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Swimming Lesson for 3yo


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#1 premmie

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:00 AM

My youngest son has just started swimming lessons. He had a few private lessons in our backyard pool last year that were okay at best. The teacher didn't use floatation. He proceeded to have a great summer bobbing around in a back bubble and no floaties. He hasn't really been in the water since April.

He had his first lesson in an indoor pool yesterday and flat out refused to go in. It started well and he seemed to warm to the teacher. I turned around to sit down near the side of the pool and I lost my line of sight.  . Apparently he said he wanted to find Mummy a went off in the opposite direction and burst into tears. This place has been awesome for my older children and they only take from age 3. I was a bit shocked that a teacher would allow a child who can't swim to walk away without floatation on.

He was brought back to me in tears and refused to go in the water. But was content to play with a few water toys on the side.


What would you do?. We've paid for the term, but its so stressful having to argue with him to get in. He's never been in the water without a bubble on, so I'm not surprised he doesn't want to. I'm thinking I should get our money back and teach him myself. He's stubborn and willful, I can't see the lessons without a bubble on being of much benefit. Changing lesson times/teachers won't happen this term. And lessons are hard to come by in the area, particularly at this time of the year.

#2 seayork2002

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:05 AM

DS was funny the first lesson but fine after that, if he was not ok we would have stopped them.

Our school did not use any flotation devices for safety reasons and I will admit (to me only!) I was very happy with that as I did not want him to learn with these as they are not life saving devices

If your child does not want to go then I am not sure what you can do

#3 rainycat

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:14 AM

If it’s distressing for him pull him out and retry next term. Forcing him is only going to make him hate it more.
He also can’t do swim lessons with a bubble on his back, it’s not how they learn to swim.

#4 born.a.girl

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:14 AM

If they give you a refund I think it would be out of generosity rather than obligation - no doubt they've got the fine print covered, anyway.

From memory, they were our responsibility until in the water with the teacher.


TBH, I approve of teaching them without flotation devices, so I'm influenced by that.


I think in your shoes, I'd keep persevering , using bribery if necessary.

#5 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:18 AM

 born.a.girl, on 17 October 2019 - 10:14 AM, said:

If they give you a refund I think it would be out of generosity rather than obligation - no doubt they've got the fine print covered, anyway.

From memory, they were our responsibility until in the water with the teacher.


TBH, I approve of teaching them without flotation devices, so I'm influenced by that.


I think in your shoes, I'd keep persevering , using bribery if necessary.

I think both need to be responsible, parent AND teacher.  Its not good if the teacher let them walk out of their sight though Id be annoyed at that.

Our teacher told us floatation devices position the body too high in the water so they will actually hinder kids in learning to swim properly.

What I would do is try to have an honest chat with the teacher about their strategies in how to move forward with getting him in the water and making him comfortable. And if at all possible stay next to him on the sidelines while hes in the water.

Edited by WannabeMasterchef, 17 October 2019 - 10:20 AM.


#6 PrincessPeach

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:18 AM

I dont know of any swim school which uses flotation devices on kids in lessons. They need to learn how to actually stay afloat themselves in case they fall in unexpectedly.

But the fact he was allowed to wander off from the class is concerning - was anyone keeping an eye on him during that time?

#7 Crazyone26989

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:20 AM

Any decent swim school won’t use floatation bubbles or wings as they give children a false sense of security and don’t promote good body positioning (too high in the water and often legs down).

It’s pretty common for kids to take a while to warm to lessons so I would keep going.

#8 premmie

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:21 AM

To clarify I left him poolside sitting with feet in the water after introducing myself and my son to his teacher. I also said he's a complete beginner. So "he can't swim". I lost my line of sight because during lesson hand over there are people everywhere. To let him out of sight in under 90 seconds is really not good.

My other kids learned at a place with flotation, this was going back a few years. And they learnt from 16 months. So learning without scares me to be honest, even though I can see why its the current thinking.

Edited by premmie, 17 October 2019 - 10:30 AM.


#9 EmmDasher

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:43 AM

I have a 3 year old and 5 year old at a very big swim school that’s really busy. I can understand the teacher’s dilemma. A non-compliant 3 year old can move really fast. If they leave the pool and wander off there is very little the teacher can do. They can’t leave the pool and the other kids unsupervised. I think it’s actually on you to not lose sight and stay vigilant especially if you know you have a nervous kid who might play up.

One of the key requirements at our swim school to graduate from parent in water lessons to independent lessons is that they will sit on the ledge and follow teacher directions. Maybe he needs 1-1 lessons or a parent in the water or very nearby until he settles.

I don’t even know what a ‘bubble’ is. Our swim school uses a flotation belt but only for a very brief segment of the lesson and only when kids are learning to roll. Apparently most floaty devices make kids too vertical in the water and they learn the wrong technique.

Edit - I would persist for a few more weeks personally. We find small rewards pretty successful for overcoming low level opposition.

I just realized that you never said it was a group lesson (I read that in) but I still really feel for the teacher even if it was 1-1. I can think of a couple of scenarios where this situation could really easily happen especially the first couple of lessons.I still think it’s a parent responsibility to monitor them.

