Do you let your child give up on lessons if they tell you they're bored?

Swimming Class - Maddy with his instructor and class.
@maddysmommy (16236)
United States
August 11, 2008 4:06pm CST
My 6 yr old son is on his second level of swimming lessons and has 3 more classes to go before he completes level 2. He still has several more swimming levels to go and a lot more techniques to learn as well. Today I told him that I was going to book him into the 3rd level in the Fall, just to keep his swimming lessons up so he doesn't lose what he has learnt and he told me that he doesn't want to do swimming anymore because he's bored. I know from his first class there were only two of them, so the instructor was able to do more one-on-one coaching with him and there was no getting away with playing. This next class he's in, there are 8 kids in total and I have noticed especially today, that he spends a bit of his time playing around with another younger kid while the instructor is attending to the others, who tend to take a little longer to complete a task (which is fine as every kid learns at their own pace). Out of the 50 minute swim lesson, I would say he spends at least 25 minutes of that, waiting for his turn and playing in the water (give or take a few minutes). What would you do in this situation? Should I talk with his instructor and ask her advice? Shall I tell him to stick it out one more time and see how he goes with the next level? maybe see whether I can get him into a smaller class? or let him give up and find another activity for him to do in the Fall? or not even bother with another activity? He is doing so well with his swimming lessons (natural says his instructor) and was so keen in the beginning but now has somewhat lost interest and is bored. I don't want him to give it up, not only because of the money spent ($75 for 8 lessons), but because he's gotten this far and I would hate to see him just throw it all away. Getting proper lessons and learning the right techniques will benefit him in the long run right? I would think so. Besides he was the one that really wanted to learn how to swim properly.
4 people like this
23 responses
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
12 Aug 08
It depends really. If varying methods had been tried to try to reactivate his interest in swimming and to make it fun again and all of these new approaches had failed and he STILL is bored with it all; then I certainly would not be forcing it on him. He will end up hating it in the end! An interesting observation from your post is that he seems to enjoy the water and playing around with other kids while he should be learning may be proof that the specific teaching methiods being used now just don't reach him anymore. So mix it up a little! We too as children changed our minds like the weather! One minute we are into one thing and then the next we are into something else..... One day they are 100% sure that they want to be a fireman and next thing you know they make a decision that they would rather be a professional skateboarder! I guess it is one of the joys of being a child. They can chop and change because the seriousness of life doesn't really kick in until they become adults and self responsible. Maybe a break from it for a while will respark his interest when the next swimming season starts? The key is to inspire him to WANT to continue without being seen as pushing him into it.
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
Good points James and thanks for sharing. He does get an hour play after each lesson so he is still having fun too. I even have a hard time getting him out sometimes. Taking a break might just be the way to go and then we can see later on whether he is still interested. Kids at this age do lose interest easily. Thanks for your response James, really appreciated.
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
Oh by the way he wants to do TaeKwonDo now LOL
2 people like this
@James72 (26832)
• Australia
12 Aug 08
And next week he will probably want to ride horses! lol. Maybe if you invent "Tae Kwon Swimming" you will have him centred and focused once and for all! lol.
2 people like this
@makingpots (11922)
• United States
11 Aug 08
You are a good mommy for considering this from all angles. I wonder if there are parents that would just say something like why spend the money if they don't like it. My opinion is that you should talk to his teacher about it first. I think that a 1:8 ratio sounds too high and that you should consider talking to the Aquatics Director about it as well. They could perhaps consider having shorter classes and smaller ratios with the kids learning the same amount and the 'place' still making enough money. (does that make sense). I also think there is a very important lesson to be learned by your son about finishing something he started.... working hard even when it wasn't always fun.... and then being proud of themselves and their skills in the end. It would be entirely different if you were forcing it on him, but since it is something he asked for and something very worth having in the end, I would consider talking to him with a whole lot of empathy about it, and then do your best to have him stick it out. Good luck with this.
