Learning to Swim

July 15, 2010

If you ask someone to think of when they think of summer, they most likely will think of swimming. The pool can involve friends, having a good time, and beating the heat. Summer and swimming go hand in hand. Right? Yes, for the most part. Most people will be in the water and therefore need to be taught how to swim and water safety. This can pose a problem when the little one needing to learn this important life skill and lesson doesn't want to have anything to do with it. Here are some tips to remember when taking a reluctant child to swim lessons.

First things first, stay positive and offer lots of encouragement. Try to imagine someone telling you they were going to teach you how to fly an airplane, or anything that makes you even the slightest bit fearful. As an adult we would want to know exactly would happen during the lesson, or be able to ask a few "what ifs" to hear the reassuring answers. Your child will feel better prepared and comfortable knowing these same things as well.

Experts agree there are some warm ups or activities you can practice with your cautious child in the days and weeks before swim lessons start. If your child doesn't like putting his face in the water, start by asking him to blow bubbles in the clean water or splashing him lightly. The more he gets used to the feeling, he won't be as apprehensive when he is taking lessons. Another tip to consider is the temperature of the water.  Children will feel most comfortable in water with a minimum of 86 degrees but no more than 94 degrees. If the water is still bothering them, let them pick out their own pair of goggles and towel -- some of the non-water parts of getting ready for lessons.

If your child is still intimidated and unwilling to get into the water, it may be wise to start them off in a group setting. This will allow them to see their peers doing all the activities and lessons and witnessing they are enjoying and doing just fine after.  If after a few lessons they no longer need a friend's motivation to get in the water, this would be the time to start private lessons, if that is what was desired from the start. Choosing the right lesson for your child will also help his or her success in swim lessons. 

Finally, remember that learning to swim doesn't have a definitive time frame. It varies from child to child. But, swimming is like learning to ride a bike and eventually they will "get" it and have that life skill forever. 


From the Parents

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