Sunday, 11 September 2011

Swimming lessons

Image from here
I love the water. I don't get much of a chance to swim these days, but I was a regular lap-swimmer for much of my 20s. I would really like my children to experience all of the things that being a safe swimmer brings you; boating, snorkelling, surfing, body surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking, canoeing, you get the picture?

To date I reckon we must have spent more than $1000 on swimming lessons for our two older boys (the twins haven't even started yet), but we have basically nothing to show for it.

Sure, they are getting in the water and putting their faces in, but it is still all about dog paddle. Barely a hint of actual swimming. We even have to do our lessons on a Saturday because the centre doesn't "do frogs after school".

They still freak out lack confidence in the water. They still take time to put their heads under the water (there are many ways to re-adjust their goggles while procrastinating it seems). They still haven't started to use their 'big arms'. They still can't really kick properly.

I certainly haven't been as diligent as I could have been (we are Spring/Summer swimmers), but you really start to wonder if there are kids who just don't learn?

Could Nugget and Doo Dah be the first?

What is your 'learn to swim' story with your kids? Have you got any suggestions for helping them learn to swim? Does it all 'just click' at some point? I don't think my blood pressure can stand many more near drownings at their lessons.


Photographer Mum said...

Miss 4 was seriously afraid of putting her face in the water for AGES! But one day, she just got it and now she wants to swim in the bath and complains its not big enough. Mr 3 took to the water pretty well for the first few lessons, but then the regular teacher was away for 2 weeks and he majorly freaked out. We are currently on a swimming break, but due to start up again soon. I hope we don't have to start from scratch when we go back...

Diminishing Lucy said...

I cannot offer much help. But our three progressed quickest after we implemented the freezing painfullness that was the family swim prior to lessons.

Lessons were at 10am, but we would get there in the other pool at 9.30am, all of us, and "play" with them. By the time the then got into the other pool for their respective lessons, their confidence was increased...(never mind that me and the lovely husband were freezing and wet as we trundled round ditching off kids to various corners of the pool...)

They'll get there...

Anonymous said...

We only have one in lessons. He's been going since 7 months. He didn't really start swimming until this year (he's 5).
Why don't you leave the lessons for a while and just take them for a leisurely play in the public pool for a few weekends and then re-introduce lessons? Even timid kids find playing in the water hard to resist. Once they love it, try lessons again.
Good luck.

1000 Homes of Happiness said...

We have spent thousands on swimming lessons. Living by the coast with hubby a keen surfer he is convinced on having the girls strong swimmers. Fortunately they adore the water. I take them for their lesson during the week and he takes them for a play evey second weekend at our local (indoor) pool. I on the other hand find the lessons hard going. Getting three munckins in the pool, watching them all swim in a different group at the same time, coaxing them out after the lesson and then getting them all dressed...pfft! Hard work.

Happy Weekend.


MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

We haven't done any swim lessons yet with the girls, but I certainly want to...but I have to wait until they're old enough (I hope!) so I can manage both of them in the pool by myself. Hubby's not much for getting in with me, unfortunately.

Courtney @ Nobashake said...

I started our kids in swimming lessons this year. so they are now in their 3rd semester. It has just clicked with Addison. She can kick and do "tiger" arms. We aren't at the freestyle stage for a while yet but I don't think it will be too long. Logan has just turned 1 so just bobs around the pool with hubby but only in the last few weeks does he actually look like he's enjoying it. I think I have spent $1200 this year... we pay $150 a month for private lessons - no lesson in school hols but still get charged...! We are in the process of getting our pool organised so they don't go backwards over the summer break.
Our swimming instructor said it is so frustrating but then all of a sudden the penny drops and the confidence is there & they will just take off. So hang in there. It will be worth it i dare say.

Kymmie said...

Great post Coo, and so relevant for us right now too!

Every Tuesday night over dinner, my husband asks our five year old, "So Madison, can you swim yet?" because it's an issue of contention at our place.

He's in his fourth year of swimming classes (that's a LOT of money!) and just going up the highest level before school, and I'm not sure if he REALLY can swim yet. He's confident, he can dive, he LOVES the water, he has the basics, but he just doesn't seem to kick properly yet to keep him afloat.

I've had chats with the teacher because I haven't been happy, and I've even considered changing swimming schools to an even more expensive place.

But my husband thinks it's been a complete waste of money. The jury is still out for me.

But being mad on water sports and swimming too (I was a BIG swimmer when we lived in Darwin), I want them to be confident and sure in the water.

Our two year old started at the beginning of the year, and he shows much more promise, already kicking and paddling. But more time will tell before we know for sure if it's been worth it.

Will keep you posted. xx

foxinflats said...

Oh man I am so, so glad to hear I am not the only one who feels this way.
I'm really keen for them to be safe in the water, and have been taking them both to lessons for ages, but I loathe it: the chlorinated air at the pool, the wrangling of both of them before & after, and the fact that they still can't actually swim!
This year I've changed tack and just take them to school holiday swim camps - 1 lesson per day for a week - and they have both improved enormously. I also take my littlest to the pool at the gym every week or so, depending on whether I've done my bikini line or not ;)He adores it so it's worth the cold. x

Marcy said...