3 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
11 Aug 08
Thanks makingpots. Your comment makes a lot of sense to me. I agree with the lesson learnt about finishing something they started. I don't want it to be a habit and it could become one if I allow it (or am I being too harsh thinking like this). If it was because the classes are too hard, or he's not ready for the next level then I would not even consider rebooking him in another class. The fact that he wanted this and was so keen in the beginning, makes me want to encourage him to stick it out and not give up so easily. The thing is too, he does get a lot of play time after the class (about an hours worth) so it's not like he's not having fun while learning, it's just not at the same time. I think talking with the instructor would be a good thing too and looking at the class ratio for the next level. I still need to sit my son down and talk to him about this because I don't want to force him to do things he doesn't want to do. Thanks very much for your response :)
@gemini_rose (16193)
12 Aug 08
I think that I would have a word with the instructor first, kids do get bored really quick and they need to be on the go all the time or else they just want to give up. If he is doing well it will be a shame for him to give it up and it will benefit him in the long run. I think that you should try and get him to stick at it a bit longer at least until he completes the level. But then if he does not want to do any more it might be hard because if you have to pay for it then you are going to be wasting money.
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
I am going to talk with her today as he has another lesson this morning. He only has two more to go after this and then he's completed this level. He is really good at it and I do give him an hours play time afterwards, so it's not like he isn't having fun - he's a real fish and it's hard to get him out sometimes. Now he's talking about wanting to do Tae-Kwon-Do LOL umm not sure about that but school is starting up soon so we shall see.
1 person likes this
@gemini_rose (16193)
12 Aug 08
Tae kwon do is fun, but hard. I did it for a few years and then went into thai boxing. If he shows an interest in it though then just try and let him have one or two of those first! I tried to get mine interested in it but no joy!!
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
13 Aug 08
My sister and 3 brothers did Tae Kwon Do - I was too chicken to try it out LOL I think I might just give him a break from swimming and let him concentrate on school for a bit as this year he's going to be getting homework, might not be a lot but still :)
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24962)
• Australia
24 Aug 08
Talk to his teacher by all means but where I come from a child does what I want him to do not what he wants to do. What if he gets bored with school and says he isn't going? I'd say he had heard an older kid say this and is trying it on...I mean this is a 6 year old child here...not a 16 year old. Who is the parent?
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
24 Aug 08
Obviously we come from different backgrounds and forcing him will only make the situation worse. He has finished his class and I did talk to his teacher and they recommended he take a break. Two sets of 8 classes over a period of 2 months is a lot for a 6 year old they said so they recommended he take another class later in the fall. And for you to question 'who the parent' is was rude.
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24962)
• Australia
1 Sep 08
You were friendly with the other responders on this page who didn't think he should quit, why are you being unfriendly with me ? I was not being rude, I was making a point. It was not my intention to be rude. We probably did come from different backgrounds...I've never seen two the same except for siblings. My parents expected obedience. They were in charge. If they told me to do something I did it. No questions, no arguments. At six years old, I didn't even have a voice. My parents were the adults, they made all the decisions. They were looking after me, protecting me. I did what they wanted me to do, not what I wanted to do. They set the boundaries. I realise this is abrupt, I just happen to believe that children are given too much freedom today and that parents are shirking their responsibilities. That is my opinion. You can take it on board in part or full or not at all. That is your choice.
@icyorchid (2564)
• United States
13 Aug 08
Hi, I wouldn't let him give up. He is bored because the teacher is giving attention to other students. I would just explain to him that if he gives up his lessons, he will never know the proper techniqes to swimming in the deeper end of the pool. I don't know how old he is, but when he gets older, he won't enjoy the kiddie pool. lol Maybe the swim instructor can give you some advice on how to handle it, but I would not let him give up on the lessons. The proper technique may save his life or he could save someone's life one day. Good Luck!
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
13 Aug 08
Hi icyorchid, long time not see. Hope all is well with you. I totally agree with you about sticking with it until he's learnt how to swim properly. He was asking me yesterday when does he get to compete in races and I said you have to learn how to swim first LOL go figure. Thanks for the support and I will be talking to her after his last lesson tommorrow.
1 person likes this
@icyorchid (2564)
• United States
14 Aug 08
Morning, All is well with me right now. Thanks for asking. That may be the reason he is bored. lol He thinks he is never going to finish his swim lessons and he wants to race! Kids are interesting and they loose interest in things that take forever to learn. Hope the swim instructor has some good advice. ~Icy~
2 people like this
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
15 Aug 08
I would make sure he finished out the 3 more lessons at this level anyhow. ask him why he is bored. I do not like to hear my child say he is bored... it really gets under my skin... I think there is plenty to do to occupy oneself that they ought never to be idle or bored. Of course, in a situation such as in the pool there is not much else to do than swimming and if they are forced to wait for the attention of the instructor what is there to do other than wade, as I imagine they are not allowed to play in the water while awaiting the next part of the lesson. IT sounds to me as if the class was over booked or under staffed... I would talk with the instructor and maybe they could get an assistant to give direction or assistance with the stragglers or those waiting.
