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Lallalla

Swimming

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Lallalla

I’ve probably posted about this before, sorry, I can’t find it but this has been an ongoing issue so I am sure I must have!!

My 6 year old has been in swimming lessons since she was 6 months old. I myself nearly drowned twice as a baby so I really wanted my kids swimming early.

But she still can’t swim more than a couple of metres. I’m not sure if we keep persevering, take a break, do something different??? She does weekly classes and I have been toying with taking her out of those and putting her into school holiday intensives. She’s done a couple of those before and made jumps forward when she did. 

She is a very nervous swimmer (But loves the water, not sure how that works but here we are) and generally anxious little bean, so took a long long time to get started but now she is very willing to give it a go. But so so uncoordinated.

She takes after me, I was not and am not a strong swimmer and had to work harder than other kids to learn. I don’t expect her or any of them to be on swim squad or anything crazy like that I just don’t want to have to worry about her and water for the rest of her life.

Her 4 year old sister can swim circles around her (though I know that kid is the opposite end of the swimming spectrum in confidence and in ability) and even my more average (at swimming) 4 year old is rapidly catching up. 

All of this is overlaid with guilt. Her original “multi award winning“ swim school wasn’t good, at all, it turned out. We didn’t realise how bad until we moved to one that could accommodate the twins in the baby classes with just me. It turned out their program was so much better and so were their teachers. So while the twins are naturally less anxious stronger swimmers they got a much better start. 

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José

You say she's uncoordinated.  Is that generally or specific to swimming?

If holiday intensives work it makes sense to me to do what works. 

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Fluffy Potatoes

I would take her out of the weekly classes for the remainder of the year and just do the holiday intensives. During term time I would take her swimming regularly just for fun. 
Sometimes taking a break gives their brains a chance to catch up to the new skills. At 6 they have so much going on, particularly FYOS kids, it’s all just a bit overwhelming. 

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CrankyM

I’d take her out and put her in the intensives. Sometimes it takes a bit longer for it to click with kids. Heck my 10yr old is barely out of stage 3 of the swim program.

I will say if she is uncoordinated (Besides swimming) it maybe something else is going on. My oldest (11) has low propriception so really struggles with freestyle as he doesn’t get the sensory feedback at high enough levels to be able to tell where his arms are without seeing them. The sensory input of going from water to dry to water doesn’t help either. So we had a teacher who helped him with getting breaststroke under his belt. And realised that he wasn’t going to be perfect technique wise. And he surprised us all and passed levels 5 and 6 last time he did the school holidays intensives. To be honest I only book my kids into these now (and not just because it’s cheaper as they are subsidised by dept. education in WA) 

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chicken_bits

My kids have only ever done school swimming (8 lessons in 2 weeks) and summer intensive (5 lessons in 1 week) and my DD who has now done 3 years of it is no different in skill level to some of those who have been doing it once a week. It's a completely different way of learning.

Is your daughter aware of how uncoordinated she is? I'd suggest putting her into a different activity (if logistically possible) that would suit her skills better to help build her confidence. And then try with the summer swimming program.

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Ghost Girl

I had a similar problem with my DD at about same age. We spent nearly 18months at same level going nowhere. We changed schools but I also had a long conversation with the new swim school that then paired her with the right teacher, who actually taught her to swim,  and stroke correction. She is now doing 25 meters  with ease. Whenever she goes up a level, I watch the new teacher closely to ensure I good fit. I've had to change her once at new school when I felt teacher is more interested in chatting than swimming. So maybe if you haven't talk with he school and try a different teacher.  It's really hard but worth it.

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seayork2002

Looking back ds's swim school was very thorough on perfecting strokes which is great for the kids who want it.

Ds started at 4/5 and went till 9/10 ( I can't remember when he stopped but is nearly 13 now)

He was going through the motions but that was it, personally I don't think the ability to swim overall saves a child or even an adult so we let him stop

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Ozquoll

As FP says upthread, take her out of weekly swimming classes and do the holiday intensives instead.

I can identify with your DDs struggles - I am quite unco-ordinated and suffer anxiety (luckily much milder now than when I was a child). Could you look at strategies for helping her with both issues? Perhaps psychology or even medication for the anxiety? And perhaps an OT or a paediatric physiotherapist could work with her to improve her fine and gross motor skills. 

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blueskies12

I would have been the same as your daughter. Is it possible that she changes swim schools and tries a different teacher? Or can she do one on one lessons? It may be more expensive, but she may not need as many lessons. A good, kind and positive  teacher would be really important. I can understand why you would want to give it up, but I think with tweaking things it may get easier.