Edited by EmmDasher, 17 October 2019 - 10:50 AM.


#10 Dadto2

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:48 AM

 seayork2002, on 17 October 2019 - 10:05 AM, said:


Our school did not use any flotation devices for safety reasons and I will admit (to me only!) I was very happy with that as I did not want him to learn with these as they are not life saving devices



I agree with this.

I would preservere with the swimming lessons and not use any flotation devices.

#11 can'tstayaway

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:52 AM

The swim schools we used did not use floaties.

We started with parent in the water with the child and then moved to child in the water without parent but usually the same teacher so there was trust and continuity. One of my child moved up at a very young age (less than 2yrs from memory) because she was ready. One of my children took longer and the third child has been hit and miss with lessons partly because we moved from the area where the good swim school was.

For my third child, I have tried a few swim schools but looked for sessions where it was quiet. But more of a hassle but suited the child and gave the best environment for learning.

Until the children were in swim squad, I always considered it my duty to supervise them in the water. The teacher is there to teach technique but parents are there to supervise behaviour and safety.

#12 Lou-bags

Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:54 AM

What’s a bubble? Some kind of floaty?

I didn’t know anyone did swimming lessons with floaties or similar to be honest.

My just turned 3yo started lessons this week for the first time too. I had to get in the water with him as he refused otherwise. They tell me I can do that for the first 4 weeks only.

I’d give him time, to be honest. I think it’s pretty normal at this able to not be comfortable or participate much at this age in a new environment with new people.

(Edited that my post didn’t publish at first and by the time it did there were a tonne of replies...)

Edited by Lou-bags, 17 October 2019 - 10:55 AM.


#13 premmie

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:00 AM

Yes a bubble is literally strapped around their mid section. It has layers that can be removed as they get stronger and better at kicking.

#14 born.a.girl

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:01 AM

 WannabeMasterchef, on 17 October 2019 - 10:18 AM, said:

I think both need to be responsible, parent AND teacher.  Its not good if the teacher let them walk out of their sight though Id be annoyed at that.

Our teacher told us floatation devices position the body too high in the water so they will actually hinder kids in learning to swim properly.

What I would do is try to have an honest chat with the teacher about their strategies in how to move forward with getting him in the water and making him comfortable. And if at all possible stay next to him on the sidelines while hes in the water.


If the teacher's in the water, though, I'm not sure what they can do with a 3yo who's not fully in the water, and runs off.

We don't know of course if it's a group lesson, but if it is, the teacher's got other kids to consider, too.

Even if it's just one, if they leap away before the teacher's got them in the water, then presumably the teacher got out and followed him, given he was 'brought back'. Sound like only the teacher had him in her sight.

ETA: Not being critical, I've done worse, but in those circumstances I'd consider I was the one not watching, not the teacher.

Edited by born.a.girl, 17 October 2019 - 11:03 AM.


#15 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:02 AM

Who brought him back to you?  You must have lost sight of him for quite a while?  

I agree that it is not really the teachers fault if it was a group lesson.  They can't stop supervising other kids in the water when your child has left the pool.

Also agree with no flotation devices.  My kids learnt to swim more than 10 years ago, and no devices were used in either of the three swim schools we attended over the years.

In your situation, I would either:

Persevere, but stay closer to the pool until you are sure that he is OK with the teacher and the lesson.

Or -

Ask for a credit to carry over the lessons next year. In the meantime, spend a lot of time in the pool with your son WITHOUT flotation devices, and teach him the basics yourself.  Build his confidence (and your own) before he goes back next term to learn technique, but in the meantime, you can teach him to float and get back to the side of the pool at home.

And once you start swimming lessons without devices, don't be tempted to go back to them at home.  There is nothing safer than supervision, and you should never be more than an arms length away from him even with a flotation device.  Don't build the reliance on them - they are not safe.

#16 Riotproof

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:07 AM

 premmie, on 17 October 2019 - 11:00 AM, said:

Yes a bubble is literally strapped around their mid section. It has layers that can be removed as they get stronger and better at kicking.

They are not great for learning to swim because they are not teaching the kids to float on their own.

If I were you, I would talk to the supervisor about how your son came to find you. Just inquiring not accusing. And, I would bribe him to do the first lesson if you’re sure he will enjoy it once he’s started.

#17 born.a.girl

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:13 AM

Our daughter's lessons were nearly 25 years ago, and they didn't use flotation devices, although they were able to cling on to noodles if they couldn't stand up in the water, until they were confident staying afloat.

#18 premmie

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:26 AM

Its a small group lesson. 3 kids in the water.

I understand the instructor can't get out of the water. But to let a non swimmer walk away without at least making eye contact with a parent who's 2 metres away?. Another parent brought him back and the coordinator was onto it pretty quickly too. It wouldn't have been longer than 1-2 minutes. He's spent lesson time for my other children at the pool for a year. So he's familiar with the place.

This situation is where the lack of flotation for really young beginners where a parent isn't in the water becomes frightening to me. Like really what if he falls in?

