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  1. #1
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    Default Freaking out at swimming lessons

    DD is 3.5yo and I've just started her in swimming lessons. We did it as a baby but had a long break for various reasons.

    Anyway, she freaked out today and wouldn't get in the water with the instructor. We got her in briefly but she just cried so we took her out again.

    Did your child freak out at swimming? Did it get better? What helped?

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    My DS was like this ... he would be shaking he was so scared. I was nearly crying with him, it broke my heart. We kept putting off lessons because he was so scared. When he was 5 we pushed the lessons.

    It took finding the right swim instructor who understood he was scared and not just playing up. It took 12 months of slowly, slowly and he began to look forward to swimming lessons. Three years later he is swimming freestyle properly and happy to jump in where he can't touch.

    He moved up a level a few months ago, different instructor who was holding his head in the water (when teaching the bubbles, bubbles, breath) but he started to panic. Changed teachers to one that didn't hold the head under as I was going to go backwards.

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    Hi. My DD had a bad experience at group lessons (4 kids in one class). She lost all her confidence and was a mess. We ended up changing swim schools and she had a few private lessons (about 4). This was enough to rebuild her confidence and get back into the group lessons. It sounds easy but it wasn't. She still wasn't keen during the first few private lessons but really liked her teacher. This helped enormously. Good luck

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    Ds1 was like this would scream the place down. As hard as it is and it breaks your heart keep persisting and one day it will click and they will get it. Like pp said it does take the right teacher we changed teacher about 3 times before we found one that understood his fears and worked with him. We had one on one teachers up until last year then switched swim schools so he is now in a class with about 4 others which is better now that he has more skills in the water. I think early on if he was in with other kids he would not have made progress and would have gotten lost.

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    Yep, totally normal. Keep putting them back in and tell them it's ok. Someone told me it takes about 4-5 weeks for them to stay in and stop crying and they were so right!!
    Don't back down, it gets easier and you will both be happy in the end. Good luck!

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    We tried DD2 at about 3.5 and she freaked out, we waited till she was 4 and she was perfect - seems she did a lot of growing up in that 6mths

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    Two of mine had freak outs at that age and so we stopped the lessons and just focused on enjoying the water, having fun and slowly building confidence and then a few months later we started again with a great and sympathetic instructor. It took some time but they both love swimming and ate very capable in the water now.

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    It's awful, isn't it?
    You want to persist because swimming is such an important skill but at the same time, you hate seeing them so petrified.
    My ds1 went through a phase like you describe. He was 3.5 at the time. Screaming, refusing to enter the pool, having tantrums in the car on the way to swimming lessons. It was awful.
    We persisted under the advice of the swim centre but, by the 6th lesson little was improving.
    We stopped doing formal lessons with ds1 and took him to our local pool instead. Hubby would jump in with him for about an hour each week, going through the basics.
    He returned to formal lessons after about 8 months. Ds1 was more confident and better able to understand the purpose of attending lessons. We also spoke to the centre at enrolment and ds was paired with a teacher that was perfect for him.
    He now swims with confidence and loves lessons. It was a long road but this approach worked for us.
    Good luck x

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    I apologise if my reply goes against the grain, but this is how I look at it. What is the necessity for such little people to be having formal swimming lessons? My eldest 2 children started swimming lessons for the first time last year at age 7 going 8 and 6 going 7. They had had very little exposure to water of any depth prior to that. While they are having their lesson, I take our youngest child (who turned 3 last October) into the water and have had absolutely no issues with her. Without formal structure, her and I are covering all the "skills" I see the teachers doing with other kids her age -- but in her own time, as she is ready for it. It nearly broke my heart one afternoon to watch a little boy (about 2) screaming and crying and struggling because he wasn't enjoying it at all. I could hear the teacher telling his mother, "you can't let him get out, because then he will have won." I could have slapped her! The child was distraught. He didn't have the language skills to articulate how he was feeling and why -- apart from his crying and screaming and that was being ignored!! Is it really worth it??

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    Quote Originally Posted by kbf2plus2 View Post
    I apologise if my reply goes against the grain, but this is how I look at it. What is the necessity for such little people to be having formal swimming lessons?
    I can't answer for everyone, but for me my reasons are
    - DD will be at the age where she'll be going to friends houses in the not too distant future and if they have pools, I can't guarantee that these other parents will be diligent around the water. I want her to be a confident swimmer by then.
    - we don't have a pool so it's hard to do regular informal lessons ourselves
    - my parents live on the coast so lots of water around
    - group activities help build her confidence
    - we're going on holiday in a few months to a beachside resort and another trip later in the year to a similar destination, I want her to at least have some basic skills


 

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