Billie B. Brown: 'The Deep End' - Teaching Scared Swimmers to Swim
My oldest daughter Katelyn has struggled for years with the idea of being in deep water and not knowing how to get out. As she's almost 7, my husband and I felt like her fear of water could become potentially dangerous, we decided to make teaching our kids how to swim one of our MUSTS this summer! But how do you talk a girl totally freaked out about water to even get her hair wet??
I grew up in Mesa, AZ, and as some of you know, swimming pools are one of the best attractions during the summer, so if you don't swim, you hang out in an air conditioned building as often as you can! I don't even remember learning how to swim, but I know I learned from a young age as we had a pool in our backyard. Since I had NO idea where to start, I did the obvious...I Googled it! I found an article from Pint-Sized Treasures that I thought had some GREAT tips! You can check it out here!
We took our girls to the local aquatic center to get some basic swimming practice! It didn't last long because we'd only been there an hour before the pool was closed due to lightning but we made some GREAT progress in that hour!!!
For our first lesson, we stayed in the shallow end of the pool, and focused on getting her comfortable with the water. We talked about how important it is to learn how to swim and why she might need to know how someday. We talked about how swimming can be fun when you know how, and we had plenty of peer reinforcement from the kids around us who were splashing and having fun in the water all around us. We modeled swimming techniques for her to watch first. We talked about proper breathing and how to hold our breaths under water. We had her practice the movements in the shallow end, and moved around on our tummies on the floor of the shallow end. We probably looked more like slithering than actual swimming, but she got a laugh out of it! ;) The more she did that, the more she comfortable she became. I really love the fun waterfalls and kids activities in the shallow end, because we were able to use those as landmarks to get her to swim to one end of the pool to the other and have something fun to look forward to when she got there.
Unfortunately, it was about the time she was starting to feel more comfortable with the water when the lightning started, but we were SO excited with the progress she made in just that one hour! Lesson 2 will include some more technique practice, particularly kicking hard with our legs, and floating! Wish us luck!