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Swimming Lessons--should I Do Them Myself?

I was a swim instructor for 5 years and (obviously) want my two kids (5-1/2 and 8) to learn how to swim. However, I've heard that you can't teach your own kids to swim and just want to put them into swimming lessons. My husband thinks that I'm being lazy and "not wanting" to teach my own kids, but I don't want one more thing to discipline/push them on. What do you think?

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I don't know about swimming, but take it from me, that is absolutely true with Piano lessons. I don't doubt it is the same for most other things as well.

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I was a swim instructor for 15 years, and have 3 kids. All of my kids learned to swim from other people. Now that they are comfortable in the water, I coach them. I found that with me, they wanted me to be Mom, not teacher, and wanted to hang on me and not try someithing they found either frightening or intimidating. I think it depends very much on the child, and the reason you need to teach them. I taught my nephew when I was living with them, but we lived on a lake and it was an absolute neccessity that he learn to respect the water.

I do not think that laziness has anything at all to do with it, I have just found that my kids responded initially to someone else, and once they were comfortable in the water they were/are fine with me teaching them.

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First of all, I think it's weird that in the last 5-10yrs it seems like all parents are expected to give their kids "swimming lessons"!!! I learned how to swim just fine without lessons. I swim with my kids and helped them out a bit with the logistics of swimming and then they started swimming on their own - well not quite my 5yr old yet, but she'll get it this summer. Just swim with them and have fun!!!!!

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I don't know about swimming, but take it from me, that is absolutely true with Piano lessons. I don't doubt it is the same for most other things as well.

2 moms found this helpful

First of all, I think it's weird that in the last 5-10yrs it seems like all parents are expected to give their kids "swimming lessons"!!! I learned how to swim just fine without lessons. I swim with my kids and helped them out a bit with the logistics of swimming and then they started swimming on their own - well not quite my 5yr old yet, but she'll get it this summer. Just swim with them and have fun!!!!!

2 moms found this helpful

I was a swim instructor for 15 years, and have 3 kids. All of my kids learned to swim from other people. Now that they are comfortable in the water, I coach them. I found that with me, they wanted me to be Mom, not teacher, and wanted to hang on me and not try someithing they found either frightening or intimidating. I think it depends very much on the child, and the reason you need to teach them. I taught my nephew when I was living with them, but we lived on a lake and it was an absolute neccessity that he learn to respect the water.

I do not think that laziness has anything at all to do with it, I have just found that my kids responded initially to someone else, and once they were comfortable in the water they were/are fine with me teaching them.

2 moms found this helpful

I've been teaching my own kids to swim (5 and 3) with success. I was a swim instructor when I was younger too. I find with my son he won't do what I tell him when I tell him but eventually he will give it a try on his own terms. He is a fish and loves the water so that helps. My daughter is following in his footsteps it seems and has no fear of the water. Just keep it fun and low key. I will just show them what to do and try and get them to do it. I do have my son signed up for a summer swim team that should help him improve his skills. Good luck!!

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Give it a shot. If it is too frustrating for them, sign them up with someone else (and do it quickly before they think they don't like swimming). It is hard to teach anyone you are close to how to do anything new or difficult because emotions get in the way on all sides. they may take to it quickly and you may not have an issue.

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We moms teach our kids to walk, talk, eat, read, write, count, tie thier shoes, drive a car, do algebra, swing a bat, play volleyball, sing.... I could go on and on. What could be so differant about swimming?

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I certainly think you can teach your kids to swim, and no your not being lazy. I have found that with many things, kids will respond much better to someone else. I say give it a try. If it's not going well, then enroll them in a class.

