Building up swimming confidence takes time, although some children take to the water really quickly.
N was a bit of a slow burner – started off ambivalent, then liked it, then hated with a vengeance, then loved it. I’m hoping the love for it continues and we don’t have any more serious blips. I think a year’s blip is plenty enough.
But a lot of their confidence comes off the parent swimming with them. I love swimming (although don’t get the chance to go now I’ve got to take N), just the monotony of going up and down, challenging myself to improve and increase the lengths each time, all the while knowing that it’s good exercise (despite being seriously bad for my hair and my knee). But other friends who started with their children at a similar age, did so because they aren’t keen on the water and didn’t want their child growing up with similar fears.
Water Babies are good as they’re able to reassure parents on the best way to help their children learn to swim, as well as helping in a roundabout way for the parents to become less conscious of their fear in the water.
The consistency of teaching is one of the things I’ve liked with our lessons. Although we’ve changed days twice and therefore had 3 regular teachers in the 2 years, we’ve also had occasional changes of teacher due to illness, holidays etc. Not once in that time has N worried about having a different teacher; he’s known we just do the same exercises, or some new ones, with the same friends in the class. He’s even been happy enough swimming to a different teacher and then back to me. The parent’s obviously the one constant, but drilling the same activities and gradually progressing to harder tasks, means nothing’s really a surprise to them.
One aspect of parental confidence that the teachers have to get to, is ensuring the parents will let go of their child for certain activities. N’s not always keen to let go of me, so I find this is sometimes a problem.
The exercise that we struggle with is ‘turning’. Basically N has to learn to turn himself in the water, the idea being that if he falls in, he’ll be able to turn and get to the side. But it does mean I need to be able to let N go and he needs to let go of me. I always think I’m doing what I should be, but then if he has a go with the teacher, he’ll do it perfectly. Typical!
Seeing him able to do the activities properly with a teacher, gives me more confidence that he can actually do it, so I just have to be tougher sometimes.
Now I’m just hoping that he doesn’t get over confident and get scared off by having a longer dunking than wanted. Today was close as he rolled off the float mat in a different direction to where I was, but he wasn’t worried, I just grabbed his arm, and he was happy coming back to me without a care in the world…apart from wanting to get back on the float and jump again!
How confident are your little ones in the water, and does that relate to your feelings about swimming?
Disclosure: I blog for Water Babies, but all writing and opinions are my own.