Monday, July 7, 2008

Bribery or Threats?

Jacob had his first swimming lesson today. He got his feet wet. That's all. He spent the whole 35 minutes of his lesson sitting at the edge of the pool watching everyone else. He was the only one who didn't get in.

His instructor tried to talk him into getting in the water, but he made several excuses why he couldn't. Later the pool supervisor sat by him and talked with him, trying her best to get him to go in. No deal. She said they'll try again tomorrow.

I wasn't so concerned with it today because the instructors were focused on gauging what each child is able to do. (They now know Jacob is reluctant, and that's putting it mildly.) Tomorrow they'll be put into equal ability groups so the instructors and children can have an easier time with the lessons.

Caleb, on the other hand, did super! He was excited to get in the pool and eagerly showed his instructor his bobs. He did the front float and glide. He's still nervous about floating on his back, though. He just won't relax enough to stay up. He keeps lifting his head up, so maybe he doesn't like having his ears under the water. Tomorrow I'll tell him to keep his ears under and find out what things he can hear under there.

But what can I do to get Jacob in the pool? I'm not above bribing him. He wanted to play on the playground after today's lessons. I told him no, but if he'll get in the pool tomorrow - and stay in the whole time - he can play on the playground AND we'll get a treat from Sonic on the way home. I've also told him that if he does well with swimming lessons, we'll get him a special toy. I'm ready to promise a black cat Webkin just like Caleb's!

I'm also not above threatening him. I paid $41 for his lessons and I don't want it to be wasted on his sitting on the edge for two weeks. If he doesn't get in the water by Wednesday or Thursday, I'm going to be really tempted to go through the gate and put him in the water myself! (There's a chain link fence around the pool, and only the lifeguard instructors and students are allowed inside during lesson times.)

Jacob is very strong-willed, so I'm not sure what's going to work. Any suggestions?


the Jones' in Dallas said...


Oh, I know how you feel! We went through similar experiences with our 2. I had several attempts at starting Nathan with lessons.He settled once he was a little older - about 5. I guess that's not much consolation when you've already paid upfront! I also can't remember how old Jacob is. I don't think using bribery is a problem - you know best how to motivate him!

Fiona Jones

Anonymous said...

That's so funny! Lindsay was somewhat like that but not as bad until after she jumped off the diving board and Mark didn't catch her like she had thought he would do. It took her about 20 years to get over it!