mr shark swimming game

Swimming brings out the competitor in me

I have to admit, if N’s efforts at his last 2 swimming lessons are anything to go by, he’s going to be hard work to encourage come school work. 

It’s great when your child loves swimming and being in the water, as he seems to do.  But sometimes, there’s going to be something else they’d rather be doing.  Anything other than the tasks they’re being given.

Our class has changed quite a lot this term.  2 of the old hands are no longer in the class, and these are people we’ve swum with for a long time.  We’ve now got some new additions, one that’s a bit younger, and seems some way behind the others.  A couple who are still trying to find their way and work out which parent the child prefers swimming with.  I think N gets easily distracted by changes like this, even though he should be concentrating on what he’s doing himself.

I tried to get him to use his goggles this week to go underwater.  But he still wasn’t having anything of it.  This despite us having a conversation in the car about how I’d been borrowing his goggles as they were better than mine at not getting misted up/letting in water.  So he didn’t want to try the underwater activity….nothing really different there.

We were meant to be doing a refresh on arms after last week, as well as some bubble blowing and breathing.  Arms are never N’s strong point, although the action is improving.  But this week, he just didn’t want to play ball (apart from when we were doing hitting the ball with our noses while blowing bubbles – he was a star at that one).

Usually when he gets a woggle, he’s happy enough kicking all over the place.  But the other day, he wasn’t so keen.  He started being a bit clingy.  Instead of jumping away, turning and swimming back to me, he was only doing half a job; turning then staying where he was and moaning that he wanted me instead of actually swimming back.  Very strange, and not really himself.

It’s really hard to keep calm for them when things are going to plan.  It’s a good job I’m not a teacher as I’d not have the patience that the Water Babies teachers have.  They have to keep a cheery face, even when faced with stubborn, independent toddlers like N!

mr shark swimming game

He did perk up during ‘What’s the time Mr Shark?’, probably because he got to be the shark and he likes that.  But the race they had swimming to get the ducks and fish really wound me up.

I’m really competitive, so it’s really hard to refrain from competitive behaviour when they’re swimming.  N just would not swim, he was just drifting aimlessly.  In fact, not really doing even that.  I guess there’s a fine line between getting irritated, being encouraging and being over-pushy.  I’d just like him to try, rather than not do anything, as it’s only 30 minutes to do a bit of swimming that he usually really loves.  I’m hoping that he was just feeling the heat a bit and wasn’t quite right.

As for me, I’ll just have to get over the fact that he was last every time, and is just a r-e-a-l-l-y slow swimmer…when he decides to swim at all!

Do you get competitive with your children? 

Disclosure: We swim (ahem) with Water Babies, all words and views are my own

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  1. I don’t have a competitive streak me at all.I’m happy to be last at anything.I was the smallest all through my school life so I was always picked last in sports.Saying that I do encourage my kids to be the best they can.

    1. I do think that encouraging them is the most that most parents can do. In that way, the child is confident they’ve got backing and support but without the pressure that might come from any pushiness.
      It’s so interesting when you put competitive people with those who aren’t. My hen do we ended up going paintballing – one person said she enjoyed it, but wasn’t competitive at all, just did what she wanted, while the rest of us were desperately trying to beat the other team. Makes for an interesting combination, but probably evens things out.

  2. No not competitive with them at all, I don;t find it helps them. If they love something and excel at it, I will encourage them but that is as far as it goes. Mich x

  3. Mummy is quite laid back really with us all, we are all really bright but not sporty or musical. I might be though! 😉

  4. I have to admit I’m pretty competitive when it comes to my kids. My eldest is finishing his GCSE’s and I’m always asking him his grades and what other people got. Fortunately for me, he ignores me and the only person he is competitive is with himself. I’m lucky that he is very academic too

  5. I go swimming with mine twice a week, I am teaching her to swim & have tried swimming lessons but I find swimming teachers a bit full on! I want her to learn to swim safely not to be competitive, there’s plenty of time for that. Although I was very competitive at sports in school!

    1. Yes, the safety thing is top of mind. Guess that’s why I want him to do well as I want to know he’ll be safe and can cope if he ever gets into trouble. the proper sports can come later (hopefully not swimming with it’s antisocial hours vs other sports!)

  6. I don’t have any kids, but I loved your overview! And I especially loved how you said you’d have little patience to be a teacher, I don’t know how teachers do it…and especially with something like swimming. I’ll stay tuned to see how it all goes 🙂

  7. After a very promising start, where he shot up through the class levels, my son has been stuck in the same ‘stage’ for the best part of a year now. Other children in his pre-school class have overtaken him, and like you I’m finding it hard to just let him learn at his own pace….keep trying to tell myself that they all get there in the end!

    1. That’s it. The ones who’ve moved up a class have (all but one who’s just a superstar young swimmer) been a school year ahead of N, so they’re going to be stronger etc. You just get impatient when they hit a plateau and you don’t know what you can do to help them. Always good to know we’re not the only ones!

