Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

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Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Cofa's Tree » 18 Mar 2015, 21:45

We haven't done much regular swimming with Daniel and he wasn't very impressed the last few times we went, asking to go home within the first few minutes! He's a very cautious boy by nature and I don't think he likes being out of control in the water. I've left it a while but as we're having a two week Cornwall beach holiday plus a family holiday with access to a swimming pool, I'd like to try and get his confidence up over the next few months so that he's happy to be in the water, even if he's not actually swimming.

There seems mixed thoughts about whether using swim vests with adjustable floats helps or hinders. We've got a noodle but I had thought something like a swim vest might build his confidence, but I'm not sure now. Any thoughts/advice?
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby UnhappyRightFoot » 18 Mar 2015, 22:03

Personally, I've never like the swim vests - I think they can be restrictive but the child can also be inverted as the floats are around their middle. I don't doubt that you'll be there every second - it's just the thought of it scares me!

Noodles are good and can be used for so many aspects of learning to swim. At his age, you can simply tie it in a knot behind his back and give him the freedom to splash around on his own, then encourage kicking an paddling as he gains confidence. Take a few bath toys with you so he is distracted, but also has something to aim for in the water.
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Brigitte » 18 Mar 2015, 22:04

Speaking only from my own experience with two kids (one of whom hates feeling out of control but is pretty average on the timid/bold spectrum), I would say nay. Just being incredibly patient and truly following her (slow) lead allowed her to build true confidence from the ground up, over time. She knows her abilities and her limits with water. For me, that feels the most safe and the most genuine sort of confidence. My other girl is more confident by nature so it was even more straight forward.

But again, I'm only speaking from a sample size of 2, so perhaps not applicable to your kids.
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby mindy » 18 Mar 2015, 22:23

Roo had a float belt, which the pool recommended, and Min had a swim vest. Roo now doesn't need anything as long as she can touch the bottom, she has been at lessons for 18 m. Min is still only 3, has been at lessons for 6m, and I probably will take her swim vest on holiday..... Don't know if that helps - as the others say, you won't be leaving him alone anyway, and a float of some sort might give him the confidence to enjoy the water.
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby lizandimo » 19 Mar 2015, 03:57

DD is in swimming lessons (parented until 3) and they sometimes have them put on lifejackets - she hates it with a passion! Don't know the difference between a swim vest and a life jacket but I'm guessing the lifejacket are maybe more restrictive? I think she hates that it's uncomfortable and they tend to flip them onto their backs, which she hates! Maybe a swim vest wouldn't be as bad? They tend to have us use the pool noodles to help them float more often than anything else. DD mainly just loves me holding her and floating her around, having her jump in with me holding her hands and playing in the shallow water. Probably not overly helpful in teaching her to swim by herself but she enjoys it at least! We do have a pair of arm bands/water wings, but I've not actually tried them yet so not sure how well they work.

How expensive are swim vests? Is it possible to rent one to try, then at least you could see whether he likes it or not?
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby issi » 19 Mar 2015, 10:25

We've used both this:

http://www.funswimshop.co.uk/the-origin ... s-46-p.asp

and these:

http://www.sportswarehouse.co.uk/produc ... QqjM_6godg

and I'd recommend them both. If the vest fits well it's absolutely brilliant. The arm bands do get in the way of them using their arms properly but it's not like they're doing front crawl at this stage! Depends totally on your child - mine both hated the noodle with a passion, I think because it wasn't secure enough. We've had no trouble phasing out the swimming aids as they've got more confident.

If we were starting now though, I'd get one of these:


They look awesome!
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Nix » 19 Mar 2015, 10:58

I'd recommend the delphin swim rings as that's what we have used for Jasper and Pippa to learn to swim. At 3.5 Jasper didn't need them anymore but even 6 year olds starting for the first time use them at our pool. The baby swimming teacher recommends at least five minutes at the end of the lesson where you ditch the arm bands and encourage swimming without them. Pippa has been able to swim a few metres since she was 18 months thanks to this method.
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Ali70 » 19 Mar 2015, 11:42

We swim most weeks for fun. Sproglet has arm bands and can swim about 10m with them on. We got them when she was about 1 and she seemed to immediately prefer them to the noodle. I think she likes the freedom they give her to spin around, lie on her back and generally get about. She tried a swimvest at centreparcs and hated it, but she was already used to armbands by then.

We tend to start the swim without armbands as that's when she has the most energy. We put them on about 10 mins in, once she's wanting to get away and explore.

I think in an ideal world it would be easier to teach them to swim if they'd never had a buoyancy aid, but we took the approach of getting her comfy and confident in the water and then we'll deal with learning to actually swim around 3.
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby catkin » 19 Mar 2015, 12:25

We've tried a variety - swim vests were popular with mouse around 3-4 and hamster around 2-2.5. Once they could stand in the deep end of the learner pool they were happy to just splash about with or without a noodle. Mouse would get a bit panicky if he had a noodle tied round and it came undone, so we didn't use that unless we were 1:1 with them; but otherwise we found the effect in terms of floating and hindering their arms similar between vest and noodle.

It's a bit like the balance bike/stabilisers thing in my mind. Mouse is also a super cautious child and he wasn't going to try without aids, but was happy trying with aids so we let him. And with both skills when he decided to learn he learned quickly and easily. He's very stubborn, we're coming to think that's just the way he works - when he decides to do something he's unstoppable, but until that point he's unstartable!
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Turtle'sMammy » 19 Mar 2015, 13:46

A has one of these:
It's the one they have at the pool.
If I bring both of them on my own, one of them has to wear a float. <waiting for the day everyone is 4feet tall and I can sit on the side with coffee and a book>
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Treeb » 19 Mar 2015, 18:14

The one T'sM posted is what all the kids here seemed to be using last year, and I heard a lot of great things about it from other parents.

Almost got one for L last summer but by the time we went looking for it all we could find were ones that were too big. Considering getting one for him this summer, but not fully decided yet. He loves the water and was very happy paddling around with me or dh supporting him in the water last summer, but it might be nice to have a bit of freedom from holding him all the time!
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Cofa's Tree » 19 Mar 2015, 19:26

Thanks all for your feedback :)

T'sM and Treeb, the puddle jumpers look so fab, I've gone and bought one from Amazon UK! i'll take him swimming when it gets here and report back on how he found it. It looks perfect to give him the physical support he needs to build his confidence.
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Rahgamuffin » 21 Mar 2015, 11:39

For a bit later on, but J has one of these: http://swimfin.co.uk - he can swim with floats or a noodle (and about 2m without anything) but if we're swimming with all 3, knowing he has something (he has all the confidence!) is reassuring (especially as L is 100% convinced she can swim too), and this is cool enough for him to want to wear.
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Cofa's Tree » 18 Apr 2015, 05:10

So, I finally got round to using the puddle jumper for the first time yesterday...he was laughing his head off, enjoying splashing about, not clinging to me like a limpet saying 'shall we go now?', and after two times of me walking up and down the pool holding fingers as I pulled him along, he let go of me and said 'No mummy, I don't need to hold your hands'!!! Amazing difference :D .

It'd been a few months since I'd taken him, so there may have been a natural confidence increase anyway, but he definitely felt more secure, was enjoying the experience and we both had fun!
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Re: Swimming/buoyancy aids - yay or nay?

Postby Turtle'sMammy » 18 Apr 2015, 08:43

Yay! :D
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