“I wanna go swimming” said your 5-year old and yeah that sounds like so much fun. It’s hot and a dive in a cold pool would be a great way to cool off after a long day. Unfortunately, going swimming is not an option for your 5-year old because, firstly he doesn’t know how to swim and secondly he’s having a lot of tantrums from his high anxiety. Toddlers learning to swim also go through these stages of development and learning what works best for them. I have found that private swimming lessons work great and here are the WHY’s.
Why group lessons won’t work
Group lessons are great for social skills and boosting confidence when other kids are doing the same thing as you but, they are not for every child. Here are some reasons why group lessons become too much for some children especially for those who prefer to be alone and have trouble processing.
- Too much going on – Sometimes children find it difficult to focus when there are a lot of interactions and things happening in all directions. It is highly distracting and confusing for them so whilst trying to process the noises and what is going on and staying focused on the task at hand they become frustrated. This leads them to throwing temper fits because they do not know how else to deal with it.
- Not enough attention – When your child is in a group and trying to learn how to swim, the instructions from the teacher to the student gets lost somewhere in between or they are unable to see clearly how to do a certain thing. This, in turn, means the teacher does not have clear visibility or constant sight of all children at the same time. It’s impossible. Then what happens? Your child starts to have a bad experience, dislikes it and loses interest in learning how to swim altogether.
Some children go above and beyond in group swimming and that is awesome but, the children who find it difficult to deal with normal life situations for their particular age will associate any experience they have with a certain thing, swimming in this case, every time the topic is brought up.
Why private lessons bring progress
At the end of their group lessons last year, they were still extremely afraid of getting in the water and getting their hair and ears wet. They had no traumatizing experiences whatsoever to blame anything on. They were just not comfortable getting in the water and learning how to swim in a group. This led to many screaming tantrums and running away.
After switching the boys from group lessons to private lessons we have seen a huge improvement in their swimming.
Here’s what we have noticed since they started one-to-one swimming lessons:
- Building a relationship = being comfortable – With private or one-to-one lessons, the boys have one instructor each and the same instructor every time. It took about two times for them to warm up to their instructors and they started getting to know each other. In no time, the boys built a relationship with their instructors and trust them every time they need to get into the water.
- One-to-one attention – Each boy has the full attention of their instructors and vice-versa. They do not have to struggle to hear their instructors nor struggle to try to see over other children as the instructor is right there next to them. This definitely minimized the tantrums and left the boys feeling more in tuned instead of helpless.
- Better control – In the event of one of the boys not being able to do something it inevitably led to a tantrum but, because of the one-to-one attention the instructor is able to calm the boys down easily using the different things they know the boys like, instead of them running all over the place and dangering themselves. The instructors go out of their way to shy away from tantrums and ease your child back into it which helps a lot instead of giving up and losing a session where your child could have learned something.
- Progress reports – This is a benefit to the parents. The instructors gave us a brief rundown after each session of how it went, where the boys have improved and what needs to be worked on.
In case you are wondering, the boys are 3, 5 and 6-years old. Since we have switched them to private swimming lessons they get in the water quicker than you can get your slippers off, they have learned how to hold their breath, they can float and are working on their strokes to actually swim. If you ask me, I would say that is a lot of progress compared to not even being able to get them in the water.
Children who cannot cope in group swimming can still become excellent swimmers.