Swimming lessons aka the new Wednesday

It pains me to say this, but my family has been doing swimming lessons for OVER SEVEN YEARS.

My eldest started at the age of 4 and a half which, it turned out, was a bit late for starting swimming lessons. At 4, they can go in the water unaccompanied, but only if they’ve passed the ‘accompanied’ toddler stages which go before. So we spent a year in the water with him before he was ready to move up. In the meantime, his little brother started too.

Swimming lessons were a Saturday morning thing and the boys slowly and painfully moved through the stages – two toddler stages and the seven unaccompanied stages.

For a particularly tough year, we had to abort the Saturday mornings the swimming pool flooded  Seriously. You couldn’t make it up. For that year we travelled to the complete opposite side of town for lessons at a different pool on a Friday evening. We were out of the house for a thoroughly depressing two hours just for a half hour swimming lesson.

And still my boys could hardly swim. In July 2008, at the end of year 2, my eldest brought home a 10m swimming certificate from school. Two and a half years after he started lessons, it appeared he could FINALLY swim.

Around her 3rd birthday, my daughter started on Saturday mornings at the swimming pool. She went early in the morning and the two boys went later (at different, consecutive times).

When my younger son started football on a Saturday morning, we moved to a Thursday evening. First for the boys, then for all three of them. My younger son had caught his brother up at this point, which made life easier, but sitting at the swimming pool for an hour at teatime was still not my idea of fun.

And then the boys stalled completely. They went from one crap teacher to another. So we moved them. To a Tuesday This was the worst possible time – sandwiched between work and my own dance lesson, but my obsession with the boys making progress over-rode all rational thought.

This time last year, in years 6 and 3 respectively, they made it to the final stage. I gave them two terms to pass it. They didn’t pass it, but I pulled them out anyway. We were all thoroughly fed up with swimming lessons. They could swim well enough. They were never going to be Olympic champions. We’d all served our swimming time.

In the meantime, my daughter had moved from Thursday to Wednesday and all responsibility had been taken out of my hands. For 18 blissful months, my mum took my daughter to her swimming lessons as she moved slowly through the levels (a lot faster than her brothers, to be honest).

Now everything has changed again. After the crappy weekend trying to book swimming lessons we have ended up with a time which isn’t suitable for my mum. We’ve reached a compromise. As I can’t guarantee to be home from work in time to take my daughter, my mum will take her and I will go to the swimming pool as soon as I can to take her home.

So we’re back to microwave meals for the foreseeable future. I daren’t risk trying to move her to a different lesson time while she stays on this level for fearing of losing her place altogether. So this is my new Wednesday. For the next six or nine months. Lucky me.


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I am grateful I don’t have to do that at the mo, they always clashed with things, but both mine quit once they had gt their 50 metres badges, as the next group up was a bit more serious and the teacher was shouty!!

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  2. How I hate booking and changing swimming lessons. We turned up this weekend to my son’s new class time (which THEY moved) only to be told they had forgotten to move him on the computer system, so he was 2 hours early!

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  3. Wooo working now so I can comment. We’ve just started swimming lessons. It was a bit of a hassle to get a class to suit us and then we wanted classes that weren’t too far apart as they have to go to separate classes because of their ages. Eventually we got something sorted and then Wee Z went to his swimming class and he swam to well for that class and he has been moved up. The class we wanted was full but they managed to get him a place so I’m not having to do 2 trips every week.

    I think so long as they can swim and would know how not to drown then that’s good enough for me. Someone told me they’d been sending their kids for ages and saw no progress other than they could swim. And swimming lessons don’t come cheap do they?

    Hopefully you’ll get a good class time soon. The things we do for our kids eh? LOL

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  4. This sounds just like us. I finally pulled the last one out of swimming lessons last term – if they can swim 200m then that’s good enough for me! Swimming lessons were my absolute worst activity of the week. Feel for you 🙁

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  5. URGH!!! You poor thing as you know I wrote about this a while back about swimming lessons being the biggest con EVER!! There should be a minimum time limit that they take to teach your child to swim properly – they want it to go on forever and like proper mugs we sit there week in and week out. I ditched it all last year – I figured they only need to swim on holiday and it takes the whole fun out of it – we’ll go swimming together and have fun not this float one week no float the next – the children do as they are aske so its down ot teaching and the fact they never want you to leave. Only problem is it takes about 4 years to finally grasp the situation. I say ditch the lessons and have fun I’m sure they’ll be fine if they fall out of a boat! x

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  6. Have you thought of water polo? I went through swimming lessons, swimming club, early morning training, 8 times a week training etc etc… and then very late in life found water polo. Training is much more relaxed, once a week, they teach you to swim and the children enjoy it and develop in their own time. That’s what we’ll do with my daughter, just a thought 😉

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  7. Thanks very much for your comments, everyone, really appreciate them. It seems like everyone finds swimming as much of a hassle as we do!
    My boys can probably swim 100m and their stroke isn’t great, but they can definitely swim. I would have liked to see a better stroke, but wasn’t willing to throw any more time or money at it!
    Daughter can swim 25m at the moment and her stroke is perfect. She just needs to build up her stamina.
    Kath – I would have been going crazy if they’d done that to me! Hate how we have to fit in if ‘they’ make mistakes.
    Glad you’ve got reasonable times, Laura. Booking the right times and balancing the needs of different children is the most stressful thing of all. I think able to swim and unlikely to drown is a good aim to have!
    Thanks, Natasha! I’m glad I’ve ditched the lessons for the boys. We’ve come this far with my daughter, I think we will see it through to the end!
    Water polo sounds fab, Natalie. I know they do it at our local pool, but I’m not sure how young they start. I think my boys are off swimming for life now and my daughter is heading that way too! 🙁

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  8. How about trying a different pool? Might be more flexible to your needs? A lot of them use the same awards scheme now. xx

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  9. I may be very wrong for saying this but Grace doesn’t do swimming lessons. I gave her the option of swimming or ice skating. She chose the latter. She isn’t afraid of water and can sort of swim but I can’t afford any more than one activity a term. It sounds like a complete and utter nightmare you have had there but well done for not giving up! Thanks for linking up to PoCoLo and for your wonderful support xx

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  10. I have been thinking about starting swimming lessons for Joshua but they have advised just mother and baby to start .. i hate swimming 🙁

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  11. Thanks very much, everyone. We should have tried a different pool years ago, Emma, but we are so close to the end now, we just need to see it through!
    Ice skating sounds fabulous, Tori, and children can learn to swim without lessons, so why not? Always a pleasure to link up with PoCoLo, thanks very much. x
    I’m not keen on swimming either, Jaime! Most places will make you go in the pool with them until they’re 4 unfortunately!

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