Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crying in swim lessons

The photo below was taken a week ago after an episode of the Bachelorette!  I'm a little upset because I just learned that Ashley didn't choose Ben!  I mean seriously!  What's up with that?!  Anyway, I thought the photo would be appropriate for the subject of today’s blog...and if nothing else would serve to lighten the mood! 
It can be common and in some cases completely normal for children to cry during swim lessons.  There are several reasons for this...
  1. Fear of a new situation:  unfamiliar setting, unfamiliar faces, etc.
  2. Fear of separation:  wanting to stay with Mommy and Daddy
  3. Fear of the water because of a bad experience or near drowning
  4. Special circumstances, such as illness (ear aches, tummy aches, etc) or special needs (autism, Asperger’s, down syndrome, etc)
The Bachelorette:  gets me everytime!
Many parents I speak to are quick to pull the plug on swim lessons when they encounter any of the above situations.  But only two of those reasons justifies special you can probably guess, they are 3 and 4.  If your child falls into items 3 or 4, be sure to notify your Site Supervisor ASAP.  
Reasons 1 and 2 are normal and the solution sounds simple:  DON’T GIVE IN!  Acting out the solution at home however, can be super difficult!  I understand the scenario perfectly and I have sympathy!  Let me come home after a long day of work and quickly turn around to get your child ready for lessons.  While you try to get their swim suit on, they start to pitch a fit and tell you that they don’t want to go.  Maybe its the first lesson or maybe its the second.  Maybe they didn’t like backfloating at the last class, but thats not the point.  You hate seeing your child upset and you are tired and you don’t feel like dealing with it.  So maybe you don’t go to lessons that night, or worse yet, you decide to cancel.  Both outcomes are equally detrimental to your child’s development, not only as a swimmer, but as a human being!  By giving in and letting them out of something you know is good for them, you are actually teaching them several bad habits:
1.  Its okay to quit when things get hard
2.  If you don’t want to do something, all you need to do is pitch a fit and you won’t have to do it! 

Situation 1 can result in a child growing up unable to keep commitments.  Situation 2 normally only leads to worse fits.  If you let your children out something the first time, it will only be harder to get them back the second time!  I think we can all agree that the 2 scenarios above are not lessons that you want to convey to your children!  If that is not an easy pill to swallow, think of it this way...
Would you let your child quit school if they were scared on the first day?  Would you never teach your child to ride a bike because they were afraid of falling?  Most parents would answer “No” to all three questions.  Well none one of those things (school, riding a bike) could potentially save your children’s lives one day!  I could be wrong, but I've never heard of algebra related fatalities.  Learning to swim is THAT IMPORTANT.  I am not saying this to keep your children at OUR Swim School...I am saying this so that you keep them in swim lessons somewhere (anywhere really!) until they know how to swim without assistance.  

Swimming is not only a life saving skill.  It's also a just plain life skill that opens up a whole world of possibilities to you and your children!  Think back to all of the times you went to a beach, lake, swim party, or swam on a swim team.  Now think about what your life would have been like if you never got to experience those things because you didn’t know how to swim!  Maybe you don’t know how to swim and so you missed out on all of those opportunities.  Do you want your child to miss out on them too?  
If you couldn’t already tell I’m just a little bit passionate about swimming!

Look the whole point of this little blog entry is this...
We deeply care for every single child that comes through our program and we are willing to work with you, no matter what your situation or needs are!  If your child is having a rough time adjusting to swim lessons, it is completely normal!  I myself was a screamer back when I first took lessons!  But let us know before you decide to drop.  We have people available whose only jobs are to make sure you are happy with lessons:  your Site Supervisors:  Myself, Carrie, and Josh.  Don’t be shy, we’re here for you!  We know it can be tough to get your kids here some days, but just get them through the door...we will take care of the rest!  

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