Swim Lessons (Resistance) -- x-posted to The Childhood Years - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 34 Old 08-15-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zh97 View Post
We had a really fun time observing though. I did a lot of commenting- like watching some of the older kids diving off the diving board and a few of them who had to turn back because it was too scary for them. Then the next time they would jump! We would marvel at their bravery. Our class had one little girl, Mikayla who wanted to spend more time under the water than on top. We talked a lot about her too.

Then, we would go home, and at the end of the day we would go over to our neighbors pool, and the boys would, on their own initiative, go about practicing the things they had seen that day. When my older son decided to try to put his head under water, we dubbed the action , "the Mikayla" and he would say, "hey mom! Watch me do the mikayla!" and then proudly dunk his head under. They are not swimming yet, but they can do everything and more that they were expected to do in the swim class
It sounds like they learned a lot! I believe in this method.

This summer my son took lessons at a roller rink. He came off the rink not long into the first lesson. This is unusual for him so he must have really not liked it. I took him over to the practice rink for the remainder of the lesson where he just did his own thing, occasionally noticing what the class was doing (sometimes from me of my mom pointing it out) and trying it out. I let him know that he could rejoin the class at anytime, but he never did.

We just continued to do that for the rest of the 5-lesson class. Luckily I didn't get any attitude from other parents. By the end my son was blading around the big rink like he owned it. He was definitely steadier on his skates than anyone else in the class so it really worked to just let him do it his own way.
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#32 of 34 Old 08-15-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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...he's light years from where he started, and he wouldn't be there at all if we had either backed off entirely and let him keep his fear...
I don't think backing off has to = letting them "keep their fear".

When I suggest a parent "backs off", what I mean is stop making it YOUR (the parent's) agenda and let it be the child's. Not "keep them away from water". If you live near water, or have a pool, and this is a regular part of your life then your child is going to be motivated to acquire this skill, but only when they are ready. IMNSHO.

Truth is, plenty of children who know how to swim drown. I think that this whole idea of swimming being "non-negotiable" is more hype than reality. Statistically your kid has a much higher chance of dying in a car accident but that doesn't stop us from putting them in cars. Nobody here has suggested forcing a child to swim, but there are plenty of parents out there who think it's okay in this case because "swimming is life and death".

My daughter was adamant about not taking lessons. My son HATES having water on his face. But we did the things we do - we went camping near rivers, we went to lakes, we went to pools. They played, they did what they were comfortable with, and each year that became more and more.

As with any other skill, if it's part of the family life or culture then at some point the kids will want to do it. For my daughter it was finding out that her new friend across the street had a (temporary) pool which was planned to be put up in summer (it never was, in the end). She really wanted to be able to go over there and play in the water, and understood that swimming skills would go a long way to making that happen for her. So she chose, even though she was reluctant, to take lessons.

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#33 of 34 Old 08-27-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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Some kids just cannot be pushed, not even "gently", until they are ready.
Yeah, I (often) learn this the hard way.

Background: My dd learned to swim entirely at her own pace, which I never pushed. Other moms told me about their kids who went to the lessons at the local pool, were thrown in the water, screamed etc, but all learned in the end. I knew dd would not go for that and I did not even suggest it. I did wonder many times whether someone who did not grow up near water could learn to swim without lessons. We don't have regular access to a swimming pool either.

But this summer she did learn and she gradually could paddle herself along for longer stretches of time / distance.

Still she spends most of her time in the pool playing and observing water flow, which fascinates her. Since we have limited access to the pool I tend to want her to "practice swimming." She also wants to practice and often responds eagerly when I suggest it. But there is a difference between suggesting and pushing. If I suggest and she says no, I usually say, "then I am going to swim some laps." Just so that she knows I won't be nearby.
The other day once I urged her to practice. She got upset and said, "I want to lose my skill."

I dropped my urging. Just before leaving the pool I asked if she wanted to practice before we left and she said yes and did so. It's a delicate balance, but it actually becomes quite easy if you simply remember: "don't push." (Must be one of those "things I learned in kindergarten.")

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#34 of 34 Old 08-28-2010, 03:28 AM
 
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My girls did swim lessons for two summers. They didn't learn much other than how to do that trick where you hum under water to keep water from getting in your nose. That's it. For two summers. This summer, I didn't enroll them and the have all made great progress in the water. 9 year old is jumping into the deep end, treading water, the whole bit. I'm so proud of her. 7 year old is more confident, not holding her nose any more, and doing flips under water in the shallow end. 4 year old blew me away last week. Decided she was sick of her life jacket and just started swimming like a little frog right under the water. I was so freaked out by the sight and so proud all at once.

My point is, when it comes to water, they're only going to do what they feel comfortable doing. I'm the same way. I'm an awful swimmer and no one's forcing me to swim laps, no way!

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