Calling time on swimming lessons

Calling time on swimming lessons

This afternoon we should be having a quick dinner before rushing off to our local leisure centre armed with swimming trunks and a towel.  But we’re not.  Last week I made a decision, which to be frank, broke my heart a little bit. I called time on swimming lessons for Monkey. Since we returned to the pool after the saga with his perforated ear drum, each lesson has become more stressful, Monkey’s become more upset and more unwilling to join in with the class.

I know it’s not a fear of water or the pool itself.  We’ve been to the pool on weekends and he’s happily splashed around, stood right under the play showers and loved every minute.  He doesn’t take after me, and I’m glad of that. But the swimming lessons were becoming traumatic and no matter what I’ve tried each week has been more of an issue for him.

Calling time on swimming lessons


I see swimming as a life skill, having not learnt that skill myself until well into my forties, I’m more than keen for Monkey to learn to swim at a young age.  I did actually cry as I wrote the email cancelling his lessons.  I felt that I’d failed him, but I also realise that pushing him to do something that I want isn’t the answer, it won’t get my son swimming. That want has to come from within him.  So this stubborn mother has let it go.  For now anyway!

I’ve looked at other pools, and at one to one lessons, which frankly would probably suit Monkey much better, but they cost so much more than the leisure centre.  As a SAHM Mum I just can’t stump up the cash.  So, yes, I feel that I’ve failed on that score too, it’s the payback for being there to take him and pick him up from school every day, I can’t afford the ‘luxuries’ that working might provide more easily.

So this afternoon we won’t go near a swimming pool, maybe we won’t next week either, but soon I want to get Monkey back in the pool, regularly, just with me, having fun, splashing around.  Then maybe, (ok, yes I’m praying silently) he’ll see for himself that learning to swim could bring even more fun.  That it could allow him to go on new adventures.  I’d love him to be able to swim before our holiday in Portugal next June, to be able to jump in the pool, squealing with glee and soaking his grandparents in the process.  But am I just wanting him to experience things I never did, am I trying to live my life through him?  I hope I’m wanting him to swim for all the right reasons.

So for now I’m calling time on swimming lessons, I’m truly listening to my son and what he wants.  But it doesn’t stop me feeling like I’ve failed him.


10 thoughts on “Calling time on swimming lessons

  1. There’s no way in this world you’re failing him, on any level. I know how important it is to you, but you know I think (for what it’s worth) you’ve done absolutely the right thing x

  2. I think, from what you’ve said, that it’s the right thing for now. He still enjoys the water outside of lessons and there’s no reason why he can’t learn with you. He doesn’t need technique, it’s the safety side, so if it’s just a self learnt scramble to begin with, that’s fine. I guess once he’s in year 2 he’ll have lessons during school anyway?

    I know we went through a year of crying and wobbles at lessons when N was a baby, and although it was horrible, I had a lot more say in that, and the recommendation from the teacher who had experience of that. We came through it and N loves his swimming lessons, even though he still can’t swim on his own (after 4.5 years of swimming you’d think he’d be able to by now!).

    Maybe a break, growing up a bit more, and seeing it as a safety thing, and preparation for classes in school will help. And just take the chance to enjoy it leisurely, rather than both of you having to worry about lessons.

  3. You haven’t failed Monkey by any means. You’ve given him a great start to swimming with the lessons that he’s had and he won’t forget those. There’s no point in you both being upset every week, so I think you’ve made the right decision to take a break.

  4. This must have been so hard for you. You feel like me with the children and swimming, it’s definitely a life skill but I think that for now you’re making the right decision. Monkey is still young and I am sure by the time he’s a teenager he’ll be swimming with no issues – he just needs to go back when the time is right for him. Hugs x

  5. I know it’s so hard to make this sort of decision. Bud starts lessons next week and I really don’t know how it will go. He loves the water but won’t relinquish is rubber ring. I really hope he takes to it but we will put it off for a few months if he doesn’t. I hope Monkey will embrace swimming lessons if you try again.

  6. Bless you I understand how you feel, I so want our Monkey to love swimming as much as I do but as yet he has hated swimming lessons and made going in the pool stressful so we have taken a break too. Even at 3 he is too stubborn to be pushed into something he really doesn’t want to do so we will try again in the future but not yet. I think you’re doing the right thing and I hope he begins to love swimming soon! Xx

  7. You didnt fail at all. I think sometime you just need to listen to your kid and let him learn slowly at a time.

  8. I agree with the other comments, that you are right to listen to your son’s view, why make it in to a weekly battle that neither of you enjoy. I was forced to do tennis lessons as a child and have disliked the games since, and you don’t want to have a similar reaction with swimming.

    Does he have lessons through school? If so that maybe a trigger to inspire him to start again.

  9. Sorry its taken me so long to comment on this,, email overload!!
    I think you’ve done exactly the right thing and pulled him back from swimming lessons before he really starts to resent swimming and the water, and then it’ll be even more difficult to get him engaged again.
    The positive is that he is water confident and happy to splash and play it in at his own pace. I’m sure he’ll pick the lessons back up sometime.
    But I also understand how you feel about not being able to stump up wads of cash for 1-2-1 lessons. There are always sacrifices we have to live with, and I’m sure whatever decision we make our children will thank us for in the future.

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