So you’ve signed your child up for swim lessons. That’s great! Swim lessons teach children how to swim along with water safety skills that can reduce their risk of drowning. Of course, starting something new is often an uncomfortable experience, even if it’s something your child is excited about. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help them feel a little more comfortable and confident right from the start.
Help Them Acclimate to Water
Humans are pretty land-based. That means it will take a bit to acclimate to being in the water. Starting the acclimation process can help your child feel more comfortable on their first day of swim lessons–it will be one less new thing to feel nervous about. Use bath time to help them acclimate to moving around in the water. Encourage them to kick and splash a little (have towels nearby to soak up any water that splashes out of the tub). Use your hands to splash a little with them to make it more fun and engaging. This is also a great time to get them used to feeling water on their face. Sprinkle drops of water on their face. Encourage them to blow bubbles or dip their face in the water (but don’t force it).
Take Them to the Pool before Lessons Start
Help your child get familiar with a pool environment by taking them to the pool before their first day of lessons. This gives them exposure to a body of water that is a lot bigger than the bathtub. It also allows them to see other kids playing and having fun in the water. That makes the idea of swimming something fun rather than scary. Remember to share your excitement. Children often use their parents’ emotions and energy to decide how they feel about things.
Talk to Them about Swim Lessons
Don’t surprise your child with swim lessons. Talk to them about it first. Tell them about all the great things they can learn during their lessons and the benefits of learning to swim. Your child will probably have questions. Take time to answer them as well as you can. If you don’t know the answer, see if you can find it together. Consider letting them pick out their swimsuit for lessons to give them a bit of ownership over the experience.
It’s normal for your child to feel a little apprehensive about starting swimming lessons. Plenty of adults get nervous about trying something new too. By taking steps to prepare them for their first day of swim lessons, you can help reduce the jitters so they are more comfortable more quickly. By the end of it, odds are they’ll like swimming so much you’ll have a hard time getting them out of the pool when it’s time to go home.
Kids aren’t the only ones who should feel confident about day one–parents should too! Find SwimJim’s guidelines and policies here so you know what to expect when you put your child in swim lessons with us!