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12 Answers

My 3.5 year old son had his first swimming lesson today and would not co-operate! He went with his Dad as they had been swimming casually together for the last few months to get confident in the water. Has anyone had success after a really bad first lesson? I purposely didn’t go as I thought he’d be better with just Dad.


Posted by Kymichelle, 9th February 2015


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  • Thank you so much for posting an update.


  • This was my question and this is just an update. He’s now 4 and thriving! It’s group lessons that can have up to 4 children but we’ve been lucky with only 1 or 2 all Winter. I don’t think it will be long until he’s really “swimming”. His confidence has improved so much :)


  • I used to teach swimming to babies (6mths) and up. Are they group lessons? If so, I would give it another go and then maybe even look at a couple of 1:1 lessons at the swim school to get him acquainted. I would still keep up the swimming with dad and mum outside lessons & persevere. Some kids just don’t take to water automatically. You could even try taking him to watch some more confident kids & the fun they have in their lessons – change the teacher – options are endless really. Speak to the manager / in-charge at the swim school & explain your dilema & they should be able to offer you some advice – that is what you are paying $$$$ money. Good luck!!!


  • Don’t push it our swim teacher said some kids love it and will keep going and others wont and stop then get back. My daughter was the one that love it as a baby jump in etc then didn’t like it for 1 year then we got her back in and love it and kept going. If you push they will hate it.


  • Don’t give up!My son was really bad at the first swimming lessons.The daycare were he was going organised swimming lessons , it took some time but having the other kids around helped a lot.


  • id give it time, esp if it was his very first lesson. y 3 yr old has been going since 6 months and still play up
    boys


  • Yes I had a very similar experience. Stick with it! One year on my son (4) is one of the confident swimmers in his class. At the beginning he was the one who would refuse even just sitting on the step, for probably the majority of the first term even. In the holidays I payed for private lessons to keep momentum and I guess also we were fortunate to have an excellent teacher. Consistency is the key, push through and you will be happy you did when you see the progress, slow as it may be it will happen!


  • What is his attitude towards baths and showers? Start there. Did he enjoy swimming with your husband? What is your husbands attitude towards the classes? What did your husband think of the teacher? Was the teacher supportive? Speak to your son to try and elicit the problem.


  • Just like many things in life, the first attempt doesn’t always succeed. It could two, three or more lessons to get him to feel comfortable in this new environment. The main thing is not to stress, or else he could pick up on you and/or your Hubby’s feelings and become worse. Go and see him in action if you can be sure that you won’t be anxious or embarrassed by his reactions, and remember to praise him for any efforts he makes. You can encourage him from the sidelines and see if you can locate what he finds difficult; such as the noise of an indoor pool, the instructor, the temperature of the water, being surrounded by other kids, etc.


  • If it is his first lesson it is not unusual for children to not co-operate, for them to misbehave, cry etc. Its all new and all children react differently. My son cried and carried on for the first term of swimming lessons (although he was much younger) and loves the water now.


  • As your little man has been going with his dad at other times then it is probably the newness of a new person/instructor and a structured lesson. Give him some time to settle in and then re-assess.


  • If the purpose of the lessons are for your son’s safety in the water and to have fun. I would definitely be going with him. If he is more confident with you then go help him be happy at swim classes. He needs all the encouragement he can get. Dad could come by later even if it’s 10 minutes into the lesson. Then Dad can take over once your son has settled in.


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