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Toddler swimming


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#1 cb2

Posted 16 December 2012 - 04:59 PM

I have a 2 yr old
Just wondering what your thoughts are on attending swimming lessons/water familarisation classes?

For those who have done/do it do you find it worthwhile? Or for those that have done so in the past do you think it is a waste of time and money?

Would you rather suggest just take them to a pool for a play?
Or do you think the regular weekly commitment is good to get them used to water, build confidence etc so when they turn 3 they can have lessons and go in the pool without parent participation??

I don't really know what is best and would like some feedback from both sides.

Also can anyone recommend good pools on the eastern suburbs of Victoria??

Thanks in advance

#2 Let_it_Rain

Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:05 PM

I did it with DS when he was 2 and he enjoyed it, but he didn't learn anything useful from it.

I took him out over winter and haven't gone back this summer. We will probably do some more intensive lessons next year.

#3 Alpha_Chook

Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:06 PM

I have been taking Eamon to swimming lessons for about 9 months now....he has always been in the water without me and it is a small group of 4....all 2-3 year olds. iI'm not sure it would really help if he were to fall into the water but I figured that living close to 5 beaches and a lake it was better for him to learn...they do say that kids who learn to swim early end up being better swimmers than their peers etc. later on. Most swimming classes now discourage the use of floaties as it gives the kids a false sense of security and also changes the way they hold their bodies in the water....the only aide Eamon has in his classes is a kick board

#4 crazyone2989

Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:10 PM

I have been a swimming instructor for over 6 years and I am often the first person to say that baby classes for babies 6 months till about 18months - 2 years are more about getting used to the water, and are not  necessary if the parent feels comfortable to take the child (and have some idea of what kind of activities can be helpful) and will actually commit to taking them regularly.

Once they get to about 2 - 2.5 baby lessons become a lot more useful in teaching them the basics of moving through the water, breath control and even floating. I also find that for a lot of children it is a good way to get used to a class type environment with Mum or Dad present. With that said it is not unusual for kids to go a bit backwards once they turn 3 and are on their own but these kids probably would have struggled going straight into a class without Mum or Dad anyway.

At this age it is good to get them in and a get a good start on the basics or just simply getting used to being in a class environment and playing around in the pool.

#5 Manicmum

Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:12 PM

My just 3yo can swim about 10m across the pool.

#6 crazyone2989

Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:13 PM

QUOTE (WinterDancesHere @ 16/12/2012, 06:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I did it with DS when he was 2 and he enjoyed it, but he didn't learn anything useful from it.

I took him out over winter and haven't gone back this summer. We will probably do some more intensive lessons next year.



I am curious as to what you were hoping he would learn? Perhaps the classes were not focused enough.

A lot of swim schools have terrible baby and parent classes as the instructors are not qualified to teach this age group

QUOTE (WinterDancesHere @ 16/12/2012, 06:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I did it with DS when he was 2 and he enjoyed it, but he didn't learn anything useful from it.

I took him out over winter and haven't gone back this summer. We will probably do some more intensive lessons next year.



I am curious as to what you were hoping he would learn? Perhaps the classes were not focused enough.

A lot of swim schools have terrible baby and parent classes as the instructors are not qualified to teach this age group

#7 Escapin

Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:25 PM

My 20mo DD has been doing lessons for a few months. It's all just clicked for her and she's got the hands and legs going like crazy. She'd still sink like a stone if I let go, but she's getting the hang of forward propulsion through the water. Plus I think it's quite good to teach skills like listening to the teacher, following instruction etc.

It does depend on the teacher tho. We had a lovely girl to start with but didn't learn much. Then she was replaced for 3 weeks by another girl who wasn't so nice, but she was a much better teacher and was instructing both the parents and kids. If you get someone like her, then I think it's really worthwhile. Not surprisingly, it's been since we had teacher number 2 that DD has suddenly got it together.

