This post is sponsored by Capri Sun.
Ever since I had babies I knew that putting my kids through swim lessons early on was something that I needed to do. My husband is an ex-lifeguard and swim coach – he loves the water and takes us to it every chance he gets. I, on the other hand, have never learned how to swim. So it’s something we both knew we wanted our kids to start early, and I have always heard that age 4 is the best time for kids to begin swim lessons. Last month we started our classes at a local swim facility down the road, and it has already been quite the journey. Just 4 weeks ago I was ready to call it quits.
I am watching my child behind a glass wall as she takes off running away, from her coaches, around a pool. Three coaches then take off running after her, probably making her even more upset. As a mother, it was so hard to watch. Additionally, my oldest daughter was terrified of going under water. After the first class I was just about ready to cancel our classes, but after talking to my husband I decided to keep on going, and I’m so glad that we did.
My husband is like a fish, he loves the water and used to be a trained lifeguard and swim coach. We attend classes while he’s at work, so he only hears about what happened after the fact, from me. After the first day of swim lessons, I told him things like – maybe we should quit and try again next year. I’ll always remember what he told me – something that changed my mind completely, and it’s what kept us going. He said, “What is really scary? Her going underwater with trained lifeguards, or falling into the pool later and not knowing how to swim?”
And now here we are, sitting at 5 weeks into the class and my oldest is actually excited to go to her next swimming class.
It seemed like an impossible feat at first. Getting my terrified of water daughter to actually enjoy her swim lessons but here I am sharing what worked for us and hoping that my tips help other parents who might be dealing with the same thing.
Here are a few things that you can do as a parent to help your little scared little one become a successful swimmer.
1. Rewards – I promised something special after each swim class. It was never anything big, but it was something my kids could look forward to after a successful swim class. Most of the time I filled my bag with sweet treats I knew they liked, like her favorite drink: Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters™. Roarin’ Waters™ come in 6 different flavors – Berry, Fruit Punch, Grape, Strawberry Kiwi, Wild Cherry and Tropical. Their favorite is Strawberry Kiwi. It’s a fun way to keep them hydrated* after a long successful swim class.
Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters™ is a flavored water beverage that contains no artificial sweeteners, no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives!
2. Be consistent –Go often and if you can, set up a swim class at least once a week. We have our swim classes every week, but the first two weeks we actually were able to increase our classes to twice a week with some makeup days we had. Rather than waiting to schedule a makeup day, I used our days to go 4 extra days the first few weeks. I felt like the increased consistency in the beginning helped a lot.
3. Practice at home – We practiced holding our breath at home. Whether it was in the bathtub or out of the water, we practiced holding our breath for 5 seconds and then we started increasing it from there.
4. Talk about it – Encouraging my daughter to talk about it, might have actually been the turning point. The first 2-3 weeks she ran around the pool and evaded coaches trying to get her to go under water. After the first few times, I asked my daughter to tell me what was so scary for her. I told her that, next time, rather than taking off running, I wanted her to talk to her coach and to tell her exactly what was so scary. I wanted her to trust her coaches, and I needed them to reassure her when it came time for her to go underwater. I saw her that day in class talking to her coach, and once it got to be her turn, rather than running, I saw her talking. I saw her coach reciprocate with reassurance, and my daughter stayed in the pool, with her coach, the entire time that day. It was the first day my daughter left swim practice telling me, “Mom, it was fun!”
5. Find a class that’s right for you – I am so happy with our swimming facility. The coaches are so patient and friendly. There are usually 3 children to 2 coaches which I think is amazing because it ensures that everyone gets the one on one time they need. Find something that works for you and your child, whether that be a group class or private lesson.
6. Don’t give up – If you had told me now that 5 weeks into this my daughter would be looking forward to her next swim class I would have laughed. The best thing my husband said was not to give up and I’m so glad that I listened. Know that the first few weeks might be difficult for both you and your child, but each time it got a little easier and you will be grateful that you never gave up.
Thank you to Capri Sun for sponsoring this post! I hope that my tips help another parent who might be struggling with what we went through a few weeks ago.
*consume a variety of beverages every day