Jump to content

Should I persist with swimming lessons?
For 3 yo DS


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 Mumto1feral

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:58 AM

I'm not really sure what do here. We started swimming lessons for our 3 yo DS. We have done about 5 weeks now. He likes the water and likes going "swimming". But when it comes to the class, he doesn't want to participate. He doesn't like putting his head under water or getting water up his nose. Either myself or my husband are in the water with him.  It's a real struggle to get him to do what the teacher asks. I don't like to push him as I am worried that it becomes a battle of wills and put him off swimming. My husband things we should push him a bit more or be more forceful. But then DS starts to get upset and lashes out. So we are disagreeing about how to handle it. My husband gets angry about it and thinks if we don't try to push DS into trying to participate that DS is learning that if he doesn't want to do something then he doesn't have to do it. DS told me he's scared of the "big" pool. So, I am not really sure what to do. Any thoughts? Do you think we should push it like my husband thinks we should? Or keep persisting at DS's own pace? Or I am thinking of just stopping the classes and trying again later in the year.

#2 Accidental

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

Your DH is right about teaching children that some things are not optional, and to persevere... but three is quite young, and your son may not have the understanding of delayed gratification needed to push through his discomfort.

I reckon give formal lessons a rest, take him for a weekly splash anyway for water familiarisation, and find another activity he can do that will help him learn to comply with teacher's directions - something he enjoys, like kindygym or soccer.

#3 bebe12

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

part of my decision making would take into account how many pools are in your DS environment. ie you have one or grandparents or you live near beach etc.  If your child is going to be at places where he needs swimming skills i would say take it at his pace but keep going. IYKWIM

If you aren't around water maybe delay.

#4 Fox's Sox

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

I think get him familiar with the water first and let him go at his own pace...he is only 3 and I think forcing him would be too traumatic for everyone.  Good luck!! original.gif

#5 gabbigirl

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:17 AM

We have had similar situations with both our girls. We have a swimming pool so learning to swim is important in our house.  With our first girl, we changed swim schools until we found a small one which she loved, and we never forced the issue.  With her personality it just made it worse.  She can now swim at 4.5 yrs old.  

My almost 3 yo has been the same as the big girl.  Not wanting to go under.  The teacher asked me to go into the reading area away from the class, and it worked perfectly.  She then went under and participated.  Would never have worked for no. 1 daughter.  

Having said that, I am not one to force these things...as we would never leave our children near water unsupervised.  I know this sounds obvious but where I live, near the beach, lots of kids swim early so parents do leave their kids unsupervised:   It blows me away.  We were also the situation where the girls were afraid of water and wouldn't go Anywhere near it without us...incl the bath!!



#6 cstar

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:17 AM

I agree with pp, I'd give it a rest, maybe you could take him swimming yourself once a week until his maybe 4 years old.  I found this age much easier with swimming lesson.  He isn't going to learn very much if he isn't happy.

Good luck

#7 kristylee21

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

Could u try a group lesson where parents arint in the water? I know my daughter is much better now I'm not in the water and she copies what the other kids do.

#8 crazyone2989

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

After only 5 weeks? No I don't think you should give up just yet. He is only three so the space between each lesson will seem huge and as such it can take a while for them to feel comfortable. I would go to the pool between lessons and just persist and encourage him to go under water. The teacher should be able to try a number of different things to get him to participate. Perhaps try another teacher or school.

#9 renee1979

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:24 AM

My daughter was similar, we tried her every term and had the same issues, so gave it a rest.  Just this last term she is finally loving it!  And after only 3 weeks she's been promoted into a class without me, and she's loving it and is so confident! Never would have guessed this would have happened, it's just a matter of time unless you traumatise them with over trying.  While she wasn't going to lessons we would go swimming every week so I'm sure that helped build her water confidence too.  Just don't make a big deal about it, it will happen a lot quicker and easier when the time is right.

#10 Domestic Goddess

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:25 AM

Hmmmm, how many kids are in the class? DS started swimming at 5 months old and I have been with him in the water all this time. Then he turned 3 and it was suggested he goes 1 class up. He's now in a class with 2 other boys and I just sit on a chair and watch him.
He likes to play with his "class mates" before lessons. One of the boys also only started lessons a few weeks back and is very wary of water in his nose and all that.
But as they now have a bit of a play before lessons, he is getting more confident and is copying my DS and the other 3yo boy.
Goggles helped DS with having his face in the water.