#8 whale-woman

Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:44 PM

I don't think baby classes are worthwhile, but have found them useful for my 2-3 yo. She's much more confident in the water, is happy to put her head under, to jump into the water, can kick and she LOVES floating which she's pretty good at. She's starting to get the hang of paddling and kicking. If she's got floaties, a noodle or the like she'll happily motor around the pool with it independently. I reckon she'll be in a pretty good position to move onto proper swimming in her 3yo class next year.

She's learnt stuff she wouldn't have just with me swimming with her so for me it's been worth the time/$.

Edited by whale-woman, 16 December 2012 - 05:50 PM.


#9 MintyBiscuit

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

I think it really depends on what you want to get out of it.

DS just finished his first term of lessons, so he was around 11 months when we started. He has had a vast improvement in how comfortable he is in the water, both at the pools and in the bath at home. He'll happily have water on his head where he hated it before, is starting to blow bubbles in the water, and can do a little frog kick to move himself through the water. He can also start to pull himself out of the water when he reaches the wall.

I don't believe for a second that if he fell into some water that any of this would help him at the moment, so supervision is still an absolute must for us. But given that my FIL has a pool he's going to be around it, and for us we prefer he's used to being in the water early. I figure now that he's comfortable in there with me, it will be easier down the track when he's old enough to follow instruction a bit better and learn some skills.

For us it's worth the money. It costs me about twice as much for the lessons as it would cost just for pool entry for DS and I. Having already handed over the money makes me far more likely to go out and do it each week, and having someone there to talk to and ask how he's going and what we can work on has been great. I'm not super confident in the water, so I wanted that guidance from someone who is trained. We'll be doing one more term at this stage, then re-evaluate in winter and probably wait until he's a bit older.

#10 jobo77

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:26 PM

We did some baby lessons with DD when she was a bub and then put her in again when she was about 2.5 to get her used to it before having to start lessons without mum or dad in the water. She has improved unbelievably this year once she began lessons without us in with her so for us it was worth it and we will continue. DD will be 4 in April.
DS will be 2 in March and we have had him in lessons now for the last 2 terms - he can now kick his legs and can climb out of the pool by himself but other than that I am on the fence as to whether we are wasting money at this age. I mainly do it because we have his class at the same time as DD and our health fund pays 1 term a year  wink.gif

#11 Futhermore

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:51 PM

I found lessons very usefull for my son.  He started at 6 months, and at two I could throw him into the deep end of the pool and he'd paddle to the side (He LOVED it).  And water slides - he loved those too.  He's 7 now and I have just started not going in the water with him.  I wouldn't say his swimming is more advanced now than the kids who started later, but for me, the lessons were totally worth it, just to see him enjoying the water so much when he was little.

My daughter didn't start till she was 4 and went straight into lessons where they just did drills - she hated it and after six months couldn't even float.  I took her out and at 6 put her into another swim school - she learnt fast and now has a great style and has started squad swimming (she is 12 now)

Edited by ~maryanne~, 16 December 2012 - 06:56 PM.


#12 her mum

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:51 PM

We've been doing lessons from 6 months. My 19 month old can kick, paddle, jump into the water and climb out of the pool independently. She can 'swim' about 3 metres. She is very confident and loves being in the water. I don't think that I could have taught her these things.

#13 lozoodle

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:51 PM

Totally worth it. My just turned 2y old has done one term of mums and bubs swimming and can now swim dog paddle with just a bubble on her back. Its done wonders for her confidence, she moves up to classes on her own next term. Plus its a lot of fun.

#14 iwanttosleepin

Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:41 PM

i took my DS2 to swimming lessons on and off between 2 and 4 years old.  It was a waste of time.  He was disruptive and refused to do anything.  spent many lessons on the top step.

Then on day, not long before he was 4 years old he decided he could swim.  jumped in our pool and he could!



#15 Ice Queen

Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:48 PM

I find it to comment on other kids as I found the experience I had with DD was so different to what everyone had told me, how the other kids were in the class and what I expected.  I started when she was 18mo in a mums and bubs one.  It was AWFUL.  We lasted 4 lessons and I didnt go back.  Like the other PP she wouldnt do what she was told, clung to me, cried by the end......it was exhausting.  She is a total princess and she just wasnt confident enough.  i thought it would be a 'fun' activity for us to do during the week......so not fun!

