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dislikes swimming lessons

17 replies to this topic

#1 bette davis

Posted 07 May 2012 - 03:24 PM

My three-and-a-half year old has been having weekly swimming lessons for about 2 years. He hates getting his head or face wet at all, to the point of tears.

We are with a great school, have been with them from the start. He has a great rapport with the teacher, who has a lovely way with children. He doesn't mind getting in the pool itself, or the rest of his body getting wet, and can do things like climb out of the pool himself. But it is now expected that he gradually starts to blow bubbles, go underwater for a few seconds, and float on his back; just the expectation of this things reduces him to tears and he spends most of the lesson in this way.

Should we stop lessons for the forseeable future or persevere? We don't expect him to become a champion swimmer - just to learn enough for safety and fun in pools with his friends. We have tried in his bath to get him used to blowing bubbles,  getting hair wet (hates hair washing too) but to no avail.

Any advice most welcome!

#2 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:31 PM

have you asked him what he wants to do?
id try that first.
good luck! one of my neices was like this too, until this summer (5.5yo) and now shes fine.

#3 gabbigirl

Posted 29 May 2012 - 11:46 AM

For a while swimming lessons were a complete nightmare for my daughter.  I didn’t think there was a point so I pulled her out of classes for a semester and then went to a new school with smaller classes.  She now loves it and I can’t believe the improvement.  I wasn’t concerned with pulling her out of the classes even though we have a pool as we’re always in the pool with her.

The other thing is to try goggles.

But seriously , the more you force him, the more he will resist.  that's certainly my experience.

#4 unicycle

Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:46 PM

If it were me, i would Just leave it be and take  him to the pool without having lessons and let him do what he likes. Id bring fun toys and eventually have games where he makes a grab for a toy car tc under the water, but id do it slowly and not forcebhe issue.He doesn't need to be doing lessons yet to become a competent swimmer. It will come. And if I am wrong and it doesn't and he never learns to swim, I feel confident that forcing him now is a more wrong option than my suggestion. Which doesn't make my suggestion right, just less wrong. I can't believe I am about to hit "post". For what it is worth, my kids learnt to swim without formal lessons and my son came home from his new school proud that he has been placed in the second top group for pe swimming block. The top groups at school are all full of squad kids, and we were never going to go that route. If you can swim you can probably with a bit of googling, be able to teach your kids, too.

#5 Mum2MandA

Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:57 PM

Maybe take him out of formal lessons for a while and just take him regularly and let him play in a paddling pool with goggles on? If you take some toys he might start experimenting himself without worrying about expectations.

I wouldn't be overly concerned. I used to teach swimming years ago and there are a lot of children his age that are still frightened of the water full stop so the fact that he happily gets in the pool is a good thing.

On a side note, it always amazes too how one day they just go under voluntarily when you least expect it. It's just a matter of waiting until they're ready. You're giving him every opportunity so the rest is up to him.

Good luck!

#6 SeaPrincess

Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:08 PM

Another who would suggest goggles, if he isn't already wearing them. My 4-y-o will not put his face in the water at all without them, and I was talking to another mother whose son is the same age and his teacher put goggles on him last week and said that if he'd been wearing them all term, he might be going up to the next level - it made that much of a difference to his confidence when he was able to see.


#7 mumto3princesses

Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:19 AM

My DD1 was the same. It took her until she was 6yrs old to stop crying. Then DD2 came along and was a lot worse. Goggles as pp have said if you aren't already doing it. What we decided to do was make sure the teacher didn't try to force her in any way. Encourage and ask her to put her face in but if she didn't want to then don't force her. She started with just resting her chin on the water.

We didn't want to stop the lessons with DD1 and again with DD2 because we felt that they could probably get worse if we stopped them or at least just not get better. With both of them taking them swimming myself wasn't an option. With DD1 I was pregnant with DD2 & DD3 and then I couldn't do it with twins as well. Then again couldn't take DD2 swimming as I had both DD1 & DD3 as well. As a toddler DD3 was scary to take swimming even on her own as she had enough confidence for all 3 of them even without the skills. She would jump in and you would have to go grab her out from under the water and she would come up laughing at how much fun it was. She still loves swimming.

They can all swim well now but even now at almost 9yrs old DD2 is a very nervous swimmer. So, if we had stopped I don't believe it would have done her any good.

