Does your baby or toddler suffer from swimming lesson jitters?

rsh_admin   >  5 February 2013

Does your child suffer from swimming jitters? Do they scream and cry, go pale, and beg to get out of the water? I am a mother of three lovely children. They all had swimming jitters, especially at their first baby swimming lessons or back to lessons after the holidays. In fact in my six years of taking my kids to swimming lessons I've noticed its a pretty normal thing. There is always one,two or ten children crying. I was mortified when my kids would scream and cry while all the other babies and toddlers just happily did the lessons with no fuss. I had a few thoughts running through my head at these times which seem to be common thoughts for most Mums and Dads when their child is displaying swimming jitters.

Let me offer these thoughts with some in hindsight comments. To help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Number 1. How Embarrassing!

We have all been in a situation with our children where they are the only ones crying, throwing a tantrum or screaming. It's a normal part of their growing up. By the time I got to my third child, i realized no one really cares, because they have ALL been there before. The best thing to do is stop worrying about what other people think and focus on helping your child through the situation. (I know this sounds easier said then done).

Number 2. I'm a bad parent to be forcing my child to swimming lessons. I should cancel lessons.

Unless your baby or toddler is being hurt, is in an unsafe situation or a doctor has advised otherwise, you really should try to stick with swimming lessons. You are not a bad parent for helping your child to learn an important life skill. You are not a bad parent for lessening the possibility of them drowning. Swimming lessons save lives. My mother gave up on swimming lessons for me and I never learnt to swim until I was an adult. As a child I was so embarrassed that I couldn't swim I skipped every single school swimming carnival in my school age years. I also never enjoyed myself at pool parties. I don't want my children to have to go through that as they get older.

Number 3. Maybe I should stop lessons and start when they get a bit older.

This seems like a good idea, however I tried it. It might work for some, but it didn't work for us. I stopped swimming lessons for my baby because of all the crying and carrying on. I tried swimming lessons again when my child was a toddler and the screaming was worse. But this time I stuck with it and after a few lessons my toddler was just as happy as the rest of them in the swimming lessons. It might take a few lessons or even a few terms to get your baby or toddler happy about swimming but it will happen.

It is worth it.

I am no expert with swimming lessons or child psychology, I'm just offering my experience in order to help other parents in the same situation. It was tough, embarrassing and difficult at times but it was worth it. Two of my three children can now swim from one side of the pool to the other. My youngest is getting there but is happy to keep learning. Knowing that they will be okay for a few mins if they fall into the pool until I can come get them, is worth all the screaming and issues we had in the start. I think Nemo's Dad put it beset "JUST KEEP SWIMMING".

Let us know how you go! Would love to hear your story.