  8. I am afraid I am not a natural swimmer and Nancy has not been swimming yet, I am only competitive in board games, sports doesn’t interest me! I haven’t really felt competitive with Nancy, maybe as she’s so young (16mths) so maybe there’s time for my competitive streak to shine through!

    1. Ah, board games. My mum would despair at my brother and I playing together. I think it’s good to encourage a want to win and improve in anyway. I guess, working to the best of the ability. I just hate it when he won’t play ball. I guess that’s a 3yo for you!

  9. I haven’t been swimming for years, having read this, I must check out our local pool

  10. We swim with Water Babies too and Potato adores it. We’ve been going since he was about 5 months and he’s 2 now. He had a similar phase when our instructor changed when he was about 18 months old. He became really clingy and fractious, rather than throwing himself into it (literally) like he usually does. I just stuck with him and didn’t push him to do what he didn’t want to. It soon passed and he was back to his enthusiastic self 🙂

    1. Water Babies are great. We’ve not had a bad teacher yet, although they’re all very different. N’s water wobbles lasted a whole year from around 9 months old. It was hard, but he came through it and loved it, but we just can’t get over the refusal to try and float. He won’t even try for the teacher.
      Hopefully it’s just a one week thing. I’ve ordered him a new rash vest as the old one’s got a bit small so hopefully that’ll help too.

  11. I think he’s doing brilliantly, The Boy has probably been swimming a total of around 12 times in his life? It’s shocking when I say that but I was too scared to take him in his first year, and ever since he’s had horrendous ear infections every Winter between November and April; taking him swimming makes this worse. I am contemplating him doing a crash course in swimming in the Summer holidays though as he’s nowhere near the confidence levels that he should be.


    1. Illness definitely puts paid to swimming. Most things we’d swim through, but we had a couple of weeks of cos I had conjunctivitis (even more annoying when it’s you not the child that’s ill), then ear infection for N). Then of course long summer holidays, where you say you’ll take them but then don’t.

      Crash course in water confidence/fun stuff might be a good idea. Especially in preparation, ready if they go in school.

      For us, I think we need to do a holiday where he can be in the pool every day, and muck around with his dad. I’m the only one who takes him swimming and I reckon it’d improve him with the more reckless and adventurous ‘chucking’ them around that dad’s seem to do. It was noticeable in our class, that a lot of the children who were way ahead of N and moved up to a more advanced class, swam with their dads as well – many who would play silly things with them in the pool. We just don’t do that as a lot of the time you need 2 people for them to swim between etc.

      Hope the Boy gets on with it when he goes and that confidence builds up nicely.

  12. Sounds like an interesting lesson, we are looking at taking C to swimming lessons soon and have been looking at water babies.
    I have a feeling I will be a competative parent when the time comes.

    1. We love Water Babies, they’ve been brilliant especially with guidance through our water wobbles time. Definitely check it out – get in early then C won’t get used to not wanting to go. It’ll be habit and more enjoyable

  13. If we start an activity I find myself getting all gently pushy about it. I try not to but can’t seem to help myself. So instead if chilling out and just enjoying it I’ll be all “but we have to do this sandcastle”. Then I’ll end up doing it when he’s off a 100 yards away playing with something completely different 🙂

    1. Ha ha. Me too. I really have to sit on my hands to let him do things. That’s why I like blogging. I can do that and oversee from a distance, while he gets on with it…until he asks me for help, or I get nosy and ask what he’s actually making.

  14. We have a similar tussle going on in our house at the moment, although it’s over violin lessons, not swimming. We are a family of musicians, and my son is showing all the signs of being extremely musical himself, but he just can’t be bothered with the whole faff of practicing. Every day it’s a battle, and he is getting very good at procrastinating! It’s very hard to keep pushing at something because you know it will be worth it in the long run, but without forcing it on him… like so many areas of parenting it’s a fine balance that seems impossible to achieve some days!

    1. Ooh the whole music thing is hard because of the need to practice. I was terrible at practicing. In theory I had to get up at 6 to do half hour each of clarinet and piano, but I never really did much, and largely got away with it. What I did regret afterwards, was my Grade 8 exam for clarinet. I was a music scholar at 6th form and because I wasn’t doing A level music, so didn’t get automatic allowance of practice time within my timetable, I had the usual volunteer/CCF time to do music. So 2 1/2 hours once a week. I used to blitz that, and that was it for 2 instruments for the week. In the end I missed distinction by 4 marks…and to this day think one more day of practice would have likely got me those 4 marks.

      Music’s also hard as it’s practicing on your own mostly. No team sport practice which is much more fun.

      If you’ve got any music posts – do come and link them up to my #MusicExploration linky. It’s open to the end of June.

  15. I am not a pushy mum but I do try and explore different activities with my girl . But sometimes you have to enroll them doing things without being pushy and its a tough job.

  16. I think once he gains his confidence in the water he will get on really well, for now it would be better not to over push him , instead let him progress at his own pace. Its hard not to be competitive but its more important to let your child enjoy the activity.

    1. Oh he has confidence – he can do it all usually (aside from diving and star floats on his back which he hates so refuses to do). Just this week he was faffing rather than doing all the things he usually loves and does with no problems.

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