What to expect in the beginning of a child’s swimming journey!
Not every child is going to start their swimming experience with ease. It is quite common for a child to become upset before their first lesson. Some children take to water like a duck and some take to water like a cat!
It is important to persevere with bringing your child to swimming, much like you would at preschool. Swimming is a necessary life skill and should not be abandoned because a child is upset. Our teachers are trained to handle such situations. We understand that this may be distressing for some parents and we have a few tactics that we use to help ease this situation.
Go for a swim
When possible bring your child to the pool and go for a swim with them. Seeing their parents enjoy the water will encourage your child to enjoy the water also.
Show your child a class
Making your child watch a swimming class and the activities the children in the class are doing, makes them aware of what will be expected of them.
Never talk negatively about the water. Using words around your child like “She is scared of the water!” only emphasises that fear. A lot of the time it is the parents fear projecting into the child. You should say a phrase like “Swimming is fun, Mummy loves swimming”.
Introduce and Encourage
When you start your first lesson, bring the child to the lesson and introduce them to their instructor. Encourage them to sit down and join in. This may take a few minutes for them to warm up to the idea.
Refusal to get in
If your child refuses to get in, we are more than happy for you to hand them over to our instructors – even if they are upset. Our instructors will calm down your child by distracting them with toys and fun activities. We ask that you try and not intervene with the instruction given to the child by the instructor, as they need to be able to create trust and a bond.
Continues to be upset
If your child continues to be upset during the lesson we may ask you to walk away and stand where you can still see them but they can no longer see you – Much like you would at pre-school, out of sight out of mind. This can work really well for most children.
Reward good behavior
If your child has been upset during the lesson and has managed to calm down for part of the lesson reward them, with hugs, but ensure you give them a goal for the next week. E.g “Mummy was really happy that you calmed down and listened to the teacher, if you do that the whole lesson next week you can have a treat”. When used right bribery is a great tool.
“Your level of success is determined by your level of discipline and perseverance”. It may take you several weeks for your child to become comfortable in a class, but once they do you will see them flourish. Don’t give up as this is a necessary skill for life.
We ask that you be the one to give them encouragement and reassurance to allow them to be positive and happy and enjoy their swimming activity. Exposure to water activities outside their lesson time will assist with them becoming independent and relaxed in the environment. The sound of laughter in the lessons is a sure way to get smiles galore.
Together, our commitment and your consistency, can build your child’s confidence and improve their swimming and water safety skills.