Photo: Gail Rickett, ‘The Water Whisperer’ & Jodie Higham.
Do you have a child that has NEVER been in a swimming pool before? Here is Adam Swifts story of how he coped with his first time EVER in a swimming pool!
Adam Swift had never been in a swimming pool before his first lesson with me. His mum has other children; this is very common that parents have their hands full, literally, to take more than one child to a swimming pool. Lots of pools have rules where it can be one non swimmer to one adult so if you have two or three children you need to find two other helpers to go to the pool with you which of course can be difficult.
Adams mum was extremely worried about him going into a pool for the first time and so Mrs. Swift contacted me to help. As all mums do in this situation, she felt bad and was beating herself up a bit as she’d had difficulties getting him to a swimming pool. I did my best to reassure her it’s never to late and he will be fine, and how it’s a common problem. She thought Adam would be very scared, upset and nervous most likely crying and experience the general tears and fear children with a fear of water have. I told her some simple skills to start to practice at home with him to prepare him for his first time in the pool and it would be best, as she has now got hold of me to not try to take him to the pool herself, as Adams lesson was only a few days away, but wait for me to help him with that.
Adam is 5 yrs old and a very slight little boy. Sometimes just getting a child to put goggles on and wear armbands can be traumatic for them, however, Adam was an amazing little boy and he tried everything and thankfully in his stride without any tears. I could see he was a little apprehensive about it all. However as you can see by the video he was jaw-droppingly fantastic and I could not believe just how much he achieved in his first lesson.
I often get told that I have a very special way with children and I certainly have watched their body language over the years and learnt to speak their language. I win children over with all sorts of things that generally I can see applies to them. I always have a talk with the little one before we start classes and my negotiations begin then, I install then with the confidence they need to help make it an enjoyable experience for them. I am the one holding back the tears at the end of a lesson when a child is able to go underwater, is happy in it they are swimming around and mobile and have been able to jump in too. They come out of the pool bursting with pride and confidence which I have said many times can influence them in other areas of their lives and to see that happening after just one lesson with me just melts me.
It’s the 2 to 3 year olds that are the harder cases for me as of course all mums know this is the age negotiations don’t really work, however I still manage to calm these children down so they enjoy it and are able to start to learn swimming skills. No one learns anything if they are wrapped up in fear and tears.
I can simply say to a child, ‘can you put your face in the water?’ so I have not told them to do it I have asked, they don’t see the difference here so they can interpret that as having to do it and that’s enough for a child to start to cry. So the vocabulary I use is carefully thought of before it is presented to the child.
I made a little video it’s rather amateurish as it was between Adams mums mobile and my very lame skills as a video editor in a new program, but I am sure it tells the story of just how well he did. So apologise for my efforts as a video editor and I am working on them for my next blog.
Bear in mind Adam had zero skills and never been in a swimming pool or even seen inside of one before, and just look how much of breaststroke I had taught him on his first lesson! When a child has zero skills that means they can’t move in the water they literally just bob around if they were left to their own devices, so to speak.
Without being able to swim there’s a multitude of sports and activities you can not do or will not enjoy as that fear will be at the back of your mind. “It’s never to late, ” a mantra in the English language, which I like to remind my clients. I have OAPs that have come to me who want to learn to swim, and do after a few lessons. I am currently looking to do a new class with the 5 yr olds + / and above age group especially to try to encourage these parents and children to get started with swimming lessons. Also this age group in most cases learn incredible fast with myself they pick up the skills really well. So to any mums reading this if you have not started yet and your child is over 5 yrs old, it’s not the end of the world, give me a call or start as soon as possible, maybe this weekend, to get your child to a pool and introduce them to a new wonderful world… of water.
I am on 07449135450 if you think I can help or advise you.
Please do join me on facebook and have a look at my pupils wonderful achievements over the years.
Gail Rickett, The Water Whisperer.
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