Sink or Swim…

Munchkin loves being in water but she can barely swim. She doesn’t seem bothered and believes she’s a good swimmer but I’m frustrated on her behalf and a little worried. With any other activity, I’d readily accept that every child is different, but swimming could literally be a matter of life and death.

mother and baby swimming

Munchkin’s baby swimming lessons (Photo Credit: Bubbles Event Photography)

I’ve been taking her to lessons at our local pool since she was a year old – she’s now five. The swim school there has quite a good reputation and used to advertise itself as award winning. I always wondered what the award was for. Perhaps it was a swimming certificate.

Until she was three and a half, I went in the water with her for lessons. She went through a phase of being scared of the pool, but got over it. Since she has been in the unaccompanied classes, she has tended to be one of the better ones in her group, but never the best and never good enough to get moved to a more advanced group.

She can swim about five strokes, then puts her feet down — every time… Her technique is good and she’s not afraid to put her face in the water. She recently asked me why she doesn’t get swimming badges any more. The truth is, I don’t know. If she knew how close to getting a badge she was, it might incentivise her to improve, but the leisure centre have changed their award scheme and badges now seem to be few and far between. I think she might do better if she was out of her depth during lessons, but that doesn’t seem to be an option. Most of her friends who go to lessons elsewhere have their 5 metre badge. At this rate, she might get hers when she’s seven.

child swimming

Munchkin enjoying swimming this summer

So my dilemma is this: Do I accept that she’s a bit slow when it comes to swimming or do I find another swimming class? I’ve had a swim school recommended to me, but it’s too far from home. Also, for every swim school that one parent recommends, another parent says their child is struggling there. My other option would be to pay a visit to my swimming teacher uncle, but it seems a bit cheeky when I haven’t seen him for about four years and I don’t think he’s ever met Munchkin.

What are your experiences of teaching children to swim? Would you stick with the current swim school or try elsewhere? If you’re local to my area, is there a swim school near Worthing or Littlehampton that you’d recommend?

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4 thoughts on “Sink or Swim…

  1. In my experience as a teacher as well as a parent and grandparent, I’d say that learning to swim is a developmental thing – just the same as everything else. The other issue for small children is the ratio of muscle to fat – my son really struggled to swim, but that was partly because he was skinny and immediately the minute he stopped sculling or kicking he started to sink like a stone. It sounds to me as if she’s a cough and spit away from actually putting it all together. The fact that she is happy and confident in water is important and if she can perform the strokes means that should she find herself out of her depth, she would be able to keep herself afloat. My swimming teacher taught me to float before she taught me to swim (I learnt in my 30s). Is she happy to float on her back?

    Liked by 1 person

      • I used to pillow Frankie’s head on my arms and make car noises and ‘tow’ her gently while she lay on her back. The motion helped to keep her afloat. And then we’d swap and she would tow me around while I lay on my back. It is a really good suvival skill to teach – but to be honest, taking her regularly so she is water-confident and happy splashing around is just as important:)

        Liked by 1 person

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