Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to teach your child to swim

How to teach your child to swim when they don't want to learn?

I've mentioned before about the difficulties I've had persuading my 7 year old daughter that swimming is fun.

She has attended weekly swimming classes with her school for the past two terms and spent a number of grumpy hours in the local pool with me, dancing around the baby pool trying to avoid any splashes.
I've cajoled, bribed, threatened and bitten my tongue trying to get her to make progress. We've bought goggles, arm-bands, floats, strap-on-foam-contraptions and God knows what else to see if we can find something that works, but so far the progress has been a frustrating zero.

I blame myself of course. She had been doing ok with arm-bands up until that family holiday when I got tired of waiting for her to move out of her depth and actually kick her legs. So I pushed a little too much, she screamed, clung to me and then refused to go back in.

Stupid Mummy. That is NOT how to teach your child to swim.

Then, last week, I was bemoaning the state of affairs to my brother and he offered to take her along with his family.

'Worth a shot' I thought.

So off they went on Saturday afternoon. And back she came a few hours later, glowing and dancing from foot to foot. 'I can swim Mummy, I can swim!'

Naturally I didn't believe her, but I was just happy to see her excited about swimming instead of fearful. Going from 'I hate swimming' to 'I love swimming' in one session is pretty impressive.

So I promised to take her the next day so that she could show me her 'swimming'.

Off we went the next morning. In she got. Head down, legs up, swimming like she had been doing it all her life. ACTUALLY SWIMMING!

Once my jaw was reattached to it's rightful place I quizzed her on exactly how this had happened.

Turns out her 12 year old cousin spent an hour with her telling her to just do what she felt comfortable with and to keep trying new things.

No armbands! (Just a huge inflatable dragon...)

And there you have it, a lesson to all of us. Quit the pushing mothers!
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