swimming boy

Swimming and showboating – is having a swimming audience a good idea?

N never has a swimming audience.

I was quite surprised at how many people used to come along for swimming lessons in support, to help and just generally to watch.  Even when we did lessons during the week, there would quite often be full seats round the side of the pool filled with Grandparents, aunts, siblings or the other parent.  It also didn’t appear to be an occasional occurrence but a regular weekly trip.

I feel quite sorry for N (and myself when he was younger, because it’s definitely easier when there’s someone to change a small baby while the adult swimming gets themselves sorted out).

So why would you bring along an audience for a baby or toddler swimming lesson?

The benefits

  • As mentioned above, it’s a lot easier to have one person sort out the baby while the parent going in the pool gets themselves dressed.  Never underestimate how hard it is in a small communal changing room when you’ve got 10 babies and parents all trying to get dry, dressed and amuse the child without standing on them or dropping them off a changing table by turning your back for a couple of seconds…yep, happened to us, the falling off a table rather than the standing on him!
  • If the baby loves the lessons, or likes to perform, then it’s great to show off their skills and have some fun and interaction while having the lesson
  • It’s a family day out
  • Only one adult can be in the pool with the child, so when it comes to non-lesson swimming and holidays, it’s handy for both parents to have seen the activities to be able to do them outside the lesson.
  • You can get some great photos assuming that it’s checked that everyone in the pool is ok with cameras being out.  Luckily where we swim is a small pool and when everyone’s been asked, no-one’s refused.

The cons

  • At one point, the class before us was so busy around the pool, it really made N nervous.  He didn’t seem to like to swim when there were lots of people watching (strangers, not his own family) although it was really because he just didn’t like swimming at that point.  But some children aren’t keen
  • It can be a distraction. Sometimes the child can get really excited by someone watching who they don’t see often, and then just want to act up and do their own thing, rather than taking part in the lesson.  One child in a previous class we had, just couldn’t be controlled at the excitement of their grandparent being at the side of the pool, and the dad really struggled to get him to do anything he was meant to.  Not too drastic at the age of 1 or 2 for one lesson, but you don’t really want to waste money on a lesson that your child doesn’t want to get anything from.
  • More people means more faff in small changing rooms.  Usually this is less of an issue with our class as we have mums and dads, so the use of 2 different changing rooms, and quite often the young babies are changed at the side of the pool by one person while the other adult gets changed in the normal changing room.

I’d love for N to have someone come and watch him swim especially now he’s getting much better with swimming and enjoying it.  And of course now we feel like we’re achieving more – it’s much bigger steps than when he was young.  This week for example, he even enjoyed trying to sit on the bottom of the pool with me, when usually he hates going underwater.

His dad’s not keen on swimming, and is always working anyway on a Saturday, but I hope we’ll be able to persuade him along soon.  I think it’s really important for N to get encouragement and cheers from both parents and hopefully continues to give him a boost.

When you ask N though, it’s his Gran he always says he wants to come and watch him swimming.  That’s definitely more realistic, so hopefully we’ll be able to get her along one afternoon to watch….plus I have the ulterior motive in getting some more up to date swimming photos taken!

Does your child have an entourage at their swimming lessons or is it just the two of you?

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