Conversation with Maggie Mestrich from Carmel Swim Academy in Carmel, IN (northeast side of Indianapolis). Maggie is the Director of Business Development for CSA which is part of the larger Carmel Swim Club organization, which is one of the most successful swim programs in the state of Indiana. Check out the full video conversation on IGTV @LTSwims.
We've talked before about fearLESS children and their need for swim lessons because you know for certain, if you're near water, they'll head straight for it! However...the flip side of this is the fearFULL child. Which makes pool parties a little bit easier since you know they'll likely not get even close enough to the water to fall in. But these kiddos still need swim lessons...and que the tears.
Maggie has both of these types of children - where her oldest is fearless and made the transition into swim lessons fairly seamless and was excited to jump into the water. When it was time for her daughter to get started, she realized that her daughter was significantly more timid and would cry at the beginning of each lesson.
Here's her favorite tips for how to handle this situation:
1. Preparation: talk up what you know about the situation and the things you can control - Is it in an inside pool? Will the water be warm? What will our routine look like?
2. Expectations: Set expectations for each lesson. Small ways that you can continue to see progress and make sure you continue to make progress at each lesson. Find something that they did well and remind them of that every time.
3. Use what you can: You know your child best and understanding their fear is the biggest hurdle. Can you address it in a way that helps them to be more brave? Can you understand what they are afraid of doing and help them communicate that to the instructor (tubes in ears feel SO weird in the water)? Sometimes we all need a little nudge and a sweet treat or reward is in order for being brave and being kind to their teacher, even if they didn't want to!
I hope you find success in your path to getting your timid kiddos swimming and that this conversation will help encourage you to keep trying, keep working and get to the pool!