Overcoming little fears

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


This is a little boy who has just worked hard to overcome a fear, come out the other side and is enjoying a well earned snooze. 

Like his big brother and sister, Ayden went to swimming classes as a baby. From just a few months old, I would take him every week. And he seemed to enjoy it; as much as a baby being dunked in tepid water can enjoy it...

I can't really remember why, but we stopped going after a couple of months. I've heard it's quite common for babies who once loved swimming and being in the water to change their minds about the whole thing once they get a little more independent. It happened with Dylan for a while. Just like his big brother Ayden decided he didn't like 'wimming' anymore and that was that.

I didn't really push it, figuring he'd grow out of it eventually. But also, I didn't want the 'fear' to get any worse. 

Yesterday I decided we were going 'wimming'!

It didn't start well. He clung to me like a baby koala. Arms and legs wrapped tight and his head buried in my neck. He stayed like that for at least 20 minutes. Only surfacing to ask to go home, squeak a bit and then tuck his head back into my neck.

It was tempting to give up and go home. Especially when he started wailing because someone splashed him. But we stuck with it, and I'm so glad we did.

As with most toddler-related problems, distraction worked wonders. I decided to divert his attention to the grates in the wall of the swimming pool... we had a good look inside to see if we could spot the turtles. Everyone knows that's how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get into the swimming pool!

After ten minutes or so of turtle spotting, he'd loosened his vice-like grip around my neck and was letting me spin him round in the water a little bit. So we started singing and splashing a bit more. By the time it was time to leave, he was smiling, laughing, splashing and running around in the shallow end.

One small step for mummy. One giant splash for Ayden.

3 comments

  1. Love the koala analogy! Glad to hear he enjoyed it eventually xx

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  2. I'm glad he enjoyed himself in the end! I find it hard with my (almost) toddlers' fears, whether to help him face them or avoid them, can be so delicate to balance between help and hinder whatever you do! sounds like you made the right choice :)

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  3. Sounds like you handled it really well. My three have all had swimming lessons since they were about 12 weeks old and all of them have had the odd wobbly stage, but as you say distraction and working within their areas of comfort helps and they soon pass through it. x

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