1 mom found this helpful

U can teach your own kids to swim-I have a 4 1/2 yr old who has been swimming on her own( with me in the pool of course) without floaties or anything since 2 1/2 yrs old and I have a almost 3 1/2 yr old who swims on his own since last summer no floaties or anything. Now year to year it takes them a week or so to get back into feeling comfortable, but I taught them. L.:)

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I agree with Riley. I'm a musician who teaches and a homeschool mom. I pay for my kids to take violin, piano, and cello. We have fun with it at home, but it's not a pushy thing, and the constant discipline of the lesson is avoided. I love practicing with my kids, and they probably get a lot of extras out of practice, but I also love having the other input, and someone else encouraging the practice. I think it really depends on you and the kids. I have a difficult time teaching my oldest anything, so he does videos. The second loves anything mom teaches, but it's still worth paying a violin teacher. GL!

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I used to be both a swim instructor and a rescue swimmer. Kiddo was in the water with me when he was just a few months old. Could I have taught him, and never put him in lessons? Sure. I chose not to.

I'm also a prof artist, and DH is a prof musician, and we homeschool. Yet 2 of kiddo's outside classes are art class and music class.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should, much less have to. Doesn't mean you shouldn't either. It's a personal decision.

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its true, kids don't pay attention to parents as well as they do a stranger-teacher.. they are more focused and serious about the lesson when its an outside-party. Explain to hubby that a professional is best in this situation ;)

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I think it might depend on them. I know my kids are alot less likely to be whiny or say 'no I don't want to' if someone else is teaching them no matter what it is.
My son (8) started to learn with a life jacket on and can now swim without one. My daughter (6) still has hers on. My son pretty much taught himself with some instruction from us. I want them to have formal instructions so that they understand how to take a breath and stop lifting their heads up instead of turning to the side but I suppose what they are doing will keep them from drowning if they fall off the dock or something (we live on a lake).

How are they when you are working on homework, etc...if they don't mind your instruction then try to teach them on your own. Let your husband know that there is a good chance though that you'll be signing up for lessons though. Our friends are both instructors on swim teams and were able to teach their kids though.
Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

I had similar concerns over teaching my son (5) piano lessons. However, I started teaching him about 3 months ago and it has gone so well that I no longer plan to put him in outside piano lessons, unless his response to the lessons changes a lot. My opinion is that teaching your own kids may or may not work out well in your situation, but you have nothing to lose by trying it out.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with otheres that it is all about your dinamic. My daughter and I went to the pool a lot, but I couldn't get her to do any bubbles or kicks for me. Now we go to swimming lessons and she does great. I still get in the pool, but I go off to swim by myself and she pays attention to her teacher. After her lesson she likes to show me what she learned and we play games together in the pool.

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I never had lessons. I don't know why my parents didn't teach me. I vaguely remember my dad attempting it once but he got frustrated and impatient when I got scared and that was the end of it. Finally when I was 11 a friend of mine taught me in a couple hours. I was so grateful! I wished someone would have taken the time to help me sooner. So I think you should not wait to have your kids taught, but if you don't want to do it, can your husband do it? He probably wants to save money so he doesn't want to pay for something you could technically do for free. But maybe he could do it too? I understand not wanting one more task, one more thing to keep track of when you have a lot going on already.

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I think it depends on your dynamic with your kids. For some kids, there would be no problem with a family member teaching them. But if you already have a dynamic where they feel pushed by you, or you know that an issue will come up where they feel criticized or the like, then I think you are wise to let someone else do it. The kids need to be able to enjoy their swimming time in order to learn (you already know that from teaching!). When you try to teach them, how does it go? Are they enjoying it or does it become something Mom makes them do, and they resent it? I think that keeping a good relationship with the kids is as important as (if not more) the swimming part.
Here's one more idea: they are old enough that you could possibly give them a choice. Tell them that they'll be learning to swim (that part isn't negotiable) but perhaps you can ask them if they would rather you teach them or have lessons with someone else.
A third option is to try it out. Begin teaching them and see how it goes - and if you aren't happy with the situation, then go to plan B with another teacher.
But I wouldn't do it to give in to your husband's misunderstanding about it, I would only do it if you want to.

