Swimming Lessons, Seven Weeks In07:00
I wrote a post back at the beginning of June about how I wanted to make more effort as a parent. I felt as though we were stuck in a rut, and I just wasn't taking Zach out enough, or giving him the experiences I wanted to. I had just bought him some new swimwear, and had taken him swimming for the first time in months. Since then we have been almost every week, and have now completed our first seven weeks of swimming lessons - something I have always wanted to do with him.
Our journey has been a rocky one. On the very first lesson I took a boy who absolutely loved being in the water and had buckets of confidence. But by the third, he was clinging to me, crying and pointing at the door, longing to go home. Going from the two of us doing our own thing to a structured lesson which included being dunked under the water wasn't something Zach was very happy about. I can't begin to explain how hard it was to see him so upset about being in the pool, and I knew we had to do something to tackle it.
I decided that we would skip the next lesson, and go swimming just us two like we used to. I hoped that I would be able to make it fun, but again, he just clung to me and cried, and I knew he wanted to leave. I felt absolutely distraught and so guilty that I had stripped him of his confidence. I honestly felt like giving up, but thankfully a lot of lovely mamas over on Instagram gave me some words of advice, and the confidence to continue.
So we headed to our next lesson, and before it began I spoke to the instructor. I told her that I wouldn't be putting Zach under the water if it upset him, and that I would get him used to it in our own time. I wanted him to focus on all of the other activities which in the previous lessons he had been too upset to try. I had decided that I would dunk him just the once, at the beginning of the lesson, as I didn't want to stop it completely.
I sat him on the wall, and along with the other parents sang humpty dumpty, splashing Zach under the water at the end of the song. When he came back up he wasn't crying, instead he had a huge grin on his face and he began to laugh and clap. I honestly felt as though he was a different child to the one I had taken swimming just the week before, I really couldn't believe it. So, we carried on with the lesson, and I dunked him under the water every time we were meant to and he was absolutely fine.
We've had two more lessons since, and he has come on in leaps and bounds. Not only is he now perfectly happy to go under the water, he is doing really well with his swimming and is now one of the best in the class. With the aid of a float he can now swim across the pool, kicking his little legs to move himself forward, and he absolutely loves it! I am so glad that we didn't give up, and I still can't believe how much has changed in just a few short weeks.
Looking back at those first few lessons now I can see that it wasn't just going under water that was the problem. At the time everything was a struggle and he was really starting to push the boundaries and throw the most ridiculous tantrums. I think that the lessons were just another thing to trigger a reaction from him, and the shock of being put under the water was just too much. It's funny how their behaviour can change so much from one week to the next, and I'm sure there will be weeks to come where he struggles in his swimming lessons.
Looking forward I plan to keep taking Zach to the pool. I want to continue his lessons, and also take him again during the week so that we can practice everything, as well as have a bit more fun in the water! I'd also love to get Jono to come with us, so hopefully we will find a time to go swimming together as a family as I'm sure he'd love to see how well Zach is doing! And I hope that he continues to love it as much as he does right now!
Do you take your little one to swimming lessons? Did they like them straight away?