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Learning children to swim, a must I think!

(29 Posts)
bikergran Sun 19-Feb-12 09:19:00

After the dreadfull story about the grandmother and 6 yr old drowning in a pond, I am so glad that we have just started grandson with swimming lessons! he is on his 3rd lesson and loving it , hes 5 now, so hopefully will pick the swimming thing up quickly.
I am not sure and maybe no one knows if the little chap that drowned couild swim, or if he could, if it would it have helped him to survive sad

Do your granchildren swim? and has this story promted you? to take the littleones to swimming lessons? I didnt learn to swim until I was 11 ish.

absentgrana Sun 19-Feb-12 09:35:42

Absentdaughter was taken regularly to the swimming pool from the age of five months and now cannot remember a time when she couldn't swim like a mermaid. Absentgrandchildren have all followed suit. However, there is a huge difference between splashing around in a heated pool with lots of other people and falling into a perishing cold lake with mud and weeds. That was such a sad thing to happen.

Learnergran Sun 19-Feb-12 09:38:31

Having assumed I could swim at the age of about five, I was fished out of the sea at, I think, Findhorn Bay. Have always been afraid of the sea - but learnt to swim in a pool as soon as we were posted to Singapore when I was 13.
I do believe children should be taught to swim at a very early age before they learn fear, and made sure I taught my own 3, all of whom became very strong (sea) swimmers. DD and SIL have just taken their 6-month twins to a pool for their first dip. SIL was chucked into the water as a baby and left to swim - so glad they didn't do that with my precious GDDs.
I was so sad to hear about this grandmother and her 6-year old. Who knows what happened, I can hardly bear to think about it, poor woman.

Greatnan Sun 19-Feb-12 09:39:34

I have always thought that schools should teach survival schools at a very early age, including swimming, basic first aid and road safety.
Unfortunately, my daughter hid a snag when trying to teach her children to swim - the local swimming baths introduced a rule that there had to be one adult to every child under five, and as her children were born close together she could only go when she had another adult free to go with her. Even when her husband was with her, they could not take their own two younger children and her niece.

Zephrine Sun 19-Feb-12 09:49:25

This is a very common rule and a not very helpful one. I taught swimming to babies from 12 weeks and at that age they have no fear of the water and can be taught to be splashed, go under water, turn around and grab hold of something so by the time they are toddling and likely to fall in something they are confident in the water and know to close their mouth when they go under, turn around and not splash away from the side and grab hold of the rail or bank. Many people who drown do so because not because they are in a situation they can't get out of but because they panic. As they go under they open their mouths to scream and take in vast amounts of water and they lift their arms up straight above their heads. If you do this you will sink. It is possible to teach small children not to do this and it works. Of course there are always situations where even strong swimmers drown but every child should be taught to respect the water, to swim and how to get themselves out of a difficult situation.

bikergran Sun 19-Feb-12 09:57:40

absentgranayes agree with yout totaly, the shock and the cold! I remember being pushed into a sort of lodge/pond whenI ws about 13/14 and I coud swim, (was with a bunch of friends and one of the boys thought it funny to push me in off the rock I was stood on hesitating!! I have never forgot the feel of the horrible weeds ect round my legs...I never swam anywhere other than the baths after that! my mum often recalls how all her brothers and sister used to go swimming in the canals as there were 9 of them and coudnt always aford the swimming mum becaom a swimmer for the school.and tot his day she swims twice a week and swims solid for an hour she has just turned 77,
But for some that are afraid of water full stop then I suppose learning to swim is out fi the question.

Zephrine Sun 19-Feb-12 10:07:23

No, they are the people who really need to learn to swim. They need the right teacher, a lot of patience and the right pool. A beach type pool is best. It may be that the first couple of visits to the pool they just put their feet in the water. But it can be done.

expatmaggie Sun 19-Feb-12 10:19:12

It must have been the cold, and lack of respect for nature. We seem to have known the risks of rivers and streams and cliff edges. Now since everything is easy as seen in cheap films, the reality of nature and its dangers has been lost.
It is so important to be able to swim and in German schools at least where we live it is on the timetable. We have so many lakes and rivers and the summer weather to go with them - that swimming seems to be natural thing for most children here.
New to Germany in the 60s I was appalled at having to swim with reeds, fish, and mud underfoot as I learnt to swim in a cold open air swimming pool in Sheffield. DH had spent his youth in ponds and shallow rivers and had never been to a pool as child.

I was glad when both my daughters got their Swimming certificates from school and I needn't accompany them when swimming. They told me they could always find me because I was the whitest person there. The people here seem to tan well and can take any amount of sun and for me it was often too hot. For that reason I leave the swimming and going swimming with the GCs to their parents or the 'other' grandma.

crimson Sun 19-Feb-12 11:16:40

One of the saddest things I've ever heard on the news, probably because it's a 'there but for the grace of..' situation. I do feel that, although I'm a lot younger than the grandmother in question, looking after a young boy on my own is very difficult [little boys being, imo much harder to look after than little girls and much more accident prone] because I can no longer run, something most necessary when looking after them. I can't bear to think of what must have happened or the pain that the family are going through. but, yes, young children should be taught to swim although it would probably have made no difference in this situation. I hope that schools still provide swimming lessons and that it hasn't been another 'cutback'. Heartbreaking.

