Swim School - Crying

Swim School

PBC Swim School: Crying during Swim Lessons

What to do if your child cries?

During the first couple of lessons some children may be apprehensive about leaving the parent and going into the pool with the class. Some children cry and this is completely normal. After 25 years of teaching children how to swim and how to be safe in and around the water, there is good news: the crying will stop—usually around the third or fourth lesson. There are some things that will help:

Remain calm and be supportive: This part can be hard for parents. Read a book, distract yourself, take a walk. You may also observe from outside the pool area through another set of gates where your child can't see you. Though it can be trying, it's important to always remain calm and be supportive. Remind yourself that it will take a few days and they will become comfortable with the instructor. Continue to explain the importance of swimming. It's an important life skill! Once learned, it becomes quite fun for all.

Do not feel bad for the Instructor: Sometimes parents will say that they are okay with their child crying, but they feel bad for the instructor. Don’t worry about the instructor. All of our instructors are trained and are working to establish trust. Therefore, your child may come out of the pool with a dry head. That's ok. We need to establish trust first, then we will work on swimming.

Reinforce desired behaviors: Sometimes all it takes is some good ol’ reinforcement. Your child is a parent-pleaser at heart. Rewarding or encouraging enthusiasm for the pool may inch your child to water independence.

Stick with it: Trust the Process! Don’t pull your child out of the water mid-lesson or stop coming to lessons altogether if they cry. Removing your child confirms, and prolongs their fears. Remember that swim lessons are a life skill and just as important as wearing a seat belt. Remain firm. Be aware of your own fears, body language, and words. Your child may quickly manipulate the situation by reading your unintended cues.If you have hesitation, then your child will too.

We know it’s hard to watch your child cry during lessons. We want you to know that you are not alone. It happens often and is common for young swimmers to take some time to get acquainted with a new person, a new environment, and in a pool. With our trained instructors, and a little bit of perseverance on your end, we are confident that your child will get past their fears or anxiety, and will enjoy swim lessons. We love seeing fearful swimmers gain confidence in the water!

If you have any questions or would like additional tips, please ask. We are here to help.