My two boys made very little progress after several years of lessons. We went on a vacation to Maine where they jumped off a dock (with life jackets on) and played in the water for hours each day. When we got back they could swim! I think the moving around in the water so much for fun made a big difference, even when they had the jackets on.

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

We took ages to get around to doing swimming lessons, they picked it up later just fine. I reckon you could have a great week away with a heated pool at your disposal and do more good than all the money on swimming lessons. I really don't like taking them, such a meat market of rushing them in, do this, do that, your done, next. Gosh it is expensive. All our kids love the water, maybe going nicer places to swim might make them more comfortable. Having said that when they have the basics lessons are great for advancing their skills. We had those little life jacket things which were great for developing confidence.

Cate said...

If I were you I would trial another swim centre. I started Snowbear off at our local and after 2 or so years she still would have drowned if she fell in. I did my stage mother thing and walked out in disgust one day after being the explantation that they don't want to rush and frighten the child (like drowning wouldn't frighten her). I started her at another centre just a bit further away and within about 3 weeks she was swimming. I now work at the same swim centre.
Every swim centre has different methods and philosophies so you should keep trying until you find one that matches you better.

Megan Blandford said...

I'm one of those kids - tell me as many times as you like, I can't put my face in without blocking my nose! Just not comfortable in the water - although I like to swim and I try - despite lots of swimming lessons as a kid.

My daughter on the other hand... water baby. I use swimming lessons to teach her the skills (that I clearly can't teach her!!) and some extra 'fun' swims to practice it all. (Easier to do when I only have the one, I'm sure!)

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

Frustrating, huh?

I think the swim school is an important factor - we've moved around so much over the last couple of years, and done a lot of trials to find just the right one. Judah's always been nervous in the water, and often clings and cries and the lesson is totally wasted; but we've just moved to a new school, where he has a one on one teacher (which is stupidly expensive, but worth it I guess if we see significant progress) as part of a group session. So far, so good. Last week he even put his face in the water, which was a BIG deal :)

Lou, on the other hand, is a fish. Four lessons down, and she's diving in the water, kicking and paddling like a pro, and coming to the surface with a giggle. But cries like her heart is going to break once we get out!

Good luck lovely - maybe try a different school?


Jodi @ The Scribble Den said...

I think the key is earlier the better. Ours all started when they were bubs. They are all confident in the water and although certainly not olympic swimmers by any means they can do a stroke or two. Miss 3 is now using her big arms and legs, although not together. But it will come. We have a pool, so I think the more you are able to practice and play together the easier it becomes. But don't panic, it will click for them. And it is such an important thing for them too.

Alice Becomes said...

Oscar resisted and resisted and hated it and hated it but then, after one term he loved it. He is jumping in by himself now. He was previously terrified. It worked for us but it took time.

Good luck!


Naomi Hart said...

i'm only 9.5 monhts into this gig but it's the only thing i'm definite miss q will do. having said that, no lessons yet, i take her to the pool cos she loves it and it helps to tire her out and we just muck about ourselves, doing a full submersion once each time cos it's not much different to how she reacts when she drinks water. (she bottle refuses so it's straight to cup for us!) would be hard with two, but if they're still lacking confidence what about just taking them into the pool yourself until they're feeling better about teh situation adn go back to lessons later - lets remember i am far from a professional though!!!! xx

Anonymous said...

I am a total fail whale on this. Miss A went to one class this winter. It didn't go well. We had paid for a full term of lessons and didn't go back. Wimped out. I have promised myself I will start again this summer with her. You'd never guess I work in childcare. When it comes to my own daughter I'm ridiculous - remember she's nearly two and is yet to be away from me for more than four hours, and has never been away from both of us at the same time. So no advice here. xx

Maxabella said...

I've been thinking about this since our chat on the weekend. I reckon we were at least 8 or 9 before we were really properly swimming. I think we had our first proper swim lessons that summer in rockhampton.

Do you think that be quad everyone is doing it we are affront our kids off doing things earlier than Perhaps they are ready for? Inswimming and in general? This is my new thinking.

Maxabella said...

Well that made absolutely no sense. I f'ing hate auto correct. x

Lizeylou said...

Ahh ... the swimming lesson debate.
My kids have all had lessons from 6mths of age until this year. Now we are doing ocean safety (as we have moved to the beach)
But when we were having lessons in a pool my kids all loved it. BUT only once they got a teacher that they loved. It meant that I spent a bit of time watching other teachers and their style until I worked out who would suit my kids best, but once I matched them up all was perfect and they learnt happily. We also had small classes (only 4 kids per class) so it made it easier for one on one time. I would keep at it but maybe change centres?? Good luck!

Petra said...

I have just come back from swimming lessons with Emma - who refused to co-operate at all with her swimming teacher today! Something about not wanting to do lessons and rather play in the pool - but at least she seems to have picked up swimming really fast, now we only need to get past her stubborn streak and her fear of the deep! I also find swimming lessons really hard going and must have tried most of the swimming schools in the area.

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