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overlytired

When one of my  kids wasn't progressing with group classes, we moved her into one session (8 or 10 weekly classes) of private instruction. The one-on-one time allowed her instructor to find and fix whatever was preventing her from progressing. It wasn't cheap but it was money well spent (We don't have school-based swimming here so our only option is programming run by the city – IIRC the rate was double that of group lessons).

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Lallalla
15 hours ago, José said:

You say she's uncoordinated.  Is that generally or specific to swimming?

If holiday intensives work it makes sense to me to do what works. 

I’d say it is garden variety unco/clumsy - she can skip and catch (sometimes). But She is accident prone and getting her arms and legs doing 2 different things at once (like freestyle) is proving hard. I suspect like me she will find breaststroke easier - it is easily my strongest stroke.

it isn’t surprising to us that she is a bit clumsy - you may recall a recent post about someone falling through a baby gate and giving the self a black eye- that was me.

We also have previously had to switch teachers, she had a great one that finally got her swimming independently (she was the perfect mix of firm but kind and pushing but not too hard), they moved her up a level and that teacher was too nice, gave into and pandered to her anxieties. So I asked for her to go to a different teacher who got her back on track. She’s got a new teacher post-pandemic shutdown who seems ok so far. 
 

Some one on one lessons might be an idea

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Crombek
20 minutes ago, Lallalla said:

I’d say it is garden variety unco/clumsy - she can skip and catch (sometimes). But She is accident prone and getting her arms and legs doing 2 different things at once (like freestyle) is proving hard. I suspect like me she will find breaststroke easier - it is easily my strongest stroke.

it isn’t surprising to us that she is a bit clumsy - you may recall a recent post about someone falling through a baby gate and giving the self a black eye- that was me.

We also have previously had to switch teachers, she had a great one that finally got her swimming independently (she was the perfect mix of firm but kind and pushing but not too hard), they moved her up a level and that teacher was too nice, gave into and pandered to her anxieties. So I asked for her to go to a different teacher who got her back on track. She’s got a new teacher post-pandemic shutdown who seems ok so far. 
 

Some one on one lessons might be an idea

Given this info, I don't think it would be unreasonable to have her assessed by a paediatric physio. 

My family has a long history of haha, we are so unco, ankles rolling, knees dislocating, looking like dorks. Not sporty etc. Until I coughed myself a quite serious prolapse as an adult and finally realised we are all mildly hypermobile/low muscle tone.

I wish it was picked up sooner because even though it was just one of those 'us' things growing up I never understood what it was like to go down a set of stairs without anxiety until I was 35. Never knew what it was like to swim a length of a pool without utter exhaustion, no matter my level of fitness. As soon as DS2 showed signs I took him to a physio and we regularly do activities targeted at building his core and joint muscle strength.   

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hoohoobump

Perhaps have a read about dyspraxia and see if you think that fits. Or things like low muscle tone, hyper mobility. 

Some kids need more support for motor skills, particularly when lots of body parts are doing different things e.g. arms, legs, breathing (mouth, nose, lungs, head). Breaststroke is easier for some as things are moving in a mirror pattern from the midline. 

Paediatric physio or OT would be helpful perhaps?

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José
1 hour ago, hoohoobump said:

 

Paediatric physio or OT would be helpful perhaps?

Yes, I would consider this. An assessment would let you know if its age appropriate or perhaps something that therapy or an at home program could assist with. 

My DS does individual lessons but it was more about its hard for him to pay attention in group and he isn't always great at waiting his turn.

He does have low muscle tone that impacts his progress in swimming. It's helpful to know that that's what it is so we know it's not the teacher or the teaching method but that we need to expect slower progress. And we do OT and physio activities that assist. 

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PrincessPeach

If it’s co-ordination which is an issue, then I’d keep persevering with the swimming but you need the right team her.

My own child has verbal dispraxia, visual tracking issues, plus struggles with figuring out left & right. It has a surprisingly big impact on his general co-ordination in regards to swimming & ball sports (for some reason he can manage to ride a bike with no problems). He lucked out with a wonderful swimming teacher who realised he was a bit on the uncoordinated side but has kept his confidence up, which makes a big difference.

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Prancer is coming

Does she enjoy it?  I would focus on that more than progress.  If she just swims once a week, I don’t think her progress would be that unusual.  When we lived in the heat, I was amazed how well kids swam.  Now we live in the cold, plenty of bigger kids in the lower swim groups.

 

i do agree with changing if it does not work for you - both instructors and schools.

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