We know it can be difficult when your child cries during swim lessons. We want you to know that you are not alone! It can often take young swimmers time to get used to being in the water with a new person.
We want to help and support you through this process. If your child cries during lessons, rest assured that they are in good hands. Our instructors will work hard to establish a connection with your child and are trained to begin a positive routine that works well with kids of all ages.
Here are some tips that can help you through the process.
Start at Home
Start by talking about swim lessons with your child at home. Acknowledge your child’s fear and use phrases such as “When you are in the water, I will be cheering you on.” and “Your teacher is there to keep you safe.”
Empathize but Don’t Negotiate
Reassure your child that you understand they are upset and that you will watch them from outside the gate. Do not negotiate or apologize for being at lessons. Think of swim lessons as necessary for their safety, such as wearing a seat belt. Remember, they are learning a lifesaving skill!
Hand Your Child to the Instructor
Walk your child to their swim instructor and give your child’s hand to their instructor (or hand them to the instructor if you are holding them.) By physically handing your child to their instructor, you are showing your child that you trust their instructor.
Find a Distraction
If you are having a hard time hearing your child cry, it can be helpful to bring a book or magazine to distract yourself. Sometimes crying swimmers want mom or dad to look at them for attention. It can be helpful to avoid eye contact in those situations. If you can remain calm, then your swimmer will sense that and eventually be less stressed.
Get Your Child Excited to See their Instructor
Before lessons, have your child pick out a toy to bring and show their instructor. This can get them excited to see their instructor and help them bond before entering the water.
Be ready to listen and encourage
Once your child is finished with their lesson, encourage them! It’s okay to talk about how they were scared or upset at first. Then, mention something about the lesson that went really well.
Know the Lesson Made a Difference
Even if your child cried during their entire lesson, they still learned something. During swim lessons, muscles are being built, coordination and breath control is increasing, and patterns in the brain are developing. Be encouraged that a lesson filled with crying was still beneficial.
Hang in There
Don’t get discouraged or put off taking lessons. We are confident that your child will eventually get past their fears or anxiety, and will enjoy swim lessons. We love seeing fearful swimmers gain confidence in the water!
Together we can make swimming a fun and successful experience! We are committed to working with your swimmer to help them push past any challenges they may have in order for them to learn swimming skills and water safety.
Please come talk to us in the office if you have concerns about your swimmer’s adjustment to lessons.