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swimming lessons

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
DD just turned 4. in our district, she can enroll in preschool level swim lessons this summer, for 3-4 year olds. alternatively, she can enroll in level 1 swim lessons, which includes kids age 4 - 12. she took preschool level last year and did very well with it. she is not afraid in the least, and is actually learning to kick in the water, float, etc. the lessons are taught by a lifeguard, who is in the water with the kids. the parents just watch from the pool deck.

my SIL is interested in enrolling their son, who is 3, in the same class with DD. her son is very afraid of the water. he is actually afraid of many many things. my DD is very unafraid, and in the past it has proven successful for my DD to get her son to do things, as the younger one follows the older one.

but i'm on the fence for what to do re: what level of swim lessons to enroll her in. ie, i don't want my DD to be "held back" by her cousin's reluctance in the water. also, they have a tendency to goof off together, and the swim lessons are too expensive and too important to spend time doing that.

i spoke with the lifeguard manager about what is the appropriate level of swim lessons for her. bottom line: she could be in either group: preschool level (including 3-4 yos only) or level 1 (including 4-12 yos.) actually, the manager said DD could probably go on to level 2.

SIL's kid could only be in preschool level, as he is 3 and still afraid of the water.

i guess i'm looking for opinions, but as i write this out, it becomes more clear to me that i should not put DD in preschool just as a prop to help her cousin be less afraid of the water. we've got to do what's right for HER.

did your 4 year old take swim lessons with only 3-4 year olds? or did he/she take swim lessons with older kids who were also beginner swimmers?

the only other variable is that the preschool level lessons tend to be smaller groups, although there is no guarantee of any class size. last summer, DD's preschool level swim lessons had only one other kid... who was also afraid of the water BTW. and a considerable amount of class time was devoted to the lifeguard trying to coax the other kid into doing things... things that my DD did quickly and willingly.

maybe i should just go ahead and move her up to level 1, and if there are older kids for her to follow along with that will be a good thing.

opinions? TIA.
post #2 of 15
My son is 4.5 and last year at 3.5 we took the mommy and me swim class because he was afraid and I was nervous too. But this year we are going to try the preschool class and see how he does without me in the water.
post #3 of 15
I'd choose whichever class is a better fit for her.

My dd has always been at the top class offered for her age level (where we are they don't cross that many ages in one level).

post #4 of 15
I'd go for the level one class. It doesn't sound like your nephew is ready for swim lessons. In your SIL's place I would just wait. I definitely wouldn't feel bad about choosing the class that's the best fit for your daughter.
post #5 of 15
I would go for the level one class. Sometimes being in a class with kids who are scared of the water can be very nerve wracking for a child. The preschool classes at our pool were all fun and games with mom so I think your cousin may be a good fit for that, but I don't think you should put them in the class together if your dd is eager to be in water and ready to have fun on her own. My dd took the preschool class but by that time she was very comfortable in the water and had started breathing through her nose underwater on her own so they moved her up to the next level and she did fine. She has always been one of the youngest in her class, but that has been a good thing for her.
post #6 of 15
Arrange pool playdates before or after your nephew's lessons. Be generous with being there as much as she wants.

But keep her with her own level, since it's expensive.

You could also ask them if they would let her join the preschool class for free under the circumstances if she is also enrolled in the 4-12 level, if there's room. They might say yes ... you never know. Might be good for the class to have a more advanced model.
post #7 of 15
My oldest son swam well at 3, and the summer he was 4 took lessons with 5-9 yr. olds (he was the only 4yo). At 3 he was jumping off the high dive into 12' water and swimming to the ladder. I would definitely not have wanted him in a class for 3-4 yr. olds at 4.
My younger son is not a great swimmer, at 4 he is still learning. He is in the level 3 preschool class at the Y, which is for 3-5 yr. olds. I would choose a class for 3-4 yr. olds over a class for 4-12 yr. olds for him. He can swim, but only very short distances, he doesn't have rotary breathing down at all and cannot swim backstroke at all. He could not learn them at the pace a 6-12 yr. old could in a class.
Can you try the 4-12 yr. old class and switch to the preschool class if it is too hard/fast-paced? Are there multiple levels of preschool lessons (I think this is ideal)?
post #8 of 15
They will evaluate your dd on the first lesson and make sure she's in the right level. Put her into whatever level you think is appropriate and then let them adjust it. They may move her ahead or back, but the lifeguards/instructors *will* make the decision for you. I wouldn't put her in a particular class just to be with a family member, especially if you know it's lower than her level because then you'll definitely have to adjust when they evaluate her. Good luck!
post #9 of 15
MAYBE if it was free, MAYBE, I would keep her back. But even then, probably not.

Maybe you guys can do this on free time. Your DD and her cousin can go to someones house/community pool and her cousin could be eased into the water with your DD there.
post #10 of 15
I would put her in the older class and offer to get together often at a pool (public? a friends?) so that the kids can swim around together.
post #11 of 15
Just tell your SIL that the school chooses the level based on ability and it's out of your hands. The instructors of the lowest levels are supposed to be experts at making kids feel comfortable in the water, so that should solve the issue with her boy. It's actually very frustrating as a swim instructor to have kids in your class who are more advanced because they likely will goof off or show off and it will be bad for the class, ime.

FWIW, I never enrolled ds in classes, we just went to the pool a lot from months old and he picked it up. But I used to teach swimming myself when I was a teenager, so I have sort of helped him along.
post #12 of 15
Here they test the kids and put them in the appropriate class. My ds would be in the class that is typically 4-6yr olds (he is 2!) b/c he can swim well already.

Sounds to me like she would learn more in the level 1, so thats what I would put her in (unless you can afford to put her in both and they are at different times!)
post #13 of 15
I guess to answer your question on point, my kids were on summer swim team at age 4 in practice groups with 4-6 year olds. The 6 year olds learned much faster and, in the case of my son, paid better attention than my kids.

I doubt level 1 and 2 are going to have a whole lot of 8-12 year olds in them. It's probably mostly younger kids.
post #14 of 15
We just finished a 2x per week, 4 week swim class. It was great, in that DD really learned how to swim but...there were lots of tears. DD loves the water, loves the pool, loves to swim with swimmies--I was not expecting it. But there was a lot of tension in her class (level 1, 3-7 year olds) with a lot kids who were crying in the beginning and she cried her way through the first half of class.

I would put her in according to her ability, swim class is a big deal. I think there will probably be tears in any class but it did get fun for her, and at the end she wanted to continue another session. And now she can swim without swimmies!
post #15 of 15
Tough situation to be in. But as lessons are expensive, I would honestly want what is best for my daughter as opposed to what is best for my nephew. Is it possible for their lessons to be at the same time? So that your DN can watch/see your DD swim also? Maybe that would be a comfort to him.

DS has been taking semi-private lessons for (including now) four sessions-we have year round swim. While he is grouped with others his age, he's actually the youngest by 5 months, it is also level based. So even though he is with other four and five year olds, they are the same level. A friends son who is a month younger than mine, is in a different lower level class.
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