Children’s personality and response to swimming
We quite often sit around the edge of the swimming pool before our lesson, waiting for the previous class to finish. N finds this amusing as it’s a younger toddler class, and he watches them doing the old activities he used to do when he was younger.
Many in the class have been going since they were babies (it still feels strange hearing them being called toddlers, when they were always the ‘baby’ class before us) so we’ve seen them develop and learn as our own children have. Usually we sit and chat with the parents of children in our class, but this time I was sitting next to a grandmother who’d been brought along to watch the earlier session.
She was loving watching her grandson ‘swim’ (or not as he wasn’t keen on much of the activities), so we were having a good chat about what the activities are they do. What we were noticing was how different each of the children’s expressions were as they were diving from the side to do their tunnel swim with their woggle.
Some were grinning away, and couldn’t wait until they were allowed to dive in.
Others were totally distracted by what else was going on around them, looking around and taking no notice of the teacher or the parent.
A few were more wary and wouldn’t go to the teacher, they insisted on having the parent go through the tunnel with them.
The grandmother thought that the faces and enjoyment level totally reflected what the children were probably like out of the pool. She explained that her grandson was always a bit wary, and going through a clingy phase, so it made sense that the same behaviour would happen in the pool.
Yes, I’m sure to a certain extent that’s true, but for me, it often seems to be a reflection on how long the children have been swimming in that class, with that teacher, and in that pool. Quite frequently children in the classes change, especially for Saturday classes, when mums return to work and therefore can only swim on Saturdays.
In our class, you can tell the children who’ve been swimming together the longest. They chat to each other (some go to nursery together which helps), interact in the pool with each other, and are quite happy to swim round the circle from one parent to another like pass the parcel. Those who’re newer to the group aren’t as happy to let go of parents, and tend to get quite upset.
It’s a process that we went through as babies. I’m really glad we’ve gone through that stage and come out the other side, and that our change from Wednesday to Friday, and then Saturday classes have been smooth.
What experiences have you had when changing classes, swimming or otherwise, with your children? What have you done to help smooth the way?
Disclosure: We swim with and blog for Water Babies, but all words and opinions are our own.
My eldest had swimming lessons, lived the teacher and loves swimming and we have been taking little J swimming since he was six months.
I think you’re absolutely right that so much depends on the setting, the teacher and often the timing-if it’s a mad rush to get to a particular lesson then everybody can be stressed before they even start. So if children don’t seem keen on an activity it may be worth having a break and trying a different group.
Thanks. There’s so many factors at play. And in a 30 minute session, you can spend just as much time getting ready and getting changed again afterwards, so you really want to try and get it right.
Thanks for adding your thoughts
My daughter’s always had child-only swimming lessons so apart from the very first lesson when she didn’t want to go in the water without me, she’s been fine. She loves her lessons though and it’s such an important skill to learn.
It must be hard with children who don’t want to swim, as you say, it’s an important skill and so crucial for safety. It’s not like other hobbies that are there for fun.
I LOVE that our 17 month old has been swimming weekly since she was 4 months old. She absolutely LOVES it, and Hubs and I love watching her come on each week, clearly showing her love of swimming. (Lots of “love” here!!)
It’s great when they take to something. I do think it helps they start early, so get the safety thing when young, before learning to swim properly.
That’s very interesting. As a parent being involved you don’t often get the chance to reflect on observations like this as you are part of the action so to speak.
We wouldn’t usually, so it’s sometimes nice when they run a bit late so we can chat and compare notes. thanks for commenting
I realise how I’ve come to love reading about toddlers, what with mine turning 7 tomorrow!! It’s so fab watch them spread their wings, each at their different paces and learn that life is a bit bigger than they’d imagined. There’s so much learning that happens in a setting like the pool..team spirit, enjoyment, trust and bonding. Plus of course, the skill! My girls seem a bit more accustomed to change since we move around a lot…not sure if it’s going to help or harm them! Enjoyed your post Emma! 🙂
Thank you for your comments. Really kind.
I also like reading about children outside of N’s age range – gives me warning of what might be to come!
what interesting observations. My boys both did karate classes for a few years and they went really well (j struggles with a lot of things because of his aspergers but seemed to get on brilliantly with karate). Then their teacher left and disaster ensued! They just didn’t get on with the new teacher and to make matters worse the venue changed too. I was really sad to have to end their lessons as it really felt like the end of an era and I so wish that the new teacher could have been a bit more helpful in trying to make things work out for J as his old teacher had been brilliant with kids with Aspergers. Transitions can be hard for all kids at times so its great to hear that the swimming transitions have worked out well for you. x
It’s definitely important for the teachers to path the way between transition. That makes for good customer service, and retaining customers. Such a shame the karate didn’t work out. Hopefully they’ll be able to find another way to learn it later.
Thanks for commenting
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