So she just started again in the kindergarten class with no parent at 3.5yo.  SOOOOOO much better.  She behaves for the teacher, is still not overly confident but is getting there.  She did her first swim last week on her own for 15m!  biggrin.gif

OP, you know your child.  Maybe try a few but I am a big believer not to force little kids in case you make it worse.  Had I persisted I dont think it would have made her much better than she is now, she just wasnt ready.

#16 Mrs Lost Wanderer

Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:00 PM

My girls have been in lessons for 3 terms this year. DD1 would have been 2 and a bit and DD2 was 8 months when they started. At first DD2 would only hold onto my bathers straps for dear life with her face buried in my neck but she got use to it after a few weeks and now jumps off the side of the pool and swims underwater while blowing bubbles. She swims a lot better than DD1 but then she walked earlier and is just more coordinated than DD1 was at the same age so that probably has something to do with it too.

Personally, I think the earlier, the better. And to persist for more than just a month or so. If they don't like it for the long term don't force them. I don't believe in forcing them but at the same time, as some PP's have said they took the kids out after just a few weeks. If I had taken my girls out after the first couple of weeks when it was still a new a scary experience for them, they would have missed out on so much.


#17 MAGS24

Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:50 PM

I grew up around water and my parents were very strict on water safety because my dad almost drowned when he was a child. I knew that I would make sure my kids were very well trained around water. From newborn onward, I made sure that both boys were exposed to water everyday, such as the bath and/or shower and we regularly visit the local public pool and also have a portable pool for them to use everyday in summer.

I think it is important to find a good swim school that will focus on safety as well as swimming lessons and that also assess the child's progress regularly.

I agree with PP that the earlier the better.


#18 IsolaBella

Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:57 PM

We didn't start until 3 yrs when they could go by themselves and never had an issue with the kids wanting to go into the water.

I am anal about water safety (ESP as my folks have a pool), but saw no benefit in earlier lessons.



#19 Wahwah

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:12 PM

Ours didn't go until they were old enough to get in without an adult, because I hate swim classes and it we didn't want to do the hairy backed dad's classes on the weekends where there are close to ten thousand kids in the pool.

So, before 4 they'd been to the pool during the warmer months for just play time with me. We didn't have any issues with water familiarisation, they just got in and played.

I can't see that the kids that have been to baby classes are anymore advanced when it comes to learning strokes, etc during aqua ed. My guys are pretty good little swimmers having started 'late' and are moving up the class levels quickly.

#20 liveworkplay

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:13 PM

I took DD1 to baby swim at 7 mths old and honestly thought it was a waste of money....nothing DH and I couldn't (and hadn't) done ourselves. She started swim lessons at 5 after asking us after a morning at the pool when she would learn to swim properly. She learnt extremely quickly and has for the past 3 years swam with kids 2-4 years her senior.

DD2 was 4.5 and is going great guns. DD3 did 3 months of a class when she was 2 because it was directly after DD2's class and she kept asking to get in. She wasn't too fussed and in the end refused to go. She is starting again next year as at 3.5, she has again asked to do it.

As for if they are worthwhile? I would say under about 4, not really if you are willing to take your kids to the pool to get them familiar with moving through the water and putting their heads under. Before that age it really isn't rocket science.

#21 bluedragon

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:23 PM

QUOTE (crazyone2989 @ 16/12/2012, 06:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have been a swimming instructor for over 6 years and I am often the first person to say that baby classes for babies 6 months till about 18months - 2 years are more about getting used to the water, and are not  necessary if the parent feels comfortable to take the child (and have some idea of what kind of activities can be helpful) and will actually commit to taking them regularly.

Once they get to about 2 - 2.5 baby lessons become a lot more useful in teaching them the basics of moving through the water, breath control and even floating. I also find that for a lot of children it is a good way to get used to a class type environment with Mum or Dad present. With that said it is not unusual for kids to go a bit backwards once they turn 3 and are on their own but these kids probably would have struggled going straight into a class without Mum or Dad anyway.

