Last week we gave you a checklist of things to bring to a swim lesson (Swimsuit? Check!). This week we thought we’d share a few more tips to help make your child’s swim lessons a happy success.
If your child is still taking naps try to schedule his lesson for an hour or so after he normally wakes up. Tired kids are cranky kids, and the ones that just woke up aren’t always too perky either.
Give your child a snack 30 minutes before her lesson. Make it something light that will deliver energy for swimming. Fruit is good, but avoid meat and dairy. Probably best to skip that Happy Meal with chocolate milk rather than chance it making a reappearance in the pool.
Arrive early to allow time for your child to become accustomed to the surroundings. It will decrease nervousness and spark curiosity about the pool and lesson. Hopefully he will have a chance to watch his instructor teaching another child.
Talk to the instructor about your child’s swimming experience, personality and your goal for lessons. Instructors will always try to adapt to your desires – whether you want a no-pressure, relaxed lesson or a more forceful approach. As lessons continue let the instructor know about anything unusual going on in your child’s life. If you’ve got family from Italy visiting for a month, the instructor will understand that she is more distracted and tired and adjust the lesson.
Put on a happy face. It’s important to show your child a positive attitude toward swim lessons, especially if he is anxious or scared. Listen carefully to his fears and promise him that you will both speak to the instructor about them. Use confident, fun language and avoid saying things like, “You won’t have to go under water today.” Your instructor will, of course, do what you ask, but you’ve reinforced the idea that going under water is a bad thing that your child must be protected from. Instead, reassure him that his instructor will always help him and he will get better with practice. Then talk to the instructor about your child’s specific fears. Usually there is a gentle way to take a step in the right direction that everyone can happily live with. Whatever you do, DON’T pull your child out of the lesson early because he is crying. It will make it much harder to get lessons on track; he will continue crying because it gets him out of the pool instead of accepting that he must stay in for the whole lesson. Remember, your child will pick up on your attitude, so make sure you project the right one!
Finally, give your child another snack after the lesson. Moving around in the water burns a lot of energy – she will be hungry, and probably tired, too. If she still takes naps, schedule one for after the lesson as well. Many of our Baby Swim parents say they love the nice, long naps their babies take after class.
As always, our office staff and instructors are here to help you in any way we can. Be sure to ask one of us about any specific concerns.