Updated: Sep 24, 2019
Has your baby, who previously LOVED swimming, suddenly and for no apparent reason seem to hate it instead? We speak to lots of parents who are in this very situation. It is very much a developmental stage – your child is growing and developing at an amazing rate, they are learning about independence and control and how to assert their own opinions!
Don’t panic! This will pass and we can give you some strategies to minimise this stage and ensure being in the pool is an enjoyable experience for you both.
TRUST – Trust is a key element needed to ensure you little one enjoys being in the water with you. Trust needs to be built up over time. If your child is telling you they don’t want to do an activity, listen to this. Don’t force your child to anything they are unhappy with. Your instructor will guide you through this in class, looking for cues from your baby to let you know if they are happy, worried, over-stimulated and so on.
FUN – Teaching your little one to swim should be fun for both of you. It is not a race to see which child can swim a length of the pool first. Children learn at different rates and it is crucial to allow your child the freedom to develop in the pool at their own pace and not push them to quickly as this can have a real impact on confidence. Don’t compare your child to others in class. Praise and encouragement are central to your little one developing a love of swimming as they grow.
ROUNTINE – Children thrive with routine and structure and, as such, all our classes are built around this. Little ones will learn the order and sequence of activities. They will associate certain activities with particular songs. Even if you feel you are doing the same things each week remember that constant repetition is how babies and toddler learn. Even once they have learnt a skill, each time they repeat it, it reduced the mental energy required to complete the task.
Water wobbles are NOT a reason to stop swimming, in fact the opposite is true as if you stop during a wobble then both you and your child can hold on to the impression that they don’t like swimming and it may be many years before you can change this. All babies/toddlers who keep swimming come out of the other side happy and confident little swimmers.
If you are concerned about your child’s swimming at all please speak to your instructor in the first instance and we are always happy to give ideas and suggestions to help you through this phase.