Starting swim lessons can be a scary and overwhelming experience for young children, especially if they have never been in a pool before. Children often cry or scream uncontrollably as soon as they hit the water, or as soon as they hear the pool, causing distress for both the parents and the swim instructor.
Although it may be tempting to get angry or frustrated with your child, it is important to remain calm and supportive in order to help them get through the lesson. To ensure it doesn’t turn into a negative experience, there are a variety of strategies that can help the situation. Here are a few tips on how to handle your child’s emotions if they cry during their first swim lesson.
Stay calm and reassure your child
It’s normal for children to feel scared when starting something new and many of their fears may be amplified at the pool. The worst thing you could do is to become angry or impatient. If you stay cool and responsive, you’ll serve as a model for them to emulate as they integrate into their swim class. Let your child know that you are there to support them and that it is okay to be scared or unsure.
Make them feel safe
Your child will be more likely to trust you with their comfort and security. As the parent, you should stay close by and provide positive verbal support while they settle into the pool. Reassuring your child that the pool is nice and fun can help them to relax.
Encourage your child to try
Encourage your child to give the swim lesson a try, even if they are feeling hesitant. Remind them of the benefits of learning to swim and how much fun it can be. It’s also important to remind them that they are brave and that they can do this. This can be a difficult step for parents as it requires that you let go and allow them to take risks.
Acknowledging the difficulty they are facing and helping them to break the task down into smaller, manageable chunks can be extremely helpful. In this case, encourage them to try activities like bubble blowers, float rings, and kick boards. At the same time, make sure they understand it’s ok to take a break from the class whenever necessary.
Take breaks as needed
If your child is having a particularly difficult time, it is okay to take a break from the lesson. So be prepared to take breaks during the lesson if your child needs a break from in-water activities. Let the instructor know that you will be stepping out for a few minutes and then return when your child is ready to try again.
Find out what makes them comfortable
Each child has different needs and preferences. Are they more likely to participate if you or another parent join the class? Do they prefer to be in the shallow or deep end? Taking the time to find out your child’s comfortable swimming environment can help ease their fear and improve the overall experience.
Use positive reinforcement
When your child tries something new or demonstrates improvement in the pool, be sure to praise and encourage them. This will help to build their confidence and make them more likely to want to continue with swim lessons.
Talk to the instructor
If your child is consistently upset or resistant to participating in swim lessons, it may be helpful to speak with the instructor about any concerns or fears your child may have. The Aqua Life instructors are experienced in working with children and will be able to offer suggestions or accommodations to make the lesson more enjoyable for your child.
Our swim instructors have lesson plans for each class, but they may need to adapt the activities to ensure your child is enjoying the experience. They can use a few floating toys or other props to make the pool experience more interesting.
Remember that it takes time. It’s important to be patient and understand that learning to swim takes time and practice. Encourage your child to keep trying and remind them of their progress. With patience, encouragement and understanding, you can help make the swim lesson a positive experience for your child and your child will likely become more comfortable and confident in the water.
At The Aqua Life we understand that starting something new can be intimidating, which is why we offer a supportive and welcoming environment for all of our students. Reach out to us to learn more about our swimming lessons and schedule your first class for your child!
Main Phone: 1-833-744-2782