Is private lessons an option? Or if he;s in a big class, can you ask to put him in smaller class so he gets more 1 on 1 attention? If this isn't possible, perhaps look for a pool that does have smaller classes?

I Personally would persevere though, but that's just me. We live in an area that floods easily, so it's just piece of mind.



#11 melajoe

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

DD1 loved swimming lessons as a baby & toddler, where we would be in the pool with her, but at 2 she went into the "big kids" class where it was just 3-4 kids and an instructor, and no mummy or daddy in the pool.  She hated it.  She screamed her way through the first couple of lessons, and then when the instructor suggested we try it with us in the pool again she hated that too.  So we took her out of lessons for about 12 months.  We didn't intend for it to be that long but other things came up, we moved, then it was winter, and by the time the next summer came around we enrolled her in a new swim school and she loved it again.  She was quite clingy as a toddler and I think just having that 12 month break allowed her to find her independence and confidence and she was then quite happy to get in the pool with the instructor, without us.  We still took her swimming "for fun" in the time she had off, she loved to swim and splash around, but I think forcing her into that class too early just gave her such a negative association with going to swimming lessons.

Maybe take a small break, if you can, so that he can grow a little bit.  Can you take him in the big pool yourself to show him it's not such a scary place?  I think swimming is such an important skill for little kids to learn but it's not supposed to be traumatic for them, and if he is crying and not following the instructor's directions then he won't learn the skills anyway.

#12 froggy1

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:37 AM

We had a very similar situation - my 3 yo would wail and cry and cling to us through an entire lesson, then happily go into the pool afterwards and do everything from the lesson on her own! Hmmm. We gave it a break for a few weeks because she was a good swimmer, she just wasn't ready/comfortable enough for the teacher/class environment. We also changed to a different teacher who was less (ahem) bossy and more focussed on fun. At the first class the teacher had been one of those 'you should make them, she's old enough to do this, bla bla' bossy types. The second class we got her into was a 19yo teacher who said to my DD2 on her first day, 'no worries, do what you're comfortable with, we're just here to have fun, can you hold this toy for me, isn't this fun (etc)' and I swear after one lesson my DD2 was hooked! We haven't looked back. She hasn't missed a lesson or cried in the 18 months.

#13 Lucygoosey1

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

We have faced the same issues with my DD.  she likes playing in water but hates lessons and putting her head under.
We did a whole term of 'pushing her',  her screaming,  not wanting to do it.  It got us no where.
Then we changed schools and eased her in, just getting her to do things like kicking,  bubbles and then worked up to one or two head under water per lesson.  With a bribe of a lolly after class.  
Now she is better,  still doesn't like to go underwater though.
We have our own pool,  and there's not a chance she could save herself if she fell in. It's very important to me to continue lessons.
I'd be continuing with gentle encouragement rather than forcing him to do too much.  
Or having a break and trying again when he goes in by himself.

#14 Mamabear2010

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

Five weeks of lessons isn't very long. I would talk to the teacher and get their advice. I think they would have come across children with similar fears/dislikes and will be able to give you strategies.

I think water familiarisation is important. If your child fell in a pool, their head will be under and they are more likely to panic if it's unfamiliar to them.

There are some things you can do in the bath to help get them familiar with water on their heads. The teacher should be able to give you tips.

#15 harper_

Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

Persevere, but if he still hates don't bother. However I would take him to the pool and teach him yourself. It may save his life one day.

#16 RunDMC

Posted 28 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

My DS is 2.8 and having similar problems, loves the water but having trouble with the participation elements, crying, clingy, not wanting to be in the class - however not wanting to get out of the pool. Over the last 2 weeks randomly and on the way to the lessons we have:
Talked about the importance of listening to coach.
Talked through the structure of the lessons
Practiced the songs
Gone and watched our friend having her lesson - same age
Had another practice lesson on our own
Passed on pouring water on his head in the pool, but have practiced in the bath tub at home.


At this last lesson have we seen a 90 % improvement. He really enjoyed and participated in most of the class.

Edited by RunDMC, 28 February 2013 - 12:49 PM.


