Another Go At Swim Class
I recently put my 4-year-old son, Kian in swimming classes. We had attempted once before but he just wouldn’t have it at 7 months! So, I pulled him out of the classes. I guess I just wasn’t feeling it either. This time around wasn’t the best experience at the beginning either but I’m glad I, We, HE stuck with it!
What’s Wrong? Why Doesn’t He Like It?
There were kids his own age, a beautiful pool, a caring and patient swimming teacher, and gorgeous pool weather. So what was the problem? Why did my son cry non-stop for the first three days of class?
Seeing my son crying in the pool, yelling out for me to go and get him out, was heartbreaking, borderline unbearable. Did I think of taking him out of the pool the first day and taking him home where he felt safe and happy? YES! I Most definitely thought about it as I watched him from the bleachers.
Sweetie, I Meant Well
I didn’t want him to be unhappy, I meant this to be a positive experience, one he could benefit from on our vacations. But it wasn’t turning out that way. He wasn’t happy and I wasn’t happy about that. I honestly don’t know who hurt more those three days, him or me?
I went up to the lifeguard on the first day and asked her if she thought it was best for me to stay close to the pool, so Kian could feel more comfortable. Sweetly, she replied “You can, it’s totally up to you but I would suggest you don’t. Sometimes that makes it worse for the child. I’ve seen this many times.” With that, I smiled and made my way back to my seat in the bleachers, with my broken heart weighting tons.
Was I Doing The Right Thing For My Son?
I sat there thinking, “Do I get him out?” “Is this going to be traumatic for him?” “Am I doing the right thing?” “I wonder what all the other parents are thinking.” My thoughts were flowing in different directions but my emotions were parked on sadness.
I’m Glad I Didn’t Take Your Advice
A mother came to sit next to me and offered her advice, “You should take him out of the pool. You could traumatize him and then he’s not going to want to get back into the pool.” I felt a bit embarrassed to hear her thoughts because I knew that like her, many of the other parents sitting there must have felt the same. BUT… I didn’t take him out.
I thought of the following, my son loves to play with water, he submerges his head in the bath and at kiddy pools, he’s gone into pools with my husband and daughter and he does great. He is intelligent and he understands things. He likes to be independent and takes pride when he accomplishes something. I know this because I’ll ask “You did that all on your own, how do you feel?” his reply, while carrying the biggest smile ever “Good.” So, for these reasons and others I knew my son was ready for this.
I Made My Decision But It Wasn’t An Easy One
After that mom left my side, I knew I had made my choice to leave him in the pool. And my thoughts changed a bit too, “He can do it”, “He needs to push through this”, “I believe in him”, “He’ll warm up and like it soon.” That was the first day.
On the second day, he didn’t want to go back but he said he was willing to try. So I told him I was proud of him and that I knew he could do it. Once we were at the pool, I had to give him a pep-talk so he’d jump in. He finally got it but cried the entire class, again.
Some Uplifting Words From A Nice Mom
This time there was another mom who sat next to me and shared her story with me. She explained that her son had done the exact same thing as Kian when he first began swimming lessons. Her son cried for two days straight but then he stopped, he warmed up to the idea and has loved it ever since. He has no recollection of having cried those two days.
Thank you, nice Mom. Your words helped me so much at a time when the choice I had made was weighting heavy on me. On the third day….He cried the entire class, again!:(
The Crying Needs To Stop Little Man
What’s going on? I thought. That evening, I had a talk with him. I asked him if he trusted me? He said yes. I told him that I would never ask him to do or try anything I didn’t think he was ready for. That I believed he could take this swimming class and try his best without crying. “You know the drill now, there are no surprises. We get to the pool, you take off you t-shirt and shoes, and your swim teacher receives you with open arms into the pool. There’s nothing else to it but to listen to your teacher and do your best to do whatever he asks you to.” Kian listened and he said he would try not to cry anymore.
He Actually Stopped Crying!
The next day when we got to the pool, he said, “mom, I don’t want to go in the pool but I’m going to try my best.” And guess what? There was no crying that day. The class was two weeks long and Kian stopped crying on the fourth day. I felt like a normal parent sitting in the bleachers. I was beyond thrilled and so proud of that little 4-year-old.
I took him for ice cream after every class. And in the afternoon of that third day, my husband and I told Kian if he finished what he had started and gave it his best, we would take him to Target on the last day of class, to buy him a toy he had been asking for. This pumped him up and the little guy finished his swim classes without crying. He doesn’t love it yet, I think that will come as he begins to get more comfortable in the water. But he really gave it his all, he learned that things get better, and he feels super proud of himself. And that is a great feeling for anyone!
I learned that sometimes it’s necessary for our children to feel a little uncomfortable in situations so they learn to grow and adapt. I’m so happy that I left him in the pool on that first, second, and third day. Since then, we’ve been taking him to pools and plan to help him grow his confidence in the water and his love for swimming.
Mom Knows Best
Moms, for all of you struggling within yourself when it comes to making choices for your children. Listen to yourself, pay attention to what feeling you’re getting inside of you, and remember that you know your child the best. Others can offer advice but you have the final say. And I know advice isn’t always well received but in my case, hearing that first mom out, made me realize what she was advising me to do, was exactly what I did not want to do. So paying attention to how others words make you feel can actually help to lead you to the right choice as well. The bottom line is, they are your children. Your love and your desire to provide the best for them will guide you in making the right choices for them.
Thank you for Reading!
(Listening to: Amber- 311)