Why Your Child Is Crying During Swim Lessons
Every parent hates when their child is crying. It is natural and inevitable that your child will cry from time to time. Crying is healthy. During swim lessons, especially in the beginning, children are more prone to cry. This is not unusual at all. There are multiple reasons as to why your child is crying during swim lessons. A few situations where a child might cry are:
- They have a fear of water and being in the water
- They could have “stranger danger” and fear the swim instructor
- The child could be seeking the attention of the parent (for various reasons)
- Small children, especially infant babies have separation anxiety issues while away from their parent
- The child could be trying to “take control” of the situation
- The child could feel “challenged” to step out of their comfort zone
- Children are weary in new environments, a pool is a new setting for infants and offers new stimulation to the child through water that they are unfamiliar with.
We, at InstaSwim, have gathered together tips on what you as a parent should do if your child cries during a swim lesson.
1. Be patient.
This is one of the most important things you can do as the adult. Water is a scary place for infants, toddlers and even older children. It takes time for them to become comfortable in the water. Fear of water is totally normal. While staying calm and remaining patient, you and the swim instructor can work together to figure out what triggered the problem.
Your child needs to know that it is okay to be scared. There is no rush or finish line. This approach will work and assure your child that when they are ready they can start again.
2. Make your child comfortable
As the parent, you should do everything you can before the swim lessons to make your child feel relaxed and ready for what is ahead of them.
An example of how you can do this is to bring up the lesson, what will happen during the lesson and the swim instructor who will be teaching your child.
It is important for your child to build a bond with the instructor, thus, talking about the instructor and displaying excitement will make your child feel more comfortable with the instructor during the lesson.
3. Maintain a healthy distance
During your child’s swim lesson, it is important to be of range to where they can see you, but far enough away to where their full attention is with the swim instructor. Swim instructors are trained to use patience and compassion when dealing with children of all ages.
This, combined with the distance of the parent, will instill to your child that YOU as the parent, trust the instructor, which will make them less nervous being around a new person.
4. Offer support
Even though you are maintaining a healthy distance during the swim lesson, it is important to show support to your child when they perform well or even if there is a move they can’t seem to lock down.
A few gestures you can do to show your child you are encouraging them are thumbs up, waves, smiles and clapping!
5. Practice outside of the pool
Incorporating swim skills while your baby, toddler or small child is taking a bath is a great tool to ease them into swimming and prepare them for larger bodies of water.
Swim techniques you can practice in the bathtub are floating, blowing bubbles or putting their face in the water for a few seconds.
This may seem strange but familiarity and consistency go a long way, not just with swimming but with any physical activity.
6. Let your child have a say
Making your child feel included in the process is another great way to have them excited before the lesson. An example of how you can do this is to let them choose their swim gear. Children are natural creatives and allowing them to pick out their swim attire will have them thrilled to not only put on the outfit, but also will take away some of their nerves beforehand.
- Let the instructor work. Our instructors are trained and have years of experience teaching children to swim. Even if it may seem difficult to place trust or see your child crying, it is important not to directly involve yourself as the parent.It is a natural instinct for parents to rush to their child and provide sympathy. In most situations if you rush to comfort your child, the child will either escalate in their crying or refuse to continue with the lesson.
- Be persistent. If the crying continues for more than one lesson, do not give up! Your child needs to feel secure and become comfortable with a routine. Delaying or avoiding swim lessons because of your child crying can make the problem much bigger than it is.
As mentioned above, these are just a few ways that you can help if your child is crying during a swim lesson. It can be extremely stressful for a first-time parent when your child starts out in swim lessons. Infants and small children communicate their needs and problems through crying.
Recognizing that this will almost always occur is the first step you can take as the parent. Communication is the main key to putting both the child and the parent at ease in the water.
At InstaSwim, our instructors will always share vital information with the parent while maintaining the perfect learning environment for your child.