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
16 Aug 08
Hi Modestah. Being bored is not an excuse in my book to quit anything LOL and he did finish the second level and passed. It looks like most of the classes take between 8-10 children each time and when I spoke to his instructor on the last day, she suggested that since he had taken two sets of lessons during the months of July and August, to take a break. Most kids usually do one lesson in Summer and then the next level the following summer. I thought they carried them through the Fall and sorts until they learnt how to swim properly. Anyhow, he's finished and school will be starting soon so we shall see. Thanks for your comments!
1 person likes this
@izhuce13 (160)
• China
12 Aug 08
i do not have a child, but when i was a little boy. i hate to do the things is boring. and i do believe when you is a little child, you will think so. So why do you compel you child to do the think you do not want to do?
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
It's the fact that he doesn't want to finish something he has started, especially since he really wanted me to put him in swimming lessons. Allowing him to quit because he is bored isn't a good enough excuse because that is sending out the wrong message. He is almost there in terms of learning how to swim properly on his own and I would hate to see him give it all up just because he decided he was bored with it. He is a fish in the water and I struggle to get him out sometimes, so I don't know. He only has 3 more lessons to go including today and that's the level complete.
• Philippines
12 Aug 08
I have a 7 yr old daughter who wanted to have swimming lessons last summer and suddenly changed her mind a week after. We just took it in stride and let her have her way. She's only a kid and kid's are still in that stage of discovering different interests. Anyway, give your kid a little space and let him decide for himself.
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
I might end up doing that by giving him a break after he finishes these lessons. He only has 3 more classes to go and then it's done. Just the fact he wants to give it up because he's bored doesn't sit well with me - he does goes an hour after to play too, so it's not like he's not having fun. He's a fish in the water and it's hard to get him out sometimes. Thanks for your response siberian and welcome to mylot.
1 person likes this
@pukaprat2 (442)
• United States
11 Aug 08
i think maybe you might be pushing him to doing something he just doesn't want to do any more. and maybe it might have something to do with getting him out of the house and out from under your feet so that you have spair time. however i think you might need to just let him have some fun. tell him to finish up the last of the classes and when he is ready to go back let him go back. why fork over money when they will be fighting you about going in the first place. you need to remember that right now it is all about having fun. he is a kid and if you push you might make him loose all intrest in water sports. you might want to let him dry off a bit and try something new like soccor or something. it just sounds like to me you want him to be a fish. he will come back around and will want to jump right back into it. but for now just let the poor bloke have some fun and test out what he has learned. then maybe he might want to get a bit more aggressive with it later in life. but most important, it is suppose to be FUN..
2 people like this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
11 Aug 08
Thanks pukaprat. I know its meant to be fun for him too. It was only a suggestion to try out swimming lessons when we came home from vacationing in Rarotonga (because he practically lived in the pool and didn't know how to swim) He really wanted to learn. His first set of lessons, he was keen to go everyday and really enjoyed learning and having fun too. These next set of lessons he's bored, and I don't think because it's me pushing him to do them either, although I do encourage him everytime he's out there, but I think he's lost interest because he is not getting the one-on-one instruction like he did in the first class. As soon as the instructor is with another student, he is off doing his own thing, which isn't a bad thing either, and I think that is why he is finding the class boring. Maybe just letting him give it up and trying something else would be a good thing too. Thanks for your input.
• United States
19 Aug 08
Not only will it teach him how to swim, but it will teach him to complete anything he starts. I say make him continue the lessons, bored or not. I would even go as far as to point out how much he likes having the freedom to play in between lessons. If you let him quit going just because he is bored, he will use this excuse to get out of things further on in life. So I say make him continue and complete the lessons. He is getting a wonderful skill out of it, he gets to socialize with his friends, and he will have the satisfaction of a job completed once he is finished with the course.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
24 Aug 08
With a lot of encouragement he did finish his lessons and his teacher recommended he take a break. Two sets of 8 classes over a period of two months is a lot for a 6 year old they said. He will have to finish them anyway because if he wants to swim competitively he has to learn how to swim properly. He asked me after his last class when does he start getting trophies LOL go figure.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Aug 08
That's wonderful. I figured that he was just getting tired of going all the time, even school has breaks lol. Just make sure you don't let this break turn into permanently being off.
