Swimming is a lifesaving skill that all children should learn. But not all children enjoy learning to swim. Some children take to the water like little fish, while others are tentative or even refuse to go into the water.
So what do you do if your child is unhappy during swimming lessons? First, we advice to never enforce a child to participate in swimming or in any other activity against their will. There are other positive ways to help your child consider swimming a fun activity that he/she wants to learn.
Here are 5 reasons why kids may not want to learn to swim and how to help them overcome their apprehension
1. Start by looking into what might be making your child unhappy. Sometimes it can be something as simple as the water being too cold, the child being tired, hungry or not feeling well. Try to find out if any of these factors may cause your kid’s reluctance to swimming lessons. You can keep your child warm during swim lessons by having him/her wear a wet suit. You can ensure they are not hungry by giving them nutritious food at least an hour before swimming. Also schedule lessons at a time when your child is the least tired and has the most energy.
2. Your child may not be having fun during swim lessons. In order for children to want to learn to swim, swim lessons have to be fun. The instructor should be patient, creative, energetic and create a positive experience based on trust, in order for kids to enjoy their swim lessons.
3. Your child may be experiencing separation anxiety. Sometimes children cry if the parent is not present in the pool area or doesn’t get into the water during lessons. If the instructor can not help the child calm down after a few minutes, then separation anxiety is what might make your child unhappy. Do not let the situation escalate until your child refuses to go to swim lessons. Instead discuss with the instructor what the best course of action is.
4. Your child may be afraid to perform certain skills (e.g. go under the water, swim completely on their own without adult support or floatation device). If your child expresses reluctance to going swimming, start a conversation, ask them why they feel that way. You can ask your child what are the things they they like and the things they dislike about swimming. This way you can engage them into a conversation and find out if fear is the factor. If this is the case, the instructor can try a different approach for teaching the skill your child is afraid of, or they can take a little break from practicing that skill and return to it in a couple of weeks.
5. Your child may not be at the same level with the other kids in the class. If your child is taking group swim lessons, then he/she should be the same age and at the same level of swimming with the other kids. If the other kids are more comfortable in the water, then your child may feel pushed to learn, as if he/she needs to keep up and eventually discouraged rather than inspired by his/her peers.
Learning to swim is a process that takes time. It is important that children enjoy this process and consider swimming a fun activity to look forward to. If any reluctance comes up during the process of learning to swim, it is better to address it right away and not allow it to get in the way of your child learning to swim.
If you have any questions about specific difficulties that your child encountered during swim lessons, send us an email at: email@example.com
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