By Leia Yoon- NJAC Swim mom
Most people that see my daughter Alexandria swimming these days will compliment her on what a great swimmer she is. But the truth is, it was not always a happy go lucky experience. We started swimming with North Jersey Aquatics 3 years ago as a way for her and I to bond. It was not long before I realized she truly loved the water. Little did I know what was yet to come.
You see, over the past three years we have been through it all. We’ve had times where she loved the water and times where she literally screamed as if the devil had taken over her soul. When I run into parents at the pool with a child who doesn’t want anything to do with their lesson, I can’t help but sympathize. It was not long ago I was in that same spot. My child screaming bloody murder and throwing tantrums. I remember many conversations with her teachers and Leighann about why this was happening with no sure answer but, its a phase.
Now looking back on it, it really was a phase. What I failed to realize in the moment was my child who seemed so grown up in the pool was in reality only one, two or three years old. She was a typical toddler who had her good and bad days. The best thing I did for my child, even when I wanted to hide and cry, and pull her out of class, was keeping her in the water and trusting her teachers. Her teachers knew it had nothing to do with a fear of water, but had no certainty on why the tantrums kept happening. Week in and week out for almost 1 year and 2 months I took her to every swim class and spent the 30 minutes cringing. My husband and I even went as far as joining a pool and taking her every day during our free time to try and help her tantrums during class to no avail.
As hard as it was in that moment, keeping her in the water was crucial. Every “Ah Hah” moment that followed was a huge step forward. Our biggest change happen when she went from needing a bubble to swim to no bubble swimming underwater overnight. That was the moment I realized even during those tough lessons, she was learning something.
Today, Alexandria is just over three years old. She has a love for water that radiates when she is at the pool. She makes strides and leaps that I didn’t even know was possible. I am 100% sure this is all because no matter how hard it was, I listened to the teachers and kept her in every class. Even when I though she wasn’t learning anything …she was!
As I look back on the past three years, I have to thank all of her teachers she has had. Over three years we have had seven different teachers. Each teacher holds a special place in our swim journey. They have all helped her become the water loving little fish that she is. So to those parents who feel helpless or frustrated with an upset child or feeling like they aren’t progressing, I give you this advise: Take a deep breath and be there to encourage your child, but don’t pull them out. Consistency is important. It may not happen overnight but one day that light bulb will go off and in a blink of an eye they will make huge improvements.