Some reasons children cry in the pool:
- They're new so they don't know what their teacher will expect of them and they're afraid we will push them beyond their comfort / abilities (this is often alleviated after several lessons and they know the program and the teacher's methods).
- They don't feel comfortable with the dynamic of the water - water is weird if you're not used to it. The sensory sensation is that buoyancy pushes back at you, especially when you put your face in. The water's ripple makes everything below the surface appear to be moving including the teacher's legs and the platforms. This is one of the reasons it's great to start swimming lessons early so the dynamic of water is never a puzzle.
- They wish their parent was in the pool with them. Separation anxiety when a child gets into the water without their parent is often a case for initial crying in lessons. This will usually begin to subside after a few lessons and they get to know their teacher and befriend them. If this type of anxiety continues a couple of private lessons with your child's teacher is often a good idea for them to become better friends and build some trust. This trust and friendship can often overcome separation anxiety during their group classes.
For whatever reason your child is crying in the water remember this.
It is not new for your child's teacher. Someone's crying in my pool? Must be a work day then. We are well experienced to support your child and help them become comfortable in the water.
Persistence pays off with swimming lessons. The amount of children we have swimming well and enjoying lessons that were crying to begin with we probably couldn't count. Talk positively about swimming lessons at home. Talk about the teacher like they're a friend 'Let's go and visit Tanya at the pool today'. Talk about the other children in the class - they're your child's swimming friends and a really important reason to enjoy lessons.
One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching swimming is when a child who has been crying stops and begins to be brave and then begins to enjoy their lessons. This sometimes takes a few lessons and sometimes takes longer but when that happens it feels like one of the best jobs in the world to me.