Separation Anxiety: What to do Erin Boyd-Soisson, Ph.D., associate professor of human development at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania says separation anxiety is “typically most prevalent between 8 and 18 months or so.” Indications of separation anxiety are usually present while a caregiver is departing or has left. Children may cling, throw a tantrum, or […]
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR unsafe CHILD DOES NOT WANT TO SWIM?
1 Take Control.
You’re the parent. Your child should be obedient to you, not the other way around.
You do not allow him/her to play in the traffic, why allow them to choose about swimming, which they do not have the faintest clue on how dangerous it is if they do not master it? A child does not at all know what it means to drown, or to be brain damaged due to a near fatal drowning. Don’t think that it will not happen to you – your child could sadly be the next statistic.
2 Be firm.
You know why it is important for your child to be safe around water.
Treat swimming as a given, never an option, especially not to the child. It should never be debated or even discussed with the child other than: “because Mommy/Daddy loves you, you need to learn to swim” — and that is all. Keep the wording simple and exactly the same every time. Children soon get bored from hearing the same answer, but any hesitation, e.g. “hmmm…maybe not today….do you want to swim?” etc. from your side, will create endless problems of the child trying any which way to get away from the lesson.
This has nothing to do with the water and our lessons will never create fear of water, exactly the opposite.
It is all about the child wanting to be in control, getting mommy and daddy to do what he/she wants. Once a child has experienced that he/she cannot control water, the child’s primitive survival instinct will tell it to rather stay away from water. The sooner the child comes to realize that he/she will have the lessons, no matter what, the sooner they will settle down and progress can happen.
3 All Adults to work together.
Parents, grandparents, teachers and all other care givers should be instructed by the parents to all act exactly as above. Do not offer the child any options e.g. “Do you want to swim today?” Also do not give the teacher or anyone else the freedom to decide whether the child should swim or not. Always treat it as a given and keep the response exactly the same: “Because Mommy & Daddy love you, you need to learn to swim”.
Do not get into any discussions about it at all.
4 Leave the swim kit at the Swim Studio.
This will avoid the issue and help to eliminate the child’s antics at home when you have to pack the swim kit for the day. At home, it usually is the will of the child against that of the parent, while once at school, he/she will go along much more easily with what the group does.
We will take care of the swim kit for as long as it takes, usually just a week or two.
We have even had a mom pack an extra set of clothes to wear after swimming, because the child refused to change into his costume. After two lessons with his clothes on, thus realizing that it doesn’t matter what he does — HE IS STILL GOING TO SWIM! — he completely settled down and became one of our most enthusiastic swimmers.
Another child even started wetting his bed. Luckily the parents followed the above guidelines and did not give in to his manipulation tactics; therefore it stopped quickly when he realized it had no effect, that he still had to go for swimming. He also became a dedicated swimmer.
The antics seldom lasts more than a lesson or two, if EVERYONE COOPERATES to follow the above guidelines.
What is worst, for your child to cry a little now because he/she does not understand why he/she cannot have his/her way, or for you to cry a lifetime when he/she drowns?
You can rest assured that we will always handle your child with the greatest care and love, while teaching him/her to reach safety in and around water as soon as possible.
Swimming as a life skill is the greatest gift you can give your child after having given him/her life in the first place. Although a few children may not like it at first (usually because their immature survival instinct tells them to rather stay away from water), once they have mastered it, they will all experience a life time of joy in the water and you, as the parent, can have peace, knowing that you have fulfilled your duty, by not only getting your child safe, but also by empowering him with the skill of proper swimming and all water related activities for life.