What to do when your child seems to be stuck at a skill level or even regressing in the water?
This is one of those questions that can have the same answer for all my swimmers at times and then it can also have a vastly different answer at other times for my clients that are not neurotypical.
Plateauing in skills in or out of the water is very common for children of all ages. In swimming,a stalled progression could be due to any number of things--physical age, emotional maturity, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, processing memory, executive functioning skills, muscle development, and mood-- just to name a few. Although as a parent these bouts of no progression can be frustrating they typically don't last long.
Even more frustrating at times is what appears on the surface to be a regression in skills. A regression in swim skills is very common in younger children (ages 2 to 5) if they do not continue lessons year-round or at least have some fun water time all year long. Typically, after a few refresher lessons they will rebound quickly. A regression of skills for older children or those swimming year-round could be tied to any of the above as well as a growth spurt, anxiety, or even a medication change. Additionally sometimes, especially with my special needs clients, when a new skill is introduced it may present the appearance of a regression in previously mastered skills due to muscle memory and/or processing speed. It is important to just let repeated practice of the older skill along side the new skill to work it's way back into the child's repertoire on the child's own time frame.
As I think of regression or no progression in skills and the worry or frustration it can cause us parents, I always hear my mother telling me "this too shall pass". And you know what she is correct.