Last week we started swim lessons with my oldest, Zach…for the 3rd time.
We did a mommy and me class when he was two…he cried the whole time. We tried private lessons a couple of years later…he cried the whole time. Both times, I just stopped going.
I felt like I was a horrible person for forcing him to face this fear. But at the same time I couldn’t understand where this anxiety was coming from.
Needless to say, when we started group lessons with the local high school last week, I was very hesitant. I tried to stay positive through all of the questions and complaining.
What if I get water on my face?
What if they let go of me?
What if they make me do dunks?
I don’t like to go on my back.
I don’t want to do this.
Please don’t make me do this!
And as he started the first lesson, he started crying again. And when I say he cried, I mean he hysterically cried. He was so worked up that he was physically shaking & screaming through the lesson. He’s 5 years old now. And he’s the youngest one in the Level 1 group. My heart broke for him. But, if I’m honest, I also felt a little embarrassed. And completely helpless.
We all left that day feeling defeated, while still praising Zach for what an awesome job he did in the pool.
Later that night, we were doing our affirmations. We started doing these about a year ago as part of our regular bedtime routine after I read about them helping anxious children…
I am kind.
I am smart.
I am handsome.
I am funny.
I am honest.
I am grateful.
I am joyful.
I am brave.
I am strong.
I am responsible.
I am respectful.
I am a great friend.
I am an artist.
I am loved.
And as we were going through the list, I decided to add a few:
I am a great swimmer.
I love the water.
I love to dunk my head under the water.
Swimming is fun.
The next day, he had a lot of anxiety as we were getting ready. We did our affirmations again. And again as we were walking into the lesson. He still struggled pretty bad, but I stayed positive. I told him how proud I was of him and took him for a special treat afterwards.
Yesterday was our 3rd lesson after a few days off. Again, he was struggling with some anxiety, so we did our swimming affirmations while we were getting ready. And again as we were walking in. I started to notice a shift in his attitude. He didn’t cry the whole lesson, and he looked like he was starting to feel more confident and have some fun.
Today was his 4th lesson and there was only excitement as we got ready. I asked if he wanted to do his affirmations and he said “Yes!” So we went through all of them on our way to his lesson, and he kicked some serious ass in the pool today 🙂
The best part was seeing the big smile on his face as he climbed out of the pool. I smiled back and asked if he had fun. He said, “I feel proud of myself.”
As great as it is to feel proud of our children, it’s even more amazing when they feel proud of themselves.
I have no idea what the next 6 lessons will hold, but I am so thankful for something as simple as positive affirmations and the power they have in helping to overcome anxiety. I truly believe in the power of affirmations for kids and I encourage you to try them with your kids!
If you already do affirmations with your kids, what are some of your favorites?
Share them in the comments below!