Some children can feel nervous about starting their first swim lesson
Swimming lessons are fun and exciting, but your child might experience some anxiety leading up to their first class. In addition to jitters about new classmates and an unknown teacher, the pool itself can be intimidating.
Our instructors are trained to help kids get comfortable in the water. Most kids end up loving their swim lessons once they get acclimated. In the meantime, there are ways you can help your child feel comfortable leading up to their first big day of lessons at the pool.
Turn that anxiety into excitement with these 5 tips!
1. Set expectations
The most common reason for pre-lesson anxiety is the fear of the unknown. Often, the pool is an intense sensory experience for kids who aren’t familiar with swimming.
Take a moment to imagine what it sounds like when you first enter our indoor pool. The sound of laughter and splashing echoes off the water and sometimes makes for a louder environment.
If you’re comfortable in the pool, you may not even notice these things. But for a first-time swimmer – of any age – they can be overwhelming. Add in new classmates, an unknown teacher, and the expectation to learn and perform, and you can probably see why it’s a lot for a little one to take in all at once.
We recommend that you help your child prepare by setting their expectations. You can stop the worrying and fear by telling your child exactly what to expect in their lessons. Eliminate the unknown to clear their uncertainty.
2. Take a tour
Start by bringing your child to the facility before their lessons begin. Let them watch other kids in lessons and see how they are learning and enjoying the pool.
Your child may see the kindness of the instructors and the fun activities that the other kids are enjoying. They will also see and hear the pool environment so they will be accustomed to it before they are expected to get in the water.
This exposure may be just the ticket for giving your child a sense of confidence and get them excited for their first lesson.
3. Meet the instructor
While you’re visiting the pool, see if you can allow your child to watch their instructor giving lessons. Letting them observe from afar helps your child see exactly how their lesson will be taught. If you get the chance, introduce your child to the instructor. If your instructor is not available, you may check out their photo on the team member board at the location.
Instructors have lots of experience in helping kids get comfortable with swim lessons. When your child comes in on that first big day, their teacher will be a familiar face.
4. Project confidence
Kids are adept at picking up on their parent’s emotions. When parents are anxious, kids can pick up on the nonverbal cues and get upset in their turn. If their parents are excited and confident, their children will notice.
Many parents underestimate how challenging it is to observe swimming lessons. Because children can sometimes be fearful, the urge to rush in and comfort them can be very strong. It is important, however, for parents to trust the instruction process and allow their children to experience the lesson.
When you bring the child to the lesson, and when you dry them off afterward, project confidence. It is important for your child to see your happiness with the process, and it will go a long way to assure them that all is well.
5. Offer assurance
Even if you aren’t in the pool with them, knowing you are watching from the sidelines can make all the difference to your child. Often, they will feel much more confident and relaxed if they know you are nearby.
So, assure your child that you will be right around the corner. If they go into the lesson knowing that you are near, it can make all the difference.
Swimming lessons are an important life skill
At Ocaquatics, we offer year-round lessons to help people of all ages become safer in the water. Our programs for children focus on “SAFER 3.” We offer group swimming lessons for children as young as six months, all the way up to adulthood. It’s never too late to sign up! Contact us today if you are ready for your child to begin learning how to become safer around water.