#8 Domestic Goddess

Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:49 PM

My son started lessons at 5 months. Loved it for a year and then at 18 months he started to hate it as the teacher became more pushy as the expectations were a bit higher as he was a bit older now.
I gave it a break and now at nearly 3yo I have started the lessons again and he's now happy to do what the teacher asks him to do (jumping into my arms from the edge, going under water with his ears, etc. Things he didn't want to do at 18 months).

So perhaps give it a break for a bit. Maybe even just 6-12 months? Go to the pool for fun only and not for lessons. That might persuade him to get more daring too?

#9 BetteBoop

Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:53 PM

QUOTE (Mum2MandA @ 12/09/2012, 04:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe take him out of formal lessons for a while and just take him regularly and let him play in a paddling pool with goggles on? If you take some toys he might start experimenting himself without worrying about expectations.

This. We gave up swimming lessons after a couple of attempts because DD hated it and became fearful of all water.

Instead, we went to the pool weekly and just had fun together. At age 5 she's started swimming lessons at school.

She's a far better swimmer than her peers and most of them have had years of lessons. I believe a child will learn far better when they're having fun than when they're afraid.

#10 ~Nic~

Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:13 AM

I was the same with DS2 - He hates getting his head wet and screams whenever he tries which disrupts the entire classs as well. I pulled him out of lessons and started taking him to the pool myself once a week - I use USwim - it's an online teach your kids to swim yourself website and I have found that DS has progressed more in the couple of months since I was doing that than he did in the couple of years that he was in lessons.

#11 Pop-to-the-shops

Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

my dd was like that at about three.
she loved swimming and could do everything except 'pick up the brick' from the bottom of the pool.

the teacher tried to get her to get the brick every single week. and every week it ended in tears.  

we had a break for a term or two, and we ended up at a different swim school.

she was fine and now shes a great swimmer.

#12 qak

Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:24 AM

DS went through a stage like that and then one week we had a different teacher and she was fine from that point onwards.  So maybe try a different teacher or a different school, or a break.

#13 niggles

Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:35 AM

My 4.5 year old is still learning those things. Last summer she went through a real aversion to water on her face. We just let her do her thing and started lessons again this spring. Her teacher is very gentle with them and is taking lots of time to encourage them slowly. We spent almost every day in the water over the last school holidays as well. That intensive fun swimming in the lead up to the lessons has given her a bit of drive too.

#14 LittleMissPink

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:52 PM

I'd stop the lessons, and make going to the pool fun.

My 3.5 year old has been the same...she loves the water, is happy and confident, can put her face in etc. But I put her in lessons for the first time this year and it was a complete disaster! She screamed every lesson, but if we were swimming for fun she was fine.

So we stopped the lessons, made swimming just for fun, and sh i s learning to swim all on her own! Will revisit lessons later when i think the time is right.

#15 Lyn29

Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:00 PM


Edited by bye, 29 March 2013 - 03:04 PM.

#16 Gudrun

Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:08 PM

I'd take him out of lessons too and just take him to the pool fairly frequently for fun.  They're all different.  If it's still a problem when he is older private one on one lessons might be the go.

My daughter started lessons at 5 and refused, refused, refused to put her head under water and I remember the teacher carrying her around and dipping under the lane ropes so her head had to go in.  Anyway it worked in the end and that kid ended up being a serious swimmer way into her twenties.

I also had an anti water kid and when he was in grade 6 I told him not learning to swim was not an option. I said he wasn't playing tennis anymore until he reached level 7 in the Vicswim program. He did his level 7 and never got in water for recreation again. That was 23 years ago.

Edited by Gudrun, 23 December 2012 - 06:13 PM.

#17 Currywurst

Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

I also agree with informal lessons. My son has done well with his lessons but wont go all the way under. The teacher said most either hate water in their ears or up their nose.  We bought DS a nose clip and goggles and he is much better. It was the water up his nose that was upsetting him.  We also spend a bit of time playing after a lesson and he copies what he has learnt with us in the pool.  This week we have been nearly every day to the pool for fun and he was great on Saturday at his official lesson.  

Good luck

#18 Currywurst

Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

I also agree with informal lessons. My son has done well with his lessons but wont go all the way under. The teacher said most either hate water in their ears or up their nose.  We bought DS a nose clip and goggles and he is much better. It was the water up his nose that was upsetting him.  We also spend a bit of time playing after a lesson and he copies what he has learnt with us in the pool.  This week we have been nearly every day to the pool for fun and he was great on Saturday at his official lesson.  

Good luck

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