If there’s one thing that has driven me mad over the last few years, it’s been the constant competition for places on the council run swimming lessons. You sign up, are allocated a pool which might be a fair distance away at inconvenient times, and then take little cherubs there for years on end while they learn to swim the prescribed way. My neighbours experience filled me with dread. After 2 years of lessons her boys still couldn’t swim and she hired a private tutor.
Standard step by step lessons doesn’t take into account the differences in children and how they learn.
I saved myself the weekly race to the allocated swimming pool and booked us into a private club for swimming lessons at a time that suited us. We got disability living allowance for middler and reasoned that it was worth trying to get them to swim properly so that if they fell in a river, they’d at least have a fighting chance of getting back out again.
I sat regularly fuming while the parents from previous lessons took up 5 – 10 minutes of our lesson chatting about their little precious darlings, completely oblivious to the rest of us whose minutes they were nicking. At £30 for 5 lessons at the time and only lasting 30 minutes, those 10 minutes was taking up £2 each and I had 3 kids in the lessons, so about £6 a day. I did complain but got nowhere, so eventually gave up with it. In total, my kids had a small fortune worth of lessons and not one of them could keep their heads up above water.
I resigned myself to trying to get them to swim myself and persuaded my water averse mother to come into the water with me and take one child while I tried to work with the other two. I did have to splash out on some swimming caps from Zoggs for her as she wouldn’t go in the water and risk getting her hair wet. That’s another thing – You see so many alpha women who parade the poolside and daintily coast up and down the lanes, yet never get their hair wet. Those women are a mystery to me.
“I nearly died,” the 7-year-old dramatically exclaimed when a little water went up his nose.
“My eyes sting.” chimed in another.
So off I popped to get some eye goggles and lastly some swimming ear plugs and a nose clip each for them.
Happy that we could all safely go in the water, we spent the next year unsuccessfully trying to get them to swim. Two of the boys managed to learn to swim pretty well underwater without taking a breath, but neither of them could master the knack of getting their heads up to take in some air.
On a wee holiday to the campsite in Huntly, Scotland, I decided to book them into the local swimming pool for summer lessons. It was the best thing I could have done. Rather than make the kids do it all one way, they looked at the individual children and took on board that I don’t care if they can swim properly. I have no ambition for them to be little Tom Daly’s or Hannah Mileys, all I want is for them to be able to tread water and lift their heads for a breath.
After a few lessons at Huntly, we had the beginnings of breathing. I also breathed with relief.
Going swimming isn’t such a chore now as I’m not trying to keep my eye on three kids who can swim underwater and think they’re invincible.
2 down, 1 to go….
This post was sponsored by Zoggs. It is a story from my life and has not been influenced in any way by Zoggs. I will not benefit if you click the links, but they will take you to a sponsors website.