1 person likes this
@checapricorn (16066)
• United States
12 Aug 08
Hi maddysmommy, M[i]aybe he needs to take a break? How about telling him that he will have 2 weeks in the fall before you will enroll him back to swimming if possible! I know he is just bored with the routine and you know the span of time in their interest is very limited! That is a great training for him really and for sure before 15 years old, he will be a great swimmer already! Anyway, he is still young at least he has the basic foundation of swimming already! So, try to give a break and talk to him about it![/i]
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
You could be right there checapricorn. Maybe he just needs a break since he has already had two lots of 8 class lessons. I really wanted him to stick it out to the end you know, so that he is able to swim all by himself without any trouble but I suppose at that age, it's hard to keep them motivated and like another poster said, they lose interest quickly. He is already talking about wanting to do Tae-Kwon-Do LOL
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Aug 08
Wow..I admire you effort for exposing your kids in those stuff..Those are really beneficial for them!
@Margajoe (4720)
• Germany
11 Aug 08
Hi Rachel, I think I would try to encourage him to go on. You could ask him to try the new group, because that will be so much different, and a lot more fun... If he starts giving up know, he will do that again in the future. He has to learn to finish what he starts. The earlier the better. You might reward him with a Surprise (little) gift when he is finished? That might get his motivation back. Good luck. Take care, and have a nice week. Margajoe
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
I am going to try to encourage him to stick it out till the end of this class and see how he feels after that. I'm wondering whether the next class might be different and smaller too - I definitely don't want him giving up too easily but like another poster said, kids at his age lose interest fast so maybe just taking a break from the lessons might be a good thing and then picking it up at a later date. Thanks margajoe.
@Margajoe (4720)
• Germany
13 Aug 08
Hi,I don't know about that. I would encourage him to finish what he started. Did that with my two kids as well. And to my surprise my daughter wanted to keep swimming. Problem was the water in her ears. She got infections from the water. Then we had no choice. We had to stop. She is a great swimmer. Well, good luck, take care. Margajoe
1 person likes this
@zeny_zion (1284)
• Philippines
12 Aug 08
yes, they will never understand if they are not interested anymore. ill let her rest for a while. do what she wants to do. ill tell her after everything that she wants to do shell have to finish her studies. we have to compromise. we just cant forced them to do or to study and study. you can also feel the boredom if you are in her situation.
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
13 Aug 08
We might just end up doing that, giving him a break from swimming. He's now talking about wanting to do Tae Kwon Do LOL
@cher913 (25893)
• Canada
12 Aug 08
no, i dont usually, but in regards to swimming, my younger daughter only did one class and failed it! this was because she wouldnt jump in the deep end but in regards to your son, i would talk to his instructor to see what they suggest in this situation as i am sure, they have encountered it before.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
13 Aug 08
Yup I agree. I haven't had the chance to yet but he still has two more lessons. She has another class right after ours so if we stay longer tommorrow, then I'll be able to ask for suggestions. Thanks cher.
• China
12 Aug 08
no i think he should go on to learn swimming lessons .he may be bored but every study need our hardship
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
Yes I know what you mean. He has two more lessons to go and then this level is over. We might just have to postpone the next level until a little later as there are lots of classes in the fall and throughout winter. Thanks for posting and welcome to Mylot!
@metalhalo (601)
• United States
12 Aug 08
I wouldn't let him give it up so easily. He wanted to learn in the first place. If he quits, what kind of example is he setting for himself in the long run? Everything in life worth learning can have it's little boring moments. He'll be glad in end if he sticks with it and he'll learn so much. Can him and his friends play a little pool game while they're waiting their turns? I just can't fathom being 6 years old and being bored in a pool. lol
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
I couldn't agree with you more. He does play with two other boys when he is waiting his turn and he gets another hour afterwards when class is finished so I don't understand where the boredom is coming from. He even asked me this morning when can he start swimming in races and I told him he has to learn how to swim first if he wants to do that LOL and then he goes on to say 'but I can swim' and I said yes but not properly that's why your taking swimming lessons LOL He has two more days of lessons and then I'll talk with his instructor. It might just mean taking a break and coming back to it at a later date. He is even talking about wanting to do Tae-Kwon-Do AARGH!
