Going swimmingly

I started taking my darling first-born to swimming lessons when he was six months old.  All the mums in my mums group did.  We sang songs and dipped them under the water, giving them cuddles when they emerged half-drowned and stunned.

We continued going until I was about to burst with number two.  And then, after a couple of months, resumed; Nanna was on baby duty while I was in the pool.

When Diesel was almost four and the teacher refused to progress him into a class where he could swim by himself, I decided I’d had enough of getting in the pool with a defiant toddler and we cancelled the lessons.  I didn’t miss them.  At all.

Two years later, my two big boys are considerably terrified by water.  When we were away over Summer they hated the water, and missed out on a lot of fun because they wouldn’t go any deeper than their ankles.  It was time to go back to swimming lessons.

I booked them in to the same swim school I attended as a kid.  My old swim teacher still runs it.  And it looks exactly the same.  And has the same chloriney smell and hot, humid atmosphere.  I love it.

Dubs was super excited about going.  He’d had a swim at the pool the week before and had loved it eventually, so I had high hopes for lessons.  I walked with him to the ladder, and as I went to help him in, he screamed.  And screamed.  And refused to get in.

So we sat at the side of the pool, watching.  He sat with his goggles on, happy to watch, but flatly refusing to get in.  It took two teachers and a whole lot of sweet talking to trick him into getting in.  Where he sat, silently on the step with his goggles on his head.

We got refunded for that lesson.

This week, I had very low hopes indeed.  I walked with him to the ladder and helped him slowly get in and walk across the pool with his lovely, patient teacher.  Then I watched him play and kick and float, just like the other kids.

Big mummy sigh of relief.

They’ll catch up to their peers in no time.  And I’m actually really glad we’ve waited until this point to get back into the water.  Everyone is a lot happier.  And I don’t have to bare my stretch marks to the world.  Which is awesome.

Are you a conscientious mum who has taken their kids swimming every week since they were born?  Or are you a slack mum like me who decided to risk their kids’ safety for the sake of their own comfort?  No shame in that, I say!


19 thoughts on “Going swimmingly

  1. LOL i have done both – we did swim lessons from young age (later for #2 OF COURSE) when we moved to brisbane my then-2yo refused to do the lessons and scremed and cried so much people stared. we were lucky the manager was lovely and he kicked me out of the pool and took her on private 1:1 lessons for 4-5 weeks at no extra charge to get her over her water issues. we have had several BIG breaks over the years, and last year i finally agreed to end the lessons as neither loves them – hopefully they will get on fine at school carnivals without it LOL never going to be olympic swimmers so i don’t want them to stress any more . my main goal was always that they can swim at friends places etc without me bringing pool noodles and supports and we achieved that finally !

  2. Yup, I’m a slack Mum! Mine are almost 4 and just turned 5 and we haven’t started swimming lessons yet. It’s been on the list of things to do for ages and we had planned to do it this year. Hopefully we’ll get around to it soon.

  3. I started taking my eldest when he was 2 years old. He hated it! All he did was cry and winge that it was too cold. So I gave up. We did a block of swimming lessons late last year and then early this year. My older 2 are now 7 and 5. They took to it like ducks to water (pardon the pun!) and now I don’t feel guilty at all that I left it so long for lessons. I actually think it was beneficial.

  4. Slacko mum here. I seriously just didn’t want to get in the water in a public pool. I’ve just taught the girls to swim (a weird dog paddle) in the pool at home. The little one has a Wahoo vest on to stop her sinking. She’s a little fish. I keep meaning to enrol them in a swim school to learn proper techniques…someday…

  5. well a bit of both! Isobel has gone every week, and sometimes summer intensive program since she was 6 months old…and I have waited until now with Beatrix who is 2 in March. And I waited with her bc I couldn’t do the three kids at the pool thing on my own. So Isobel has a lesson and then Nathan takes B in for hers whilst Isobel gets changed. Henry hasn’t started yet. I think he will have to wait until Beatrix is in the pool on her own and then Nathan can do the lesson with H.
    Glad D is enjoying it now.

  6. We’ve done lessons since they were tiny and Tiny One will start mid year. Helps that we’ve always done it on Sunday’s so hubby gets in with them when I can’t be bothered or too ginormous to fit in bathers!

  7. Hey, my boy (now 17) never really took to swimming either. It’s really not that important in the grand scheme of things!

    Funnily enough I blogged about his swimming lessons today too! SNAP!!!!

    • My boys are loving it now, but if they start hating it, I won’t push it. As long as they can save themselves in an emergency (we like to holiday near water) I’ll be happy.

      Off to check out your post!

  8. I think the biggest factor with swimming lessons is the teacher/swim school. We have been to 3 different swim schools in the past 3.5 years & finally found one that we are happy with in Term 4 last year. The first school had terrible management (but a lovely & competent teacher). The second school was well-managed, but we didn’t find a teacher that DS1 liked. His teacher shouted & became frustrated with her class of 3 year old boys! Finally, school number three has been great. The centre is clean & well-managed; the teachers are lovely & professional. DS1 (now 4) is swimming happily & competently. This term, we have just started DS2 (age 17 months).

    • Soooo true. The last teacher was holding my boy back – his new ones are challenging him and he’s thriving on it! It’s worth shopping around!

  9. I wanted to start lessons with our first at 6 months, but my hubs was told that they don’t really learn to swim until they’re at least 4 so it was put on the back burner, even though I put up the argument that the actual swimming wasn’t the point, it was learning water skills. Now, my kids are 4, 3 and 1 and none of them have had a single lesson.
    That is a super cute photo.

    • That’s what I’ve heard too. And honestly, mine will have caught up to the others within a term. Yours will be fine too!

      And wow, 4, 3 and 1. This year must be tough for you! Awesome, but tough!

  10. With the older three I had them enrolled from 12 months on, but I haven’t done Ava even though she is almost 19 months. I really can’t be bothered to be honest. We have a pool at home so I can teach her the same things here since I have done enough lessons myself to qualify I think!
    Hope your boys get over the fear and enjoy it soon! :)

  11. He is still a major cutie!

    Swimming is hard at our place. I’ve been getting my oldest two lessons forEVER, but it has taken them a loooong time. I confess that number three, at three, as so far had no lessons at all! x

    • Honestly, I’ve found it much nicer to START lessons at three (almost four) – he is just so excited to go, and it feels like a much easier ordeal!

  12. I look at it from a different perspective…it is water safety under three or 2.5 in Isobel’s case when she went into her lesson on her own, but it is also a good thing to do together, a nice activity just one on one which I find a few and far between. I, personally, think it is super important for them to do the water safety before 4. If they fall in they need to be able to know what to do and unfortunately up until 4 they don’t know what to do and will panic.

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