“What if my child cries or performs?”
Our teachers are very experienced in dealing with nervous children and they will know how to deal with the children. Don’t get involved in the lesson (unless the teacher asks for your help); you are taking the child’s attention away from the teacher. Let your child develop a bond and learn to trust their teacher. The teacher will work to gain the trust of the child and use a variety of techniques to engage your child and help them to conquer the fears.
“How long is too long for your child to cry in swim lessons?”
On average, most crying swim students have stopped after the third lesson. At the very least you should notice that the crying is diminishing. Don’t forget children are actually learning even if they are crying.
Muscles are being built, coordination is increased, correct patterns are developing in the brain, and breathing control is increased. Even if they cried the entire lesson, “What a good job”, “I saw how well you did” and other comments that praise your child will help your child become comfortable with the lessons.
“Should a scared child continue swimming lessons?”
Many parents are quick to take the easy way out when the child doesn’t like something right away, like swim lessons. They think “I’m not going force my children to take swimming lessons.” This is often justifying or rationalizing that they are doing the right thing when they decide not to be firm on swim lessons (or something else).
You must first understand there is not one universal correct answer to this question. We are going to address some critical considerations that we hope will help parents make the right swimming lessons decision for their children.
If you think parenting is easy, you are doing something wrong! There is nothing more rewarding than being a parent, but parenting is tough. If it was a walk in the park and all parents did it perfectly, most children would grow up to be picture perfect human beings. That’s not the case, and no parent is perfect. It’s so important that we work on being good parents to our children, which means making hard decisions for our children.
Drowning is second only to automobile accidents in the accidental death among children ages 1-14, and the leading cause of death in many provinces in South Africa. When you think about how often children are in the car vs. around the pool, drowning may be a bigger problem than we think.
First and foremost, swimming lessons save lives. Because of this reason, you need to find a swimming school that will allow your child to enjoy the process. However, like many other things that we as parents do for the health and well-being of our children, sometimes you have to make sure your child knows that not learning to swim is not an option, and that you, the parent, are firm on your decision.
Parents, keep your children safe at all costs and don’t complain about your strong-willed child, be a strong-willed parent. Your child will thank you when he or she is old enough to understand.
“What if my child becomes frustrated in the water?”
Everybody needs a little dose of encouragement from time-to-time. There will be moments when your child feels frustrated with their swimming progress. They may say that they are bored or that they are doing the same things again and again. This happens more in advanced classes as children are learning more of the finer points of swim technique. As the child progresses in his/her lessons, the pace of the classes starts to slow a little as skills are refined.
Definitely, let your swimming teacher know if your child is bored or frustrated as there are things we can do in the lessons to better encourage your children. Also, your swimming teacher can explain what skills are being worked on and what skills are still needed to pass to the next level.
It is not unusual for children to become bored or frustrated and it’s important at these times to offer your child understanding and encouragement. Point out to them that learning to swim is like learning to ride a bike. Remind your child how it what it was like when they learned to ride their bike, and how hard that may have been. Remind them that after lots of practice they did learn to ride and it’s now lots of fun to ride their bike. Just like riding a bike, with lots of practice and time in the water, they will soon be swimming and having lots of fun in the pool.
Success breeds success and praising your child’s efforts will help build self-confidence and the desire to learn. Celebrate the small victories.
“What if my child doesn’t like water on his/her face?”
Keep in mind that our instructors have a lot of experience with children (and adults) who do not like water on their faces. Ultimately, this is the greatest factor with learning how to swim. The more frequent exposure the better; followed by positive reinforcement and a lot of praise. We also request the help of parents in encouraging children to get their faces wet and blow bubbles during bath time. Handing a child a dry towel or reaching to wipe their wet face will only prolong and enforce their phobia. If you act like a wet face is no big deal, they will come to learn that a wet face is no big deal.