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  1. #1
    TimTamsandTea's Avatar
    TimTamsandTea is offline ...if only all relationships were so perfectly sweet!
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    Default How do I manage this situation? Not wanting to go to swimming lessons.

    Ds1 (3) has been involved in (and loved) swimming lessons since he was 6 months old.

    Recently, he graduated to a class that no longer requires a parent in the pool.

    He hates it.

    This was not an unexpected response as he is a very attached child who takes some time to warm to people.

    Lesson 1 - he cried the entire 30 minutes and wouldn't leave the edge of the pool.

    Lesson 2 - see above plus I had to kneel down beside him for the entire lesson so that he wouldn't leave the edge of the pool.

    Lesson 3 - reluctantly agreed to letting the teacher hold and assist him throughout the lesson. Did not stop crying.

    Lesson 4 - Got him into the centre but short of pinning him down to undress him and throwing him into the water, we could not get him in and left after 5 long minutes of coaxing.

    He speaks of not wanting to go swimming. He cites not liking the instructors holding him. He doesn't stop crying throughout the lessons and does not respond to promises of treats (from the instructor) for participating.

    What would you do?

    I thought about putting swimming on hold until term 4 and taking him to the indoor pool once a week until then.

    When I called to advise the swimming centre, the manager could not have been any more opposed to the idea, stating that it would not be in his best interests and it would teach him that he can get away with just about anything if he protests hard enough. He suggests I take this weekend off and resume the following week and keep pushing through the lessons until ds adapts.

    Oh, I am so torn! I don't want ds to hate swimming but I want him to learn how to swim. Ds is quite a determined little soul who gives a good fight, so if we continue with swimming, I see many lessons like this before anything changes. Advice anyone?
    Last edited by TimTamsandTea; 25-05-2012 at 01:16.

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    It sounds like each week he is slowly progressing so i would keep going. I agree with the swim school leaving at this point would just make things worse in the future. There was a boy in DD's class like this, the teacher would get out of the pool and take him in, around week 3 the teacher made the parents wait outside, once they were out of view she just said to him this is not on and you are fine. Each week the crying got less and less and then one day it stopped and i was quiet suprised at how good he could actually swim!

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    He's still very little, a baby in my eyes. I would stop for now and go swimming casually with him myself. Something makes it terrifying for him and although you know its safe he doesn't feel the same way. You can resume lessons in term four or even next year if that's what it takes. I'd hate to have my child cry for a full half hour and for this to happen on even one occasion... Just have fun swimming with him yourself, there's plenty of time to learn to swim properly.

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    Is there another teacher you could try? My DD just turned four, a month or so ago her teacher got swapped and for the first time in years she was crying through a whole lesson. Swapped teachers again and she couldn't be happier.

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    I agree that stopping is not going to improve the situation. Definitely look at changing teachers

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    What about if you went swimming with him separately as well as going to the lessons? I was just thinking that may mean he's not scared of swimming itself then - just the unassisted lessons (which may improve with time).

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    My ds started swimming at 5 months an loved it, could swim like a fish. At 3 they put him in a class without me an he cried for the first time ever in the pool. As his mum it broke my heart to see him so upset and I decided even though he was more than capable of being in that class emotionally he was not ready. I put him back in the mum an me class for another term, then at 3 1/2 tried again with him on his own an he was fine.

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    Our DD went to swimming lessons from 9 months and loved them.

    When she was about 2.5 though she went through a stage of not wanting to do the lessons and she would get distressed in the pool. We would just take her home and never let her be distressed for the whole lesson. We persisted for a few weeks before we decided to stop lessons for a while. I figured she wouldn't learn anything if she was miserable and I didn't want to give her a negative association with the pool by forcing her.

    We took a term off and just took her to the pool ourselves in that time and she started to enjoy it again.

    When we returned to lessons she was fine and enjoyed going again. She is now 4 and loves lessons and is swimming really well.

    Anyway, that's just what we did.

    You know your child better than the manager, so do whatever you think is best for him.

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    I would perservere with swimming in one way or another. Could you ask to go back in the parent/child class for a bit longer? You can teach him to swim yourself by taking him for a casual swim once or more a times a week too There are some great onlne resources such as U-swim to give you some ideas. I run a pool and it is definitely not uncommon, especially for this age - 2 of my own children were very nervous around the age of 3.5, but they are wonderful swimmers now. We had a couple of children in this last season that came for weeks and weeks and all they did was stand on the learn to swim seat (in the water) and watch until they were comfortable and bit by bit they got there. I think it is important to hekp them face their fears but not to be physically forced to do anything before they are ready. It will all work out xo

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    I agree with daily diversion, as it was what we did. At 3.5 my son was terrified in the water and cried the whole lesson, the instructor would physically force him to do things like go under water etc which I think added to his trauma and fear each week. We stopped lessons after persevering for the term. The following swim season we tried lessons again and the difference was amazing, he enjoyed them and was much more confident.
    If you are able to take your LO on your own I would go that approach, if I had my time over I wouldn't have kept sending him for so long when it was such a miserable experience for him. Don't be afraid to pull them out of lessons.


 

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