#17 paod

Posted 28 February 2013 - 12:49 PM

Its swimming lessons not hard labour. Knowing how to swim is IMO essential. I wouldn't be negotiating with a 3 yr old or it's the beginning of the end

#18 seayork2002

Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

I do agree children should learn to swim BUT how is forcing the issue actually going to assist the child to learn to swim, if this was my child I would scrap the lessons (for a while) and start from scratch with starting in a small pool, getting him used to that then gradually working from there, getting him to get his head under water in the bath playing outside with a bucket of water and just getting him used to water being fun then maybe getting together with other children and going to the pool together to muck around then start the lessons again, ask your husband to pick up a book on brain surgery and force him to learn it (not the same thing I know but to me forcing a child or an adult to learn anything different does not actually achieve anything in the long run).

Then start the lessons again, either this or a lifelong fear of water like my FIL . I do not think we should ‘wimp out’ but forcing is the other extreme.


#19 seayork2002

Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:08 PM

Can I ask how you can successfully physically force a child to swim will actually suddenly allow their body to teach them to swim?

QUOTE (paod @ 28/02/2013, 01:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Its swimming lessons not hard labour. Knowing how to swim is IMO essential. I wouldn't be negotiating with a 3 yr old or it's the beginning of the end



#20 bjk76

Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:20 PM

I agree with PPs to take your DS swimming 'for fun' outside of lessons, just to get him used to the water. My DS (23mo) is a bit scared of the water, and would even refuse to sit in the bath for a long time. He now has showers, but has just started swimming lessons again (after doing one term at 6mo). We took him to the pool 3 or 4 times to play before he started lessons. Our pool has a big waterpark playground area with varying depths, jets of water shooting everywhere, bubbles, waterslides etc. He loves playing with all these things and after a bit was quite happy to walk in chest-deep (for him) water. When we started lessons again, he was pretty scared to be in the deep water and especially didn't like it when the instructor took him and put him under the water!

We are going to spend some more time outside of class playing around in deep water, and encouraging him to be 'brave'. He's a fairly anxious kid, so he understands what 'brave' means. We usually help him get over his fears of different things by getting him to do something to react to the fear. eg. He was scared of the noisy automatic garage door at Nanna's, so we got him to walk up to it (which was a big thing) and knock on it. Once he did it a couple of times, he would quite proudly show how brave he was afterwards. He's scared of spiderwebs, so he will now blow on them, and scared of the dark crack where curtains don't quite meet in the middle, so we kind of make a 'beeping' gesture with our hands and say 'bah bah!' in a funny voice at the crack, and now he's a lot happier! So, basically doing silly little things like that actually helps him a lot. Given your DS is a lot older than mine, you should be able to discuss his feelings and strategies for dealing with them, a lot more easily than I do with my DS. I'd try to be silly and make a game out of the things he is scared of, but don't spend too much time trying in one go, especially if he's really scared.

Good luck!

#21 Lishyfips

Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:27 PM

I don't think there is anything wrong with saying he's not ready for swimming lessons yet and waiting till he's older. We don't always need to apply adult logic to situations and impose them on our kids - stopping because he's not enjoying it will not teach him to be a quitter, and he will not miss out on a place on the swim team as a teenager because he didn't start lessons till he was four or five.

Swimming pools are noisy, often chaotic places; putting your face in the water isn't very nice; having water splashed in your eyes isn't nice either. And three year olds are so young! Why should you have to do something that scares you when you're that little? Doesn't seem fair when there are so many years ahead of you to learn.

My eldest daughter hated getting her face wet, being splashed, being at the pool. I tried lessons when she was pre-school but she wasn't ready. Gave it a break till she was older, now she LOVES it. It can seem like everyone has their kids in swimming lessons from age three but it's not the case - lots of kids stop and start early on and they still learn quickly when they're a little older and more co-ordinated.

#22 Mamaidh

Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:36 PM

Some ways that I know of that other parents have been successful with are taking the child for lots of fun swims between lessons so that the pool is seen as a good thing, not a bad thing.  Change of swimming teacher can do the trick, whether it be a personality the your child relates to better, or someone who can deal with his issues in a way that works for him.  And then some children have just done better when they go back at an older age (though with plenty of exposure to pools so that fear isn't there)


#23 liveworkplay

Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:50 PM

I disagree with a lot of posters here. I would not be forcing a 3 yr old into lessons. They will be much more confident and learn much more quickly when they want to do it. Take them to the pool and do some blowing bubbles, kicking/paddling and jumping in yourself. Water orientation is not that hard.

