Hi all! We started our 3 year old in swim lessons today and it went pretty badly. We decided to do private lessons which go 4 days in a row, break for the weekend, and then another 4 days in a row. The consecutive days are supposed to help support muscle memory, and we thought she'd like the solo classes since she sometimes gets a little shy in large classes and usually likes having a teacher's attention.
She hasn't had a ton of water time, but our time in the pool has always been fun and positive so while we expected some fear and nerves, this was pretty extreme today. Her dad attended the lessons with her and he sat on the side of the pool while she got in with the instructor. She was pretty nervous but things went really downhill after she put her head under water - she then spent the next 20 minutes screaming for her dad.
The instructor said that while she was a little more upset than the average first time kid in the water, it wasn't out of the ordinary and that he thinks she'll improve with each lesson. The next step is for my husband to stay out of view so she can't panic and call for him. We have our doubts that this will help b/c she was so upset today, but we know that you have to push through in order for kids to embrace new experiences.
Any suggestions on how to make this more enjoyable and less traumatizing for her? I don't want to make this into a phobia for her but at the same time, I was a fearful kid and my parents pulled me out of lessons anytime I cried. I'm sure I was happy about that as a kid, but as an adult, I'm a weak swimmer and I wish I had had more experience in sports and dance as a kid. I don't want to set her up for similar deficiencies....