harrigran Sun 19-Feb-12 12:46:40

My GD has been having swimming lessons since she was 4 but I never ever take my eyes off her when she is near water. I think that being able to swim can be a double edged sword because they feel confident about water but can not factor in the chill and weeds etc.
Losing one member of a family is a tragedy but to lose two must be unbearable, my heart goes out to them.

jeni Sun 19-Feb-12 13:22:13

My gd was stated at few weeks old. I have a lovely picture of her underwater. She has her own wetsuit for when the hydrotherapy pool is not available.
My mother wouldn't let me go to the swimming baths as I couldn't swim and therefore might drownconfused I learnt on my first attempt when I was at boarding school.

tanith Sun 19-Feb-12 14:02:29

Between us my daughters and I have taught all the grandchildren to swim, the youngest is just getting the hang of it now.. some are better than others but they all enjoy it.
I think its an essential skill for all children but the school swimming lessons are just too short/hurried and only last for one term of one year in our area which for some is just not long enough..

yogagran Sun 19-Feb-12 15:10:12

I am totally in agreement with Zephrine - I am a retired swimming teacher too and it is a survival skill that everyone should learn. I specialised with disabled children and those children and adults who were afraid of water.

Greatnan Sun 19-Feb-12 15:45:56

I was one of those awkward kids who have to learn everything on my own - riding a bike, skating and swimming. I had lessons in junior school but only learned to swim when my big sister started to take me to the baths on our own.
I don't enjoy swimming in cold water, although I have taken the plunge in Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. When I first got to swim in the Mediterranean, at the age of 39, a whole new world opened up. Then I learnt to snorkel in Malaysia when I was 58- if only I hadn't wasted all those years! Non swimmers can snorkel - it is almost impossible to sink if you are wearing a face mask and fins. In fact, you have to work quite hard to get underwater. Perhaps we should start children snorkeling first, to give them confidence! And there is so much to see, even without coral!

Charlotta Sun 19-Feb-12 17:29:16

Yes it is ideal that babies learn to swim and the baby classes are fully booked. But that is usually with the first baby, by the time the second child is born the mother can't get off to the pool wihout someone else with her etc.
I am sure that swimming has been cutback in schools, and many girls from other cultures would not be allowed to get undressed.

I learned in grammar school and even swam in races, but now I just don't like it anymore.

Greatnan Sun 19-Feb-12 17:33:35

There is a world of difference between swimming in a public pool and swimming in a river, lake or the sea.

tanith Sun 19-Feb-12 17:43:50

Greatnan wild swimming is something I've long wanted to do.. not something thats advisable alone though and my OH hates the water.. I prefer to swim in the sea/lake than a pool, do you belong to a club or swim with friends..

jeni Sun 19-Feb-12 17:54:15

So long as it was warm bliss!

Maniac Sun 19-Feb-12 18:23:09

Learnt to swim in my 50s -and persisted until I could do front and back strokes and feel confident when out of my depth.
At the time I read a book 'Drownproofing' about a technique practised in American schools to concentrate on water confidence before teaching swimming.
So sad to hear of this week's tragedy.Could 'drownproofing'be given priority in schools?

Sorry to be pedantic but shouldn't the heading of this thread be 'Teaching children to swim' !!

absentgrana Sun 19-Feb-12 18:26:59

Isn't this phrase "wild swimming" odd? When I was a child and teenager, swimming in the river (in my case the Thames at Windsor), lakes (at the top of St Something's Pass in the Alps) or anywhere there was water that looked fun was just normal.

Greatnan Sun 19-Feb-12 18:28:33

Hello, Tanith (I went to school with Tanith Diggle - I have never heard it since then).
I am usually alone, and I have swum in the Dordogne and Ardeche rivers, but I do make sure there are other swimmers around. My family in New Zealand swim in river pools as well as in the sea ,which is about 12 miles from Wakefield.
In summer, I will swim in either Lake Geneva or Lake Annecy - I am a bit too far from the Mediterranean, unless I decide to stay for a few days.

jeni Sun 19-Feb-12 18:32:01

Maniac I thought the same but decided not to mention it as it is what they say in the black country and it made me smile

Greatnan Sun 19-Feb-12 18:41:08

Expatmaggie, I am puzzled by your comment that this tragedy must have been caused in part by a lack of respect for nature. I am sure the grandmother and the child were not deliberately swimming, but possibly feeding the ducks when one of them slipped in. I don't suppose we will ever know as there were no witnesses.

chocolatepudding Sun 19-Feb-12 20:18:42

On a lighter note I live next to a river and there is a public footpath running along one of the banks. There are many walkers and some bike riders. One cold November day there was a tremendous splash as a boy riding his bike hit a tree root and went flying over the handlebars and into the cold water. The lad was soaked through and we asked him where he lived -a good three miles away. I wrapped him in a large blanket and my DH drove him home. My DH helped the lad to the front door and rang the bell. His mother opened the door and before my DH could explain she said "That's the third change of clothes today, what have you done this time?"

About one hour later a clean lad and his dad arrived to collect his bike with thanks for his rescue.

numberplease Sun 19-Feb-12 22:37:10

I`d love to be able to swim, but alas, at the age of nearly 69, it`s never happened, as I`ve always been too frightened to be able to relax and take my feet off the bottom. My grandchildren can all swim, thank goodness, except for the 3 year old, I hope his parents soon get around to teaching him, it`s such a vital skill to have.