#24 Mumto1feral

Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:54 PM

Thanks for the replies so far. Some really good ideas - thank you. It's always good to know that we are not the only ones facing this challenge!
QUOTE (bebe12 @ 28/02/2013, 11:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
part of my decision making would take into account how many pools are in your DS environment. ie you have one or grandparents or you live near beach etc.  If your child is going to be at places where he needs swimming skills i would say take it at his pace but keep going. IYKWIM

If you aren't around water maybe delay.

No pools or beaches around here. I just thought now may have been a good time to start.

QUOTE (kristylee21 @ 28/02/2013, 11:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Could u try a group lesson where parents arint in the water? I know my daughter is much better now I'm not in the water and she copies what the other kids do.
DS can be clingy, so not sure this would work just yet. Even at story time at the library he sits on my knee and doesn't sit on the mat with the other children.

QUOTE (Domestic Goddess @ 28/02/2013, 11:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hmmmm, how many kids are in the class?

It's a small class. 2-3 kids plus parents each week. But it's still a very busy area as its based at the local pool, so DS may also feeling overwhelmed.


Edit - typos!

Edited by Mumto1bub, 28 February 2013 - 02:59 PM.


#25 Lishyfips

Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

The older my kids get the more I realise that I don't need to rush them into doing things. I know swimming needs to be learnt for safety, but three years old is so young and if they don't enjoy it, why push it. Especially as it's not just your son who won't enjoy it - you'll find it stressful taking him. Give yourselves a break! There are some unpleasant and stressful things in parenting you can't avoid (toilet training, sleepless nights etc) but you're not doing your son any harm if he doesn't have consistent swimming lessons from age three.

Good luck with your decision!




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Special Ticket Offer, Save $8!

The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is back this April! Save $8 off the door price for a limited time only!

Why I breastfed my son until he was three

The fact that I not only breastfed my son, but breastfed him for three and a half years, seems pretty incredible in retrospect.

Do babies and young children see ghosts?

Do babies and young children see ghosts? If you’ve pondered the question, you’re not alone.

15 years with Essential Baby: meet Therese

"Life has a funny way of giving you what you need when you need it the most."

Mum causes a stir by taking a stand against leggings

A mum has found herself the subject of debate after claiming tight bottoms cause lustful thoughts in men.

Don't set a parenting goal for 2015 - do this instead

The problem with goal setting as a parent is the measure. How do we really know if we’re succeeding?

5 pregnancy myths that just won't go away

When you're expecting, it often seems like everyone is keen to offer advice about what you should and shouldn't do in the interests of your health and wellbeing.

RPA hospital contacting mums after discovering vaccine storage fault

Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) is trying to contact women who had babies at the facility after discovering a fault in a refrigerator containing vaccines.

'Nutella' not a baby name, French court says

A French court has blocked parents from naming their baby girl after the hazelnut spread Nutella, arguing it would make her the target of mockery.

Why I'm never calling myself 'just a mum' again

I’ve grown three human beings. I feed them, dress them, teach them, care for them and love them 24 hours a day. Yet for eight years, when I meet new people and they’ve asked me what I do, I tell them: “I’m just a mum”.

Rosie Batty named 2015 Australian of the Year

One year ago, Rosie Batty could not have imagined she'd be where she is. Tonight the grieving mum who put domestic violence on the national agenda was named Australian of the Year.

Five reasons to hug more

Hugging – some of us thrive on it, even depend on it – and then there are those who don't care for it really. So, are they missing out?

Help - my three-year-old has started throwing tantrums

My daughter never went through the "terrible twos" but began throwing wild tantrums shortly after her third birthday.

That's commitment

First peek at Sonia Kruger's daughter Maggie

"She smells so good, I could eat her," Kruger tells co-host David Campbell.

Mum assists in own caesarean surgery

A mum who partly delivered her own twins during a caesarean has encouraged other women to take control of their birthing experience.

