Guest blogger Robin says, "Never fear ... my kid got over his phobia, and so can yours!"
Got a fearful big kid who can't swim? Don't be embarrassed. I was there just last summer. My son Daniel, then 7, was so afraid of swim lessons that he (sorry if you are eating your breakfast) would vomit every time he'd get ready to go in. I'm not kidding: He threw up at the Y. He threw up at a swim academy. He threw up at a swim club. Basically, Daniel has this lovely little habit of throwing up whenever he gets stressed -- pools and everyone around him be damned!
So, it was almost summer and I was freaking out about yet another season of kids who can't swim. My little guy, Michael, is just 23 months younger than his brother, and never seemed to have any trouble with lessons. He never learned much during all of those sessions (maybe because the instructors had to close the pool because of his brother), but at least he tried.
After years of rejecting my friends' advice to go to the neighborhood swim lady (who swears your kids will be swimming in two weeks), I finally caved in. My perfect little boys were not going to learn to swim if I continued to coddle them and take them to frou-frou lessons at swim academies.
It was time to get wet.
It was the most productive two weeks ever. Really. We'd spent thousands of dollars and countless hours on swimming lessons before, so I didn't really have much to lose. But the swim lady was amazing. It's basically swim boot camp. It's hardcore: two weeks straight, 30 minutes a day.
It's a take-no-prisoners way of learning to swim, but our swim lady makes it fun for the kids. Sure, they cry and freak out the first day, but she has this magical way of getting the kids to do what she wants (swim!). And they do. In case you're wondering, Daniel did throw up the first few days (not in the pool, though), but by the end of the two weeks, he was jumping into the pool and diving for rings. Oh, and Michael did great, too!
The first time we hit the pool this year, Daniel jumped into the deep end and never looked back. Ah ... summer's almost here, and I can't wait to take my boys swimming!