Friday, July 15, 2011

Swimming Lessons Trauma

Ava is 3 years old this summer and old enough to be in the preschool class for swimming lessons. She loves the water and loves to swim so I thought it would be a fun summer activity for her. The first day of lessons she was amazing. More than half of the kids in her class were crying when it was time for the mom's to leave but Ava did great. She gave me a hug and a kiss and said bye. I was so proud of her.

When we showed up for day #2 it was a different story. She wasn't happy about the shower she had to take (which they require of all kids who are getting in the pool) but once she was in the pool she was fine. Then half way through she started crying hysterically. Through the fence I was tying to talk to her and calm her down only to find out she had to go to the bathroom. My guess is she was cying because she didn't know what to do or who to tell. So we took care of that and she was fine.

Day #3 She started crying before we even left the house and cried a large portion of the class. What I came to find out in trying to talk to her and calm her down is that she is scared of the shower. She takes baths at home because she doesn't like showers and apparently the first day of class the teachers took them to the showers and they just shoved her in and got her face all wet and basically just scared her. she hated it. The teachers eventually got her calmed down but when day #4 came she was hysterical when I said it was time for simming lessons. For some reason I felt especially bad so I decided to let her stay home.

Today was day #5. As of this morning I was undecided whether or not I would make her go so I asked Chris. At first he hemmed and hawed but decided that yes we should make her go.  So I did. When we got there we rinsed off in the sink instead of the shower which eliminated most of the crying. There was a little bit of whimpering when I dropped her off but then she was fine for the rest of class.

So my question is, do you make your children face their fears? Was it wrong of me to force her to go even though she said she didn't want to? Would you have let your child stay home?


Amy said...

I think you have to be really careful when ENCOURAGING (not forcing) children to do things that scare them. My boy is VERY cautious (I like that word better than....scardy cat) so I have to be really careful to help him overcome his fears and try knew things but if you just MAKE them do those things - they are just going to continue being scared and resent you for making them be in that situation. I think what you did was right. You are confident as her mom that there is nothing that will hurt her at her swim lessons therefore she should go but instead of making her get in the shower you showed her she can use the sink.

Sally said...

I'm undecided on this topic. I was afraid of a lot of things as a kid and as a result didn't try many new things. I feel like if I had been forced to face at least a few of my fears (within reason of course) that it would have been good for me. Samm is a lot like me and when we were at the amusement park last month she did not want to ride any of the scary rides, which basically meant anything that left the ground. We told her she had to ride one big rollercoaster with Dad but after that if she didn't like it she could continue to ride the tea cups the whole time. She HATED the rollercoaster and never wants to do it again, but she tells everyone she knows about how she rode the biggest rollercoaster there. So even though she won't be doing it again anytime soon, she is pretty darn proud of herself for doing it the one time.

Ria said...

Hannah and Brooke both say that they wish I'd made them do stuff that scared them. They are still scared of stuff and think that if I had made them do it when they were young they would be less inclined to be scared now.
Swimming is particularly important because that is a potential life saving skill. There are probably a lot of things that don't matter but swimming is important.
A lot of times I let Brooke stand back and watch for a while while she got up her courage to try something. Sometimes that helped.

Lori said...

My kids are older now, but when they did swimming lessons it was always with me right there. My daughter was 3 when she had her first lessons and it was mommy and me. For the older lessons, we still had to be in the pool area, just not in the water. I think 3 is way to young to be sent off without you. I do think it is good that you figured out what was upsetting her and helped her work through it.

ryan + elizabeth . said...

Ryan says," kids these days need discipline. It's up to us as parents to show discipline and expose them to the r eal world. You're welcome."

Steph said...

I didn't even think about "the showers"!?!? Rylee HATES them, they scare her to death as well. We start the preschool class next week. Hmmm....I'm now thinking this might not go so well for us either. UGH. Let me know if you find anything that works. ;)

Also, do you feel like the teachers keep a good eye on the class?? I don't know why, but I'm super nervous about that.

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