Bella's first swimming lesson, age 4
This is my second mummy guilt blog post in a row. Doh! Bella had her first swimming lesson last week and I felt terribly guilty. She's never been very brave when it comes to the swimming pool. She takes ages to relax and will cling on for dear life! She actually loves having a bath at home but hates the water getting in her eyes. It’s only now she’s 4.5 years old she’ll tip her head back for us to wash her hair without making a fuss! Before now we’d have to endure a huge screaming match trying to wash her hair. The neighbours must have thought we were torturing her!
I already knew she wouldn’t just jump in the pool her first swimming lesson, but it was a very guilt filled trip still. I was actually really proud of her beforehand. She didn’t make a fuss (perhaps the bribe of a chocolate milkshake if she was brave helped) and went off with the teacher without fuss. But once in the water I could see her clinging to the teacher and crying most of the lesson. Insert waves and waves of mummy guilt!
The lesson is only 1/2 hour and she's been put into the Minnows class for three and four-year-olds rather than the first school age class. This is the perfect class for her as such a beginner who is nervous in water. There were just three children in the class last week so she's going to get a lot of attention which will allow her to get used to the water.
A one point the lady held Bella up whilst waving up to the viewing windows to signal to me to go and get her. She said Bella needed the toilet which is quite common for children to say in their first lesson. I thought perhaps it was a trick to get out of the pool, as she’d been to toilet twice before she got in! Probably nerves!
I'm hoping after a few weeks Bella will start to enjoy it. It's not that I want to force her to do something she doesn't enjoy, but I feel that swimming is a really important life skill. It could save her life one day. Even if I waited a couple of years to give Bella swimming lessons, I’m certain we’d still go through this. It’s just her nature. She was nervous at her street dance class for the first two weeks and didn’t want to join in, but now she loves it! She’s just one of those children that take time to settle into a new environment and situation. But once she feels comfortable and secure, she’s just fine.
I'd love to hear your experiences with children’s swimming lessons. Especially if they hated it at first, but perhaps now they absolutely love it. I think it will stop me feeling so mean! Do share your experiences in the comments.