Swimming is not luxury for just a few; it is a life saving necessity for everyone! Everyone has known of someone who can’t swim and/or has a fear of water. Surprisingly, if you ask them why they’ve never learned how to swim, most will say, “my parents don’t swim”, “my parents were afraid I would drown”, “my parent had a fear of water and passed it on to me”, or “I had an accident involving water and became afraid.”
So how do you, as a parent, not pass your fear of water to your child?
- It starts with your little ones bath time. Pour water over your child’s head from the start. Smile, clap, be happy and give lots of kisses as the child experiences this feeling of water running down their face. Don’t let any crying discourage you. If you continue these rituals at every bath time, your child will eventually stop crying and will do these rituals along with you.
- Remember, babies lived in water before they born, so being submerged in water was all they knew. Most people are astonished to find out that babies will actually hold their breath under water. In baby swimming classes, you learn how to submerge your child in a safe manner. You will be taught to give your child a cue (1, 2, 3 or Ready, Set, Go) and submerge them for 2 seconds. Missy Franklin, Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer, went to these classes. Her mom spoke of how this was done in a class with Missy when she was an infant and she never cried.
- If you decide to attend a swimming class, your child will sense your fear. First know these classes are held in very shallow water where you have your footing. Knowing how to swim is not a requirement for you and your little one to have some fun. Smile, kiss, hug and laugh during the class to ease your child, so they can know it’s safe to be there.
- At any age, talk to your child about you not knowing how to swim and how you wish you had learned. Use words of encouragement and explain to them you want them to experience all the different things in the world and never be afraid to learn something new and different.
As an adult, you can overcome your fear of water with the right instructor, proper teaching and supportive swimming company. Swimming is an activity that most of you will do as a family on vacation, in the summer or as a recreational sport during the cold months. Have your child learn to love the water from the beginning. They will learn to not fear the water but love and respect it.
Information provided by Swim Swim Swim I Say