1 mom found this helpful

My father taught myself and my two sisters to swim when we were very young. I believe since my father had such a love for swimming he past it on to us. All three of us joined swim team and continue to swim as adults. He never pushed us, but he did want us to always be safe in the water. I think it is a great idea!

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It's absolutely true that you can't teach them yourself!

And by "swim," I assume you want them to do more than doggie paddle. That's not swimming!

My husband was a lifeguard/swim instructor for years, and thought he could teach our kids to swim. We tried what we could to help them get comfortable in the water, but when it came to actually teaching strokes, there was much crying and clinging and arms around the neck like a vise. My kids do more for other people, because they don't turn to those people for emotional comfort every day.

However, his knowledge of the lessons has been invaluable! He helps me know which level to put my kids in, and calms my naturally over-reactive fears about the things my kids freak out over (like going under water).

When we go to the pool to have fun as a family, my husband has the kids show him what they've learned, but they resist more than just a few minutes of structure. They want to play! It's sort of like home schooling them on weekends when they've spent all week at public school.

I'd put them in swim lessons, and if your husband is worried about the money, tell him you'll teach some lessons to pay for your kids'. Or find someone you can swap with. Make it temporary, which will help your husband swallow it. Say that you want to give them a great start in the water, separate from any mommy-attachment issues, and then you'll try teaching them once they're past the beginning stage. And if you try to teach them, but it just doesn't work, you'll put them back in lessons.

Besides, it's more fun for kids to be in a class with other kids.

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You can always give it a try...You know what motivates your kids...But PLEASE do not push them. Let them go at their own speed. Draw on your prior experiences. Make it fun. Kids learn best while having fun...just like the rest of us. If it doesn't work...then enroll them later in the summer. Most swim lessons through the parks and recreation I have seen have been one or two weeks blocks.

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Depends on you & your kids. My son will probably respond better to a complete stranger...he's more of a "boy scout" in those situations. I know he won't really "learn" if I teach him.
Do it sooner rather than later.
Personally I think my dad had the right idea--over the side of the boat and after 30 seconds of terror--we were swimming! I don't have the nerve to do that though :-)

1 mom found this helpful

I think you can certainly teach your own kids to swim. When I was little, I barely remember my sister & brother & I went to a lady for swim lessons. All I remember doing was holding onto the side & blowing bubbles, and I know my sister has said that the lady scared her! I don't think any of the 3 of us actually learned to swim from that lady! Later, I remember my dad taught me to "doggy paddle" lol He did a much better job than that lady... :)

Now, I'll be helping my daughter (4 yrs) learn to swim. She's not ready for me to let her go yet, but she can kick pretty good! lol

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I don't know....our swim teacher teaches her own son...but he's younger.

I think it all depends on the dynamic. Are your kids open to learning from you? When my dad coached my soccer team, he and I butted heads the whole time b/c he was my dad first, my coach second.

And what if you are being lazy? :) Oh well....moms get breaks too sometimes! They may see your "advice" as criticism and not learn as much as they would from an instructor.

I'd say there is no real answer, but since you are mama and swim teacher, then you get to make the call. Have you asked the kids? They may want to go to a more social setting to learn.

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I would say it depends on your kids. My 5 year old learns so much better from other people. But as you know swimming lessons are expensive! Why not give it a shot to try it yourself and if it doesn't work or frustration starts put them in lessons.

1 mom found this helpful

Do what you want to do and can afford. They'll learn to swim either way.

I'm surprised your husband cares so much. "Lazy?" That's harsh. My husband couldn't have cared less either way.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm with you on that!! You aren't crazy or lazy. Kids just don't listen to their parents AND take them seriously. Maybe have them go through levels one and two then you do level three or something. I make a strict point to not teach my children SOME things. They get me for all the annoying things already... why wear it out!? :) Good luck convincing hubby though!

V.

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