We’ve seen it all – a child is ready to get into the pool and BAM – the crying begins. They realize that this new experience is filled with unfamiliar sensations, sounds, and people, all without mom!?! Ah! For parents, this is just as terrifying. Should I pull them out? Should I sit on the side and try to make them laugh? What if they cry every swim lesson? The teacher must be so annoyed! I am so worried!
We have some words of encouragement for you, crying is totally normal! Separation anxiety and fear of the new feelings and loud sounds will wear off as soon as the child realizes that they are in a safe and fun place (cue the splashing smiles and laughter). Our instructors are highly-trained and are ready to become BFF’s with your little one. They bond with their teacher, play with some toys, and feel the water. This process usually takes about 4 lessons. During those lessons, you may see another teacher join the class, this is to ensure that your child receives all the bonding time they need with their instructor.
Some other things you may see:
Water toys – we use these to comfort children. We have all the characters your kids’ love, including Mickey Mouse and Paw Patrol!
Singing – we sing songs like Twinkle Twinkle and the ABC’s to calm them and give them something familiar to listen to.
Treasure Hunt – this is a game we play with kids that love a little challenge. We have them throw their favorite toy out into the pool, and then we “hunt” for it by kicking our legs and blowing bubbles to the toy. They love the reward for kicking!
Remember, every child has a different personality and develops at a different rate. We work with all of our little swimmers (crying or not crying) in a way that is productive, safe, and FUN! If your child is taking little longer to adjust to the pool, or if you’d like to accelerate their water comfort, here are some helpful tips for your family to try (sigh of relief):
Step away from the class and into the lobby. Let your child bond with their teacher. Trust us – it’s not annoying or a problem for our experienced instructors who understand why your child is crying. We have all sorts of tricks up our sleeves for turning that frown upside down!
Be positive! Your children feel what you feel. Being relaxed and calm will help your child realize that they should have nothing to worry about! If your child sees that you’re upset, they will be even more worried. Swim lessons are great and necessary! You should be excited for them!
Use Incentives. Reward your kids for acts of courage and happiness in the water. At KSA, we use bracelets, ribbons, and stickers (soooo many stickers). Many other parents use things like snacks from the vending machine, or extra playtime in our lobby (which has lots of toys).
Bathtime can be a great learning experience. In the tub, have your child practice blowing bubbles and holding their breath. You can also practice confidence on their back and be getting used to the water in their ears.
Every child is different, but with these tips, you will most likely see a huge difference in your child’s feelings about the water in no time! If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to King’s Swim Academy Staff to assist you in making your child’s new experience go swimmingly!