Posted by R.Sunitha - facilitator with Parenting Matters and a mother of twins.
We always assume that at a certain age one should learn to do specific things else one would never learn in the future and would be left behind. We think the same for our children.
When my children were five years old I enrolled them for swimming. They were so frightened. My son fell sick after 2 days and could not continue with class, my daughter was stuck to the wall all through the 15 days. She would hide when the master came to pull the kids out. It broke my heart to see them struggle.
The same time, my nephew also joined swimming. Though he learnt swimming in 15 days, he cried every single day. When he was thrown into that big pool he would kick and struggle and swim to the other end so frightened that he would drown.
It made me wonder was it so essential to learn to swim? Is it worth after the trauma the children go through?
After that even though they never learnt to swim for a few years, I did not enroll them in any class.
When they were around ten years old I conveyed my wish to see them swim. I suggested that they could get into the pool with their friends and try to learn and they might enjoy it.
Later, I found a place where they taught swimming with a tube for the first seven days. It was made compulsory to use it for those days. And voila, by the end of the week the kids lost their fear of water and were waiting to get rid of the tube! Slowly and surely they learnt to swim. There was no crying this time around.
By the end of it all, I too learnt something. Children will learn to do things at the time when they are ready for it and when they have the need for it. If we trust them they will do it.