With a big smile on her face, my four year old said, “Look at me, Mommy! I’m swimming!” Actually, she was doing something I recall doing as a child: wading in the water and moving my arms back and forth to give the illusion that I was swimming. When Quinn was not quite a year and half, my husband and I signed her up for swim lessons and figured she’d do fine since she loved playing in her bath tub water. However, once in a much larger body of water, an olympic sized swimming pool at a nearby college, my poor baby would cling onto me for dear life. We thought that perhaps she could sense my nervousness, so my husband decided to go in with her. While she did much better and even seemed to be having fun on an occasion or two, one of the instructor’s methods was immersing the child fully in the water, just for a second or two in a playful way, but my little girl was having none of that. She looked absolutely terrified. After that, it was extremely difficult to get her in the water without clinging on to my next or my husband’s neck.
We figured that it was normal and that she’d eventually become relaxed and more comfortable in the water, as some of the other children, ranging from under a year up to age three, but after a couple of months she still seemed anxious yet was not able to verbalize how she was feeling. At that point, we thought it was best to not continue lessons and to revisit them once Quinn showed an interest and could tell us what she wanted.
In the months and few years that followed that experience, she does enjoy water play and being in the ocean holding my hand, and being in a large swimming pool is a totally different experience for her: certainly more fun! Based on how she’s been enjoying the water in an actually swimming pool this summer, I think she just might be ready for swim lessons again.
We even talked about it on a few occasions, and unlike when she was a year and a half and unable to tell me what frightened her or made her uneasy about swimming, at four years old, she had no problem telling me, “Mommy, I just doesn’t like it when water gets in her eyes.” This is understandable because I don’t like that either, so we went shopping to pick out some Paw Patrol goggles. Not too far from “The Little Gym,” where Quinn takes classes, a new swim school geared towards children opened up, so I plan on looking into it to see if it’s a good fit for her. I’m hoping that my little girl will “really” be able to swim or at least feel more comfortable in a large swimming pool in the years and summers to come.
All the best,