's the dunking or something else. The teachers put a lot of pressure on them to continue the classes even though their children hated the whole thing. Really lessons are not necessary at this age.
We stopped going and this was one of the reasons. DS is now 10 and a competent swimmer. DD didn’t do water babies and has had a much more gentle intro to swimming lessons - started at 7 and is swimming well at 8. Baby lessons are a waste of time and money!
My DS did water babies and has developed into a confident swimmer.
My DS always enjoyed it though.
Do chat to instructor.
My DS is now 10 and I still have a pic up of him swimming under water he looks so relaxed..He loved it under the water ..
We had one baby in our group and didn't enjoy it and I couldn't for the life of me work out why mum kept coming.
I think your problem is that you joined on lesson 3, so everyone else had already had 2 weeks of prep.
My DD went to Waterbabies from about 6 months and she loved it. She never objected to going underwater.
As others have said you need to talk to your instructor but also listen to your baby and if he doesn't want to go under don't make him.
That thing about dunking dangers is quite shocking. I will call them tomorrow and ask. The whole lesson seemed to revolve around dunking, because they weren't being dunked, it was splashing or sprinkling water on the baby's faces. Generally I don't try make my baby do something he doesn't want to do - even when it comes to eating and sleeping - so I'm not going to start with underwater swimming!
I already sent an email earlier saying I don't want to continue.
I agree that there's not much point in teaching babies how to swim properly at this age - it was mainly something fun and physical for me and baby to do rather than get him swimming. And he absolutely loves water - normally. And like I said, the main reason why I went private is because of the pool temperature - the water baby lessons are in a 34 degree hydotherapy pool which is quite nice.
Trust your instincts. If he doesn't like it and you are not comfortable - stop. Doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks.
Playing in the bath. Getting in with your baby at home is a great way of getting them exposed to water play whilst staying lovely and warm. Though someone will probably say it's dangerous. Just as people are for and against dunking in the lessons.
One of the biggest things to learn as a parent is that you are the expert on your baby.
Here is a good link about responsible approaches to submersion in swimming lessons. www.sta.co.uk/resources/policies/baby-swimming-policy/
It also contains sound evidence based advice on the risk of hyponatremia in a baby swimming lesson (extremely small).
Basically, if your child doesn't enjoy submersions, you should be given alternative activities, and submersions should only form a small part of lessons anyway.
@firstaidnovice There was a something they used like "xx say go" and then dunking them, and practice with splashing water over their face. But my babe is only just starting to recognise a couple of words he's not going to pick that up in 5 minutes, I don't know what baby could.
If baby is not enjoying them, stop. There's no need to stress them out. They can always learn later. My 3.5 year old is loving his swimming lessons and making good progress despite only ever going swimming twice before.
It might e worth lookimg at other swimming lessons nearby. We do swimming with a small local company who use a scuba diving pool (so lovely and warm and a maximum of 6 babies per class) our teacher is really good about going under and if one doesnt want to go under thats fine and they dont force it. They also dont do it strsight away, the first 4 of so weeks they stayed totaly on top and then tbose that want to go under do it once the next week then increase as time goes on. They also do a lot of other things like encouraging them to kick when on the water, hold on to the side, lie back in the water (when held obvs)
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