At this age it is good to get them in and a get a good start on the basics or just simply getting used to being in a class environment and playing around in the pool.


I was a swim instructor and have to agree with this. I will take DS for 1 or 2 terms before he turns 3 and goes into the child only classes (so when he is about 2.5). This will be to introduce him to the structure of a swimming lesson while I am still with him, I think he will freak out a little if I waited til he was 3 and put him straight into a class by himself.

I would love to do a water survival class like hannahbug recommends but unfortunately the classes she endorses are only in Sydney. I have been looking for a similar class in Melbourne but no luck yet. If I find one I would do this ASAP. These aren't swimming classes as such but teach babies and toddlers how to survive if they fall into water.

#22 Spa Gonk

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:31 PM

For me it is worth it.  I think it is a lovely bonding thing to do with my child, it is fun and they are getting exercise.  Until recently, I would have said that taking your child regularly to the pool would have been just as useful.

However, my 9 month old started lessons 3 months ago, at 6 months old.  I am amazed at the stuff they have him doing- rolling underwater and floating on his back.  Whilst I am sure he could not save himself if he fell in, we are developing the concept if you fall in you turn over and float on your back.  Personally on my own I would not have done what they are doing, thinking it was for when he was a bit older.

I also like that my child grows up used to the water.  But for me I enjoy that time with them and joining lessons commits me to making sure I go every week.

#23 namie

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:00 PM

We started both boys in June, DS1 was 2.5 years and DS2 was 15 months.

Ds2 took to them straight away as he's always loved water, DS1 took quite a lot longer to warm up to it, however he has just graduated to the 'big kids' lessons with no parents in the pools and I am so proud of him! He entered the water with no hesitation, did what the teacher asked, floated on the noodle and kick board with less support than his dad or I would have provided and thoroughly enjoyed himself. He was also clearly proud of himself.

I have no doubt that without 6 months of 'little kids' lessons, he would have been completely different, heaps more nervous and probably needing one of us in the pool with him.

We go to the Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre (GESAC) in Bentleigh East and it is fantastic! The swim teachers we've had are really lovely. DS1s previous teacher saw him in the big kids pool and came over to say how sad she was not to have him in her class anymore. She also commented on how well he did in the lesson as she'd seen him swimming.



#24 Let_it_Rain

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:10 PM

QUOTE (crazyone2989 @ 16/12/2012, 06:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am curious as to what you were hoping he would learn? Perhaps the classes were not focused enough.

A lot of swim schools have terrible baby and parent classes as the instructors are not qualified to teach this age group


I would have liked an outcome like this:

QUOTE (whale-woman @ 16/12/2012, 06:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
She's much more confident in the water, is happy to put her head under, to jump into the water, can kick and she LOVES floating which she's pretty good at. She's starting to get the hang of paddling and kicking. If she's got floaties, a noodle or the like she'll happily motor around the pool with it independently. I reckon she'll be in a pretty good position to move onto proper swimming in her 3yo class next year.



QUOTE (her mum @ 16/12/2012, 07:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We've been doing lessons from 6 months. My 19 month old can kick, paddle, jump into the water and climb out of the pool independently. She can 'swim' about 3 metres. She is very confident and loves being in the water. I don't think that I could have taught her these things.


The problem I found with our classes was the huge difference in ability of the kids. There were some that could basically swim and others that were terrified of water and one teacher to 10 kids (plus parents) was not enough to do much.

DH had to do the classes because I was too short to do the activities huh.gif which was also frustrating.

#25 SeaPrincess

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:26 AM

I've done lessons with all of my children from as young as I could, plus we take them swimming a minimum of one extra time each week.  For me, it was a fun thing to do with them (even when it took me the better part of a morning and shuttling 3 children through the crèche to do it). I've seen differences in my children's attitudes, ability and confidence due to the ages that they started, personality differences, etc, but I think it is absolutely worth it to have children who are comfortable in the water and have some skills as early as possible.




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