swimming boy
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Swimming confidence and bathtime nightmare

After a good few weeks at swimming, but one missed due to chicken pox, we went back last weekend with me hoping that the week off hadn’t put N back a bit. Sometimes we find a short break does some good but as we were on a roll I had my fingers crossed.

Oddly after some great weeks where N was happily taking part in every task they were asked to do, he seemed to have a drop of swimming confidence.

He jumped in fine, had a good old kick around, and was happy practising his front crawl arm…left arm only.  But he would not try with his right arm at all.  I have no idea why.  When asked he just said

‘I’m too tired’.  Hmm, despite having a short snooze before lunch, and still managing with his left arm!  I suppose one arm was better than none.

The next job was to persuade him to swim widths of the pool practising his arm strokes.  The excuses were coming thick and hard.

‘I can’t’.  This really bugs me when he says it, because most of the time, he hasn’t even given it a go.

‘You can, you’ve done it before.  You managed using the other arm’

and a new one to me,

‘My hip’s tired’ as he just stopped moving and floated on his woggle.  Even the teacher was astounded as this comment and his lack of umph.

N doesn’t seem to be interested in hearing what we have to say when he’s in the pool.  It’s like he will only do what he wants to do.  Grr, and he’s only 3, what’s he going to be like at 13!

He was happy enough doing a star float when asked, so he was obviously being picky about what he wanted to take part in.  He’s not like me in that aspect.

I’m not sure whether this drop in confidence and ‘I can’t’ is what’s causing his sudden dislike of getting in the bath.  Once he’s in he gets used to it, but all of a sudden, he’s been refusing to have a bath, screaming because he doesn’t want to get in.  Sometimes this 3 year old just makes me want to scream with his lack of effort.

Offering N a shower instead doesn’t work because he isn’t a fan of those, and he’s even been moaning that he doesn’t want a bath at the same time his dad has a shower like they usually do.  I’m hoping that a few days, and he’ll get back to enjoying his bath, or at least just getting on with having one without moaning.

I think I’m quite chilled out about letting him have the choice to do something at his own pace, but I do want N to at least try.  With swimming, he’s got no choice as it’s a safety essential, he has to learn.  The annoying thing is that he can do these things, it’s a case of persuading him that he can.

I just try to keep encouraging him, keep talking him through what tasks he’s meant to be doing and why, and hopefully he’ll come through.  He’s only got a term left of swimming with Water Babies, so it’d be nice for him to have managed even half a width unaided without telling me he can’t do it, and giving it a go.  It’s so noticeable that the children in our class who can swim well, are all really positive and think they can do it…therefore they do.

If you’ve got any tips about building children’s swimming confidence (or any confidence), do let me know.  I think it’s something we need to work on for N to continue to progress with his swimming.

What excuses have your children come out with to avoid doing something?

Disclosure: We swim with and blog for Water Babies.  All views and words are my own.

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  1. You’ve inspired me that I REALLY need to get Aaron signed up for swimming lessons. How recent was the pox? Maybe his energy levels have not recovered. I know the fatigue effected Aaron more than the spots. Sad to say he still has some scars on his lower back.
    Liska xxx

    1. C Pox was only the week previously that he finished, although it was a pretty mild case (again!) but he has been a little tired. Maybe he should stop having a wander and room swap during the night!

      Ooh yes, do check out classes for Aaron. I would never get round to taking N if we didn’t have lessons. I say I will and then stuff gets in the way, so it has to be lessons for us. Plus the OH would never come with us, so it’s hard to be able to help him learn and practise swimming between people if there’s only one person.

  2. Hi guys – interesting comments – this is quite normal and likely your children are hitting a plateau stage – information overload – they can do these things but they need to be in control and choose to do them – they want to make the decisions
    Give them options – you can do this or this or if you have a go at this we will try this – also praise the specific things they do ie you worked really hard with your arm rather than great arms – if children think they are good at something they may not try again as they do not want to fail – we all do this at times I know I do – let me know how u get on x

    1. Damn those plateaus. They seem to come round so frequently, while others don’t appear impacted at all. He is being a little clingier sometimes outside of the pool as well, so might explain it. Thanks for the ideas.

  3. I was slightly heartened to read your message, but disappointed for N and T – we have been having similar experiences. This last week I had a refusal. Last week he cut his finger whilst making apple crumble at school so he was being a bit precious about his finger stinging. This week we had an out and out refusal. He didn’t want to go to his lesson. Every excuse under the sun came out. ‘My kicking legs are too tired’, ‘the swimming teacher is cross with me’, ‘E isn’t there this week’ … but what do you do. I didn’t force the issue, but obviously disappointed that he missed his lesson when he seemed well enough to do it! What to do?

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