Zane and Myles return to Rainbow Club after months away due to Covid-19

After so many months away from Rainbow Club there is no doubt that it is an adjustment for children to come back to the routine of swimming each week at their Rainbow Club. Zane and Myles had a very positive return to swimming at Cherrybrook Rainbow Club which you could see instantly by their smiling faces.

We asked their mum Anjana how they prepared their boys for their first day back.

Our sons, Zane (aged 8) and Myles (aged 5) both have autism and love being in the water. They both have some anxiety when it comes swimming lessons for different reasons.

For Zane, it was swimming in the deep end. All of sudden mid last year after a lesson, he didn’t want to go into the deep end. He was very adamant about not going back into the deep end. But we managed to work through his fears, that this year in February, he went back into the deep end to swim – cautious but he was back in there and enjoying himself like he did in the past. He is also very conscious of being cold, and doesn’t like swimming if the water isn’t warm!

When Myles first started swimming, for the first 4 weeks or so, he would cry for most of the lesson. Then one lesson he stopped and really enjoyed being in the water, especially with Denise! Myles does have some anxiety returning to the pool after the holiday breaks and usually will spend 5 minutes refusing to enter the water but once he gets in, he’s happy, overjoyed!

With the COVID restrictions and the long break from swimming, we were conscious the boys would have some hesitation getting back in. The week leading up to swimming recommencing, Kevin and I started talking about how swimming will be back on again on Sunday (just casually mentioning it to Zane).

We knew he would be a little reluctant, but telling him a week in advance was enough time for him to accept we will be back in the pool on Sunday. Almost immediately you could see his little eyes process this information. The worry started and his usual string of statements start, “I am brave mummy, I will swim in the deep end”. We assured him by telling him how well he was swimming with his teacher Georgie before the virus and how brave he is by swimming in the deep end. And how much fun he has in the pool.

On the Friday night before swimming, we showed Zane the social story so he could understand some of the changes post COVID.

With Myles, we didn’t say anything till the morning of swimming, as his language skills are not there yet. We know if we tell him something in advance, he assumes it means right away. On Sunday morning (a few hours before swimming), we said we will be swimming today after lunch and he will see Denise his teacher again. He actually repeated the words swimming and Denise!

Sometimes just before the lesson starts, I also like to show the boys pictures of them swimming at Rainbow Club to remind them of how much fun they have. This really helps calm both of the boys’ anxiety. – Anjana Alvares

We hope that the Alvares’ story will be helpful for all our other families who are preparing to come back to swimming at their Rainbow Club.