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  1. #1
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    Default Swimming Lessons and sensitive kids

    So another thread reminded me of a thread I've been meaning to start and that is DD started swimming lessons 4 months ago.

    She hated it at first, but got used to it but at the end of the class when they were to hold on to the teachers hands and jump in the pool, she was in hysterics as she didn't want to get her face wet and go all the way under the water.

    This continued each and every were and she wasn't getting anything out of the classes. I sent her as a safety thing so she would know how to float to the top and paddle back to the edge of the pool if she ever fell in.

    Problem is because she's got sensitivities to touch - and therefore water in her eyes, in her ears, her mouth and basically being submerged I to it, I figured if she ever were to fall into a pool, she would basically be useless as she would panic and wouldn't know how to float and turn around as she's not learnt it in swimming lessons as the teachers always pull her up and push her toward the side of the pool.

    So I took her out if swimming lessons and I now just take her to the local pool where she's in the shallow pool and isn't really 'swimming' I'm just doing it so she's more comfortable in water and can see me floating on my back and putting my head under water.

    Problem is she still won't copy me as she gets water in her ears when she's on her back and freaks out when she puts her face in the water.

    So question is, what do I do? Anyone else with kids who have the same sensitivities? Did you get past it some how? Did thy just grow more confident? Did you stop the lessons?

  2. #2
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    We don't allow ds2 to have lesson by anyone but us.
    He has a full blown panic attack if water touches his face. He can't have anything touch his face or neck.
    His panic attack over water have left both dh and I physically scared. It takes a good 30 mins to bring his breathing back to a normal level. He wil scale anyone in a pool with him, digging his nails in all the way. Now this is on a good day.
    On a bad day if anything or anyone touches anywhere on his body he freaks thinking he cant breathe.

    So for us we just dont allow him near water without one of us.
    We got a medical certificate for school to allow him not to do lessons. We have to think about the safety of other kids and adults in the water.

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  4. #3
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    I don't know but does she allow shower water on her face at all? Or bath water?

    I cannot really swim. As a child and through my teens I hated water on my face. Hated shower water. I had panic attacks with it.

    As an adult I have grown out of it I guess. I don't know what caused it. I could never explain it when asked. It was not being able to breathe and the pressure/feeling of the water. I honestly do not know what could have helped. I had swimming lessons but they did not help.

    Sorry I am not much help.

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  6. #4
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    No personal experience but I understand at Marion aquatic centre (we take dd there for lessons) you can have 1-1 lessons rather than group lessons. This might be an option as you can explain to the instructor and have a very very slowly slowly approach to build her confidence. I guess you can only try.
    The other thing is trying a special headband to protect her ears from water. I got one recently as dd was getting ear infections - it's called little grommets. Is she ok in the shower/bath with water on her face? I would practice that a lot at home to see if it helps.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinklify View Post
    I don't know but does she allow shower water on her face at all? Or bath water?

    I cannot really swim. As a child and through my teens I hated water on my face. Hated shower water. I had panic attacks with it.

    As an adult I have grown out of it I guess. I don't know what caused it. I could never explain it when asked. It was not being able to breathe and the pressure/feeling of the water. I honestly do not know what could have helped. I had swimming lessons but they did not help.

    Sorry I am not much help.
    Thank you a thousand times. You have given me hope that ds2 will grow out of it at some point.

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  10. #6
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    Default Swimming Lessons and sensitive kids

    Ds1has sensitivities and was initially horrendous when he moved from mum/dad being in the pool to being in by himself, a teacher and a couple of other students. Won't tell you how hubby and I initially handled it as we sucked and it didn't work.

    What has helped now:
    - start slowly desensitizing to water on face and head. In the shower or bath flick a few drops on the face with a quick 'oops! Sorry!'. Slowly increase the frequency and duration over time. Kids feed off parents reaction so make sure you say a quick "Oopsie daisie" And then move on - don't swell on any child shenannigans.
    - lowering our expectations and telling the teacher not to stress is ds1 doesn't get everything right (yes we actually had to request a teacher to calm down). If he walks out of the lesson having had fun and not hating water that's a win. We can build on the skill more slowly over time. At one stage we went a whole term without any 'swimming' progress, however ds1 is now slowly improving.
    - following swimming lessons with play time with mum and dad. Ds1 has to meet certain criteria (no throwing toys at other kids, no putting water at other kids etc) however after a few rough starts he nearly always get play time after. This helps make water fun and safe for him.
    - additional icecream reward if DS1 has a good crack at swimming. It doesn't mean he has to do things he can't or is scared of, just means he has to have a crack. Nearly always get the ice cream
    - routine. Talk to ds1 through the week about swimming lessons and what will be involved. Keep the same routine every week.

    With your DD perhaps don't worry if she won't jump in - get her to choose how she gets in? (Climb down, you lift her). Don't worry about what others think as long as your daughter isn't upset and is able to have some fun.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by VicPark; 03-01-2017 at 21:58.

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  12. #7
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    I don't have any experience with this but firmly believe that swimming has to be fun. I'd be doing anything to keep it fun even if it means she doesn't do everything the other kids do.

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    My DD (nearly 5) loved the water as a baby but as a toddler she would scream the whole place down. She learnt how to hop in and out but put her face under or make her jump in and she would completely lose it. We took her out of the pool for 2 years, let her just enjoy the water like you're doing with your DD. She splashed around, sat on the edge but never put her face under the water. We put her back into lessons in October, first 2 lessons were a fizzer then she started putting her mouth in the water, now she can actually swim about 10 meters on her own. She went from scared to swimming in under 2 months. So in saying all that, I'd just keep doing what you're doing, letting her play around in the water. Perhaps look at some googles too, DD will only ever wear googles in the water.

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    My daughter hated getting water on her face so wouldn't jump in. The swimming teacher suggested getting her to have showers (she'd had about 2 showers in her life because she hated them so much) so we started doing that, we had to bribe her to have showers with little presents but it made all the difference. Now about 8 months later, her swimming has improved beyond belief, went from a 3yo who wouldn't jump in to one who now swims underwater for a few metres and without any floaties.

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  18. #10
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    Do you think goggles and an ear band would help? Lots of kids at our aquatic centre wear them in classes.


 

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