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advice or recommendations for swimming lessons
for a child scared of going under water

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13 replies to this topic

#1 queeney

Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:36 PM

My son is 3.5 and loves water. Loves going in the water, splashing, playing on the steps etc can even blow bubbles with just his lips in the water but is petrified of putting his face under or going on his back.

I had him in lessons at Altone park in Beechboro the class was only four children but i think he needs something one on one. I don't really know what to do i was a fish at his age so can't relate. I don't want to force him but i want to help him to feel secure enough to do it, so I'm wondering if there are any swimming lessons or programmes that focus directly on this issue?

I an north of the river, but open to all suggestions. Or even advice if your little one was similar?

Thanks in advance ladies.

Edited by queeney, 08 February 2013 - 05:40 PM.

#2 jujujulie

Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:36 PM

I used to teach swimming and I would say to wear goggles in the bath and get him to put his goggles on your hand and slowly put hands in water, blow bubbles. Take it slow and lots of praise. Ask what he saw under water etc.

#3 sophiasmum

Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:01 AM

No advice, but I wanted to share experience. My DD(4) started swimming lessons last week & they left going underwater until the end of the class. There was 1 girl who started crying & was obviously scared to do it so they didn't push her. She jumped in but kept her head above water.

My DD doesn't like going on her back, she'll do it but you can tell she's not comfortable with it. The teacher said to get her used to it by laying her head on your shoulder & talking in her ear telling her to relax so she floats her body like seaweed.

It's hard to watch them when you know they are not enjoying something, but perhaps when he is a bit older he will be less afraid?

#4 Jupiter

Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

My daughter was like this and I ended up leaving her to deal with it at her own pace.

She has just mastered it during vacation swimming lessons, aged 5 and a half. original.gif

These lessons at St Mary's Karrinyup look good: http://www.swimstruct.com.au/swimstruct_cl...ns_bookings.htm

I've taken my kids to Newman College Churchlands for vacation swimming for years. There's never been more than two kids per class although the maximum is four.

#5 Aquarium

Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:30 AM

What's he like in the bath? Are you able to pour water over his face? This should be your starting point, with a small cup and build up to larger amounts. Once he's comfortable with having a large cup poured down the front of his face, he'll be ready for the pool.

#6 queeney

Posted 09 February 2013 - 04:20 PM

Thanks for the replies Ladies. I tend to agree i think he just needs time to mature and get used to it and understand the concept a bit more.

He doesn't mind water in his head in the shower or bath, but needs a towelimmediatelly to dry it. I just keep reassuring him that water on his face is fine and have started taking a little longer each time to pass him a towel, only a few seconds, but he is dealing with it ok.

#7 queeney

Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:27 PM

So, just thought ild pop in and update from tonight swim at my parents. I stopped at the chemist and got him the ear plugs and band and he was so excited and proud to show pop pop his Band that would help him swim.

I started really slowly asking him to do little things (as i have in the past with no willingness at all) and he started by tilting his head to each side putting his ears in. Slowly slowly and he actually swam with his swim vest on and noodle in a 'u' shape under his arms as we had tried and tried to get him to do in his swimming lessons. He only swam about a metre unassisted from me to the steps. He did this twice and i was so proud!! I don't know if his ears were the issue or the ear band just gave him the courage, but i don't care!! Lol.

I'm going to keep encouraging him to feel comfortable while in my parents pool and maybe look at enrolling him in lessons next term.

Thanks again for your advice and suggestions.

#8 libbylu

Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:31 PM

The best way to get kids through this phase is to get into the pool with them and play together on a regular basis.  They are way braver when you are right there for them.  Preferably when the pool is quiet and you can relax and have a lovely cuddly time together. With gentle encouragement and mummy right at hand it doesn't take long.

#9 Overtherainbow

Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:58 PM

I'll go against majority.  DS was petrified of all water.  Bath, pool, shower, etc.  Even being in a room with water would have him hysterical.

We got to 3 and ended up just pushing him.  We had a horrible time for several months.  Swimming twice per week in lessons and once for a play swim.  We did make him go under once per lesson.  We rewarded him for doing it and praised him majorly.

4 years later and he's a fish.  He talks about when he used to be scared of water and finds it strange that he was scared and now loves it so much.  He's becoming a strong swimmer and can dive, flip and bombie with the best of them.

We found more frequent swimming made a huge difference.  Once per week wasn't enough for him.  I hated it, his teachers hated it.  He has a wonderful relationship with those teachers still and he always finds them to say hello when we go to lessons.

ETA We always used goggles and it's only recently he is comfortable spending some time without them.

Edited by Overtherainbow, 10 February 2013 - 12:05 AM.

#10 Sheep

Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:43 AM

Mine hated it too, we just let him take it at his own pace, lots of encouragement, I think he was around 4 or 5 when he started to be comfortable with it all the time. He's 9 now and loves swimming. I think forcing them is a bit dangerous and could really backfire on you, keep it fun!

#11 75etd

Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:19 AM

The only thing that got my DS 4.5 and DD 2.5 to put their heads under was having some older kids come over and they were just in admiration of all the fun things it lead to-jumping in, swimming with goggles, etc. In the two weeks since this happened my DD's swimming has advanced more than in swimming lessons over the previous 2 months

#12 mumto3princesses

Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:53 AM

With DD#2 it just took time.

I made sure her teacher didn't force her. I disagree with dunking etc. But her teacher was really good. Just encouraged her slowly. It did take her a very long time though as DD#2 was petrified of the water. Her twin sister on the other hand had no fear. First just paddles etc with no screaming, then chin on the water, then can you just put your mouth in the water and blow bubbles, then can you put any more of your face in the water and so on.

DD#2 is now 9yrs old and still does have a little fear. Its not noticeable but her swimming teacher can see it and told me she can still tell she is a nervous swimmer. She swims laps of the 25m pool though and if you didn't know her you probably wouldn't know she is nervous.

#13 liveworkplay

Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:20 AM

I don't know if his ears were the issue or the ear band just gave him the courage, but i don't care!! Lol.

My 3.5 yr old hates water in her ears as well. We have maior issues with baths and no way she would ever have a shower. She has been doing lessons for a couple of weeks now and was very very proud of herself last week as she plucked up the courage to duck under the hoop to collect some toys. I just let her initiate it and helped her through.

I am actually not a big one for formal swim lessons for toddlers, the only reason DD3 is going so early is because she has watched her sisters for so long and she kept asking. We always took the kids to the pool and beach at a young age but DD1 didnt start lessons until 5 and she was swimming freestyle a couple of months later. DD2 started at 4 and has taken a lot longer to get at that level but is still ahead of her age group.

I think if you wait until they WANT to learn it is much more successful much more quickly.

#14 queeney

Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:23 PM

Thanks ladies.
liveworkplay i tend to agree. My son and niece did lessons together last year, he was just turned three and she was four and a half. It was both Thier first lessons. The difference between the confidence, understanding and maturity was huge. I think I'll keep doing my own gentle encouragement and look at enrolling him after he's four.

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