How to handle common childhood regressions

Regression can be a natural and common part of development prompted by a variety of factors, but that doesn't make it less frustrating.

Disgruntled dad's pram ad goes viral

When buying a second hand pram, there are lots of things to take into consideration. 

Man discovers he's a dad after finding 55-year-old letter

Discovering you are about to father a baby is startling enough - never mind finding out you have a 61-year-old son.

15 thoughts mums have during a tantrum

Ranging from mild to feral and triggered by events both minor and major, tantrums certainly keep life interesting.

Natural pain relief in the early stages of labour

While managing labour pains on your own can be daunting, there are a number of natural pain relief options to help you cope until you are admitted to hospital.

Win an Octonauts prize pack

To celebrate the launch of Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield, a spectacular underwater adventure live on stage, we are giving away an amazing Octonauts prize pack to one lucky fan.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Forgotten Baby Syndrome claims the life of toddler

One baby dies every eight days in the back of a car in the US, victims of 'forgotten baby syndrome'.

For a brief time, I was touched by an angel

For a brief time, I was touched by an angel. You stole my heart, and changed me into the women I am today.

Chinese woman gives birth to quintuplets

After six years of trying for a baby, a couple’s dreams have come true many times over after the mum gave birth to quintuplets this week.

Chrissie Swan has reached her "sex quota"

Chrissie Swan says she and her partner have sex once a year due to her fear of falling pregnant.

Stars help save choking babies

It's an important lesson to learn, but one that busy new mums and dads might overlook until it's too late.

New Girl star Zooey Deschanel pregnant

Actress Zooey Deschanel is expecting her first child with her producer boyfriend Jacob Pechenik.

16 times 'dad reflexes' saved the day

Of course, in some cases they may be the ones who actually got their child into a precarious position in the first place, but we'll ignore that for now.

Couple's 'non-traditional' pregnancy announcement goes viral

Knowing you are not the father of your pregnant wife's baby would usually indicate a rocky relationship ahead for traditional parents.

The trials and tribulations of identical triplet newborns

Pip Donnelly is still playing spot the difference with her newborn identical triplets, Isabelle, Georgina and Frankie.

Win an Octonauts prize pack

To celebrate the launch of Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield, a spectacular underwater adventure live on stage, we are giving away an amazing Octonauts prize pack to one lucky fan.

Earthquake baby thriving five years on

Jenny Alexis is lucky to be alive after spending four days buried in the rubble of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, but now she's a thriving five year old.

Please don't say I'm lucky because I was adopted

On the one hand I was having a regular life with friends and sports and sleepovers and school. But I was also always wondering: Did my mother love me? What was wrong with me?

An open letter to non-parents who offer advice on child-rearing

Kitty, when you’re the parent of my child you’re welcome to wade in with an opinion – but until then, I’d prefer you to have a supportive ear and a glass of wine ready.

Couple arrested over baby gun video

A US couple faces charges after investigators say they found mobile phone videos showing the woman's 12-month-old daughter putting a handgun in her mouth.

NSW Health dumps 10-year limit on frozen embryos

A 10-year time limit on storing frozen embryos that were created with donor sperm has been dropped by the NSW government.

How my happy-go-lucky husband became a monster

Sharan Nicholson-Rogers watched her husband change from a happy-go-lucky police officer into an unpredictable man prone to violent and emotional outbursts.

Dads-to-be experience hormonal changes, too

Dads-to-be experience hormonal changes in line with their pregnant partners, a new study shows.

'They were just doing their job': mum of toddler killed in police chase gone wrong

"They were just doing their job. I feel so sorry for them. It is all just too sad."

Miscarriages to be formally recognised by NSW government

Women who miscarry will be able to obtain an optional "recognition of loss" certificate as a formal recognition of their often heartbreaking loss.

Cafe cubby house 'too noisy' for neighbours

Teenage parties, domestic disputes, or raucous late night pubs are the things that usually come to mind when you think neighbourhood noise complaints.

Dad films baby playing with snake

Most parents would not consider a snake an appropriate playmate for their baby, but a US dad who filmed his daughter playing with a python has defended himself against criticism.

Clever breastfeeding products

Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.

 

Back to School Offer

Findababysitter.com.au

We've got you covered for this school year. Use www.findababysitter.com.au to meet local nannies now.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.