Archive for June 9, 2010

What do you do if your child cries during swim lessons?

Dad and baby girlIt’s hard to know what to do if  your child cries during swim class. You feel torn – part of you wants to go rescue your child, but the other part of you wants him or her to tough it out and conquer their fear. You may feel embarrassed to have a child who is unhappy, but please be assured that a crying child in swim lessons in not uncommon.

Crying is a natural expression of a child’s emotional discomfort due to a new class experience or separation from you. It’s important the swim coach works to establish trust with your child and find creative ways to ease him or her into this new experience!

As a parent faced with a crying child, you should:

  • Hand your child over to the teacher. If your child is fussy before the lesson, walk your child out near the pool and hand him or her over to the coach. Then calmly walk away with a confident expression. Try to avoid having a coach chase your child or physically pull them off  you – this can make your child want to argue more. By handing your child over to the coach, you are telling your child that you trust the coach, and they can too!
  • Hide in plain sight. If your crying child continually looks at you and calls to you, step away from the area or break eye contact. This can be very difficult! To make this easier, take a book with you and you can seem like you’re reading. By breaking eye contact, you will accelerate his or her dependency and bonding with the coach. Always keep a pleasant and reassuring look on your face.
  • Piggy-Back Rides. Sometimes the coach may place a crying child on his or her back while they teach the rest of the class. This can be an effective tool because your child will learn to depend on the coach and feel more at ease. This type of physical dependency is often more effective than verbal reasoning with an upset child.

If you’re wondering how long is too long for your child to be crying, you’re not alone! On average, most crying swim students will stop after the third lesson. At the very least, you should notice that the crying is diminishing with each lesson. If not, it is possible that your child may need private lessons. Some children are much more comfortable with the undivided attention of a caring swim teacher.

June 9, 2010 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

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