We do have the backyard pool so I'm tempted to just swim everyday with him - we're in Sydney so the weather is warming up. All my kids have cried at swimming at various times. But the difference is my older two were water safe when they did this. So I wasn't worried about an approaching summer with a non swimming kid.

#19 Prancer is coming

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:30 AM

I too am not a fan of flotation devices.  I think they give a false sense of security, both to the child and the supervising adult.  My kids have never used strap on devices for swimming lessons or leisure, just kick boards and noodles as needed.

I have also had one of those kids that screams at swim lessons.  For my kid, he just does not like being told what to do!  I still have to be careful about who his swim teacher is to get the best out of him.  My advice would be to ring the swim school, discuss that your child is refusing to swim and can they help or do refunds.  Our swim school at the time offered a one on one lesson to help get comfortable in the water.  We also had rules in place from home about behaviour at the pool too.  For some kids everything is a drama, and you need to work out what is worth persisting with and what isn’t.  Water safety was important to us, so we persisted.

Whilst you might not like no bubble at the swim school, they do not and I don’t think it is fair to expect it.  If it was important to you, I think the onus was on you before you signed him up to make sure you were happy with their program.

#20 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:45 AM

I found the promise of a small chocolate or favourite morning tea after swimming helped my DD when she was a bit reluctant. But she did much better at 4yo than 3yo.

#21 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:45 AM

Quote

Apparently he said he wanted to find Mummy a went off in the opposite direction and burst into tears. This place has been awesome for my older children and they only take from age 3. I was a bit shocked that a teacher would allow a child who can't swim to walk away without floatation on.

He was brought back to me in tears and refused to go in the water.


Quote

I understand the instructor can't get out of the water. But to let a non swimmer walk away without at least making eye contact with a parent who's 2 metres away?.


I'm a bit confused.  You wanted them to make eye contact with you, 2m away, but he left the poolside and you didn't notice until he was brought back to you, crying?

I think there are two (or even three) issues here.

Your expectation of the teacher.  (They obviously cannot leave other children unsupervised.)

Your child's fear of the water without a device.

Your fear of the water without a device.


If you are going to be insistent about a flotation device, you either need to find a swim-school that uses them, or go without.  If you continue to use one at home and expect him to not use one in the lessons, he's not going to gain enough confidence to actually learn in the lesson.  

I think you need to persevere at home and in lessons without the device, personally.  It will just be confusing and counterproductive otherwise.

#22 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:48 AM

Is there a lead instructor at your session? I find at my swim school, the lead instructor helps shy kids get in the water, allowing the teacher supervise the others in the class. If they are any good, they understand it takes a few classes for a kid to get the idea. I still see in the younger kids doing a full cry session getting in and the lead instructor just slowly coaxes them in ( first just sitting on the side, then putting their feet in etc).
I wouldn't give up on just one lesson however. Try at least 3 times before shelving it for the rest of the term. My swim school uses noodles, kick boards and occasionally arm band flotation devices for set excercises ( a couple of laps).
I also found that starting lessons when my DS was 3.5 was way better, once he actually was able to listen and follow instructions.

#23 Crazyone26989

Posted 17 October 2019 - 12:00 PM

 premmie, on 17 October 2019 - 11:26 AM, said:

Its a small group lesson. 3 kids in the water.

I understand the instructor can't get out of the water. But to let a non swimmer walk away without at least making eye contact with a parent who's 2 metres away?. Another parent brought him back and the coordinator was onto it pretty quickly too. It wouldn't have been longer than 1-2 minutes. He's spent lesson time for my other children at the pool for a year. So he's familiar with the place.

This situation is where the lack of flotation for really young beginners where a parent isn't in the water becomes frightening to me. Like really what if he falls in?

We do have the backyard pool so I'm tempted to just swim everyday with him - we're in Sydney so the weather is warming up. All my kids have cried at swimming at various times. But the difference is my older two were water safe when they did this. So I wasn't worried about an approaching summer with a non swimming kid.

Just on the “what if he falls in” point. Most swim schools require the children to be able to follow the instruction to either sit on the side/step or stand on the block, whatever it is that they use for waiting children. Also, a good swim school will have taught the instructors to work in a way where they don’t lose sight of the other kids so if a child does fall in they can quickly get to them.

#24 EmmDasher

Posted 17 October 2019 - 12:04 PM

If you were only 2m away, how did you lose line of sight for so long? If you weren’t watching, the teacher could not make eye contact.

The teacher most likely saw you standing right there and assumed that your child had also seen as was going to you. Even if they saw the kid turn the wrong way, they were stuck in the pool with others.

That situation is where the lack of parental supervision becomes frightening not the lack of floaties.

Edited by EmmDasher, 17 October 2019 - 12:05 PM.


#25 kimasa

Posted 17 October 2019 - 12:09 PM

I personally wouldn't be too keen on a swim school that put floaties on a kid, depending on the angle the kid falls in they can prohibit the kid from getting themselves upright and keep their head under.

It just sounds like he's not ready. Not every kid is going to be ready at the same time. Revisit it when he's a bit older.




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