@SHAMRACK (8384)
• India
12 Aug 08
Dear friend, I hope if he feels it is boring either find a better way to teach or leave to his own way. By forcing I hope it may tend to hate it. That too swimming and if hates it may be if not able to swim at need time it may be more worse. May more enjoyable ways like playing in pools with others may having class with other friendly people. May teaching swimming with inputting more games like water polo like or just other games. May be if too bored make it for another period if possible. I hope it may not be right to just force or compelling to learn which is not liked.
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
Hi shamrack I am not forcing him to do the lessons. He requested it when we came back from Rarotonga earlier this year. He has two more days of lessons and then the level is finished. Giving up without completing it just because he is bored is not an excuse and if I allow him then it's not setting a good example for him. He also has a lot of fun after his 50 minute class and plays for at least an hour before we head home, so it's not like he isn't getting any playtime or having fun either. Now taking a break from the swimming and picking it up at a later time is probably what we would end up doing. He is so close to learning how to swim all on his own and for him to just want to give it up because he's bored, just doesn't sit right with me. I really think because his class is too big so the time she spends with the other students, is the time he is bored waiting for his turn. He even asked me this morning when he can swim competitively and I told him he needs to learn how to swim first. LOL he is funny!
@Rozie37 (15503)
• Turkmenistan
12 Aug 08
This may be tough on you, but he needs to stick with this. It is something that he asked for and can be beneficial for him in the long wrong. In fact, I can even hear him asking you in the future, why you did not make him stick to it. I regret that no one taught/made me learn how to swim when I was younger. Now, I long to swim, but am too afraid. Besides, bordom is not a good excuse for quitting anything. you don't want to send the message that he can quit because he is bored. Especially, when you have spent money on it.
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
That's exactly the way I feel Rozie - giving up because he is bored is not an excuse in my book. If it was because he wasn't improving or finding it really really tough, then I can understand, but I tell ya, he's a fish in the water and loves it but for some reason, he has lost interest in this class. Maybe the next lessons are set up differently and possibly a smaller class. I'm going to ask today and see what the instructor has to say. I never had formal lessons and I wish I did. I can tread water and float, do a few strokes but that's about it.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
12 Aug 08
I guess it depends what it is. My daughter took swimming lessons again this summer, but we only sign her up for one 2 week session each year. Last year was her first one, and she did very well. She learns so much better and so FAST from an instructor vs me and hubby trying to teach her (we have a pool), which is why I do it. The lessons are group lessons, one instructor, one helper, and six kids. She is four and she can now swim about 6 feet by herself, just about far enough that she could get to the side if she is in water over her head. We'll probably put her in lessons again next summer, possibly two sessions just to get her to the point where she IS swimming completely on her own. I don't think they really forget what they learned, so putting it off isn't a bad idea if he really is bored. Our lessons were every day for two weeks and doing it all summer would have cut too much into our time for other activities. How often are your lessons, are they every day? Just a few times a week? How often do they move 'up' a level? I'm trying to get an idea of how much time this is taking up for you in relation to the cost. My daughter is the only one of us who is having formal lessons. Our older kids learned how to swim on their own. My husband learned on his own too, they were all relatively young. I was almost 10 when I learned how after one incident when I was younger and almost drowned. Since we have a pool, it was really important that she learn how to swim asap for all of our peace of mind.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
His lessons are only four days a week for two weeks. The first set he did was only for 40 minutes then I let him play for about an hour after that. The second set of lessons are for the same time period but for 50 minutes with play after that. He is definitely losing interest and I think maybe taking a break from the lessons might be good. The lessons are ongoing throughout the fall so there is never a shortage of classes. It's just a matter of enrolling early as they fill up quickly, sometimes within a day. He knows how to tread water, and swim with several strokes (still having trouble coordinating his breathing with the strokes), can float, swim on his back but still needs a few more lessons before he is fully on his own. He is like a fish in the water though and swims with his dad in the deep end 12ft with flippers on.
12 Aug 08
Hello maddysmommy, Please keep him there till he go to the next level and he might love it, it changes with each level so tell to be happy and look forward to the higher, please don't give up. Tamara
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
12 Aug 08
I figured as much that it might just be different and the class might be smaller. I just don't want him giving up so easily, we shall see, thanks Tamara.