Swimming is like learning a language. The younger you learn, the easier it is and the more likely you are to master it. The longer that parents wait to start swim lessons, the more fear can set in. When beginning lessons, crying is completely natural part of the process! Some of our best swimmers cried for 2-3 weeks when they were young and are now swimming triathlons!
Young children take a while to adjust to new experiences and become more independent and crying is a natural response to this newfound independence. Similar to sleep training, sometimes a child must “cry it out” until they realize that they are able to be successful on their own! This is not to say that hearing your child cry is easy by any means, but remember that you are letting them cry so that they can learn the essential and lifelong skills of water safety.
Even when a child is crying, they are still learning! They are still experiencing valuable skills, such as blowing bubbles, kicking, grabbing the wall, and getting more comfortable in the water. Although it may seem like baby steps, it’s better than waiting, which can cause even more fear to set in. Typically, by the 4th or 5th day, a child will stop crying and is more comfortable and ready to take huge steps.
If your child is crying, we recommend that you move somewhere out of sight, especially if it seems like you are a distraction to the child or if they are calling out for you. This can be very hard, but remember that you are investing in your child’s water safety- an incredibly valuable, lifelong skill!