Originally Posted by pigpokey
Actually if you take them to the water regularly starting as babies, most children do not have any issues with it and will start swimming quite joyfully without lessons. It is a year round commitment. I think of it like language immersion. There are strength issues with lifting the head coming up for breaths with the 1 and 2 year olds and with some good lesson programs, they work around that by teaching babies to roll to their backs to breathe. This is not something I've seen children come to on their own. .
We did this with our ds and dd when we lived in a home with a pool, so it was more of a safety issue than anything
. DS started lessons just shy of 18 months, and dd started at 11 months. We continued year round lessons until we moved away. DS had the greatest benefit for continuing as long as he did - he was just shy of 6 yo. DD was about 3 when we moved, and we didn't pick up lessons until last winter. While she had some catching up to do, neither of them were afraid of the water and seemed to naturally know how to breathe and swim, although you can tell with dd that it isn't quite as natural, and she has to work at it a bit more. I like the language immersion analogy. As a child, I didn't start lessons until about 4, and by then I was very nervous around water and to this day, swimming isn't my favorite activity. If I get splashed in the face, or pulled down, I begin to panic.
I could see ds, in particular, being very good at competitive swimming, but he has no interest beyond recreational swimming and learning a few new strokes once in awhile. Unless he desires more, we aren't going to go that route. I'm content that both dc's are proficient swimmers in that they *can* swim.
Both of my dc's are in line for competitive gymnastics, because they love it and have wonderful instructors. Both dc's are willing and wanting to work hard at it, so I support it. They've been exposed to other sports, but always want to come back to gymnastics. If they decided to only do it recreationally, I'd support that as well. I have a hard time imagining parents who push their children into early competitive sports if the child has no interest - I just know it wouldn't work with my dc's and would be frustrating for all involved. I know it happens, but I can't figure out how a parent could make their child work hard at something they just don't want to do or do at that level. But, then again, I don't get hothousing at all, either.