For many parents, enrolling their children in swim classes is just something they do, especially if they or a family member has a pool or live near bodies of water. But some of these parents may never have learned to swim themselves. If this is your situation, you may not think your swimming ability matters. Your attitude about your own swimming skills can have an impact on how your child feels about swimming. Before you stress, read on for some tips to address any fears you may have and what you can do about them. Here are a few factors to think about.
Don’t Pass on Your Fear
The issue: Oftentimes, an adult who doesn’t know how to swim views being in the water as an unknown experience and feels uncertain about it. They can then become afraid of the water, and unknowingly project this fear onto their children. Maybe a mom who doesn’t know how to swim is taking her child to swim lessons, and says: “Josh, are you sure you’re going to be okay going underwater? If you start to feel panicked, you can always yell for help or tell your teacher you don’t feel safe.” In her mind, she thinks she’s preparing her son for class. But instead, she very well may be planting a seed of anxiety within her young child’s mind.
The solution: You can be honest with your child without making fear the focal point. Instead of focusing on your fear of swimming, talk with your little one about how pleased you are that they are getting the chance to learn to swim at such a young age. Express how you wish you had learned sooner, but are excited for them to enjoy their experience and become safe in the water. Maybe even encourage them to share tips so you can “learn” from them! Even if you don’t know how to swim, remaining upbeat with your child can do a lot to support them as they begin learning swim skills.
The issue: It’s tempting to think that merely having an adult nearby is enough to keep kids safe around water. But if you don’t know how to swim, there isn’t a lot you could do to rescue a child in trouble if they’re in deeper waters. Here are some steps you can take to increase your ability to help.
The solution: First, take a course in CPR. This lifesaving technique is an essential skill for every parent to know, and can mean the difference between life and death. Second, make sure every time you’re around water that you have water safety devices with you that can be thrown to someone if they find themselves in danger. Third, don’t allow yourself to be in a position in which you’re the only adult chaperoning children near a pool or beach. If you don’t know how to swim or have a fear of swimming altogether, it’s really important that at least one other adult (if not two) who know how to swim are with you.
Finally, it’s never too late to learn how to swim. There are plenty of swim lessons for adults available, and it’s very possible you will pick up the skills quickly once you start classes. Just because you’ve gone this long without knowing how to swim doesn’t mean you never will. Enroll in a swim class for adults, and you can enjoy playing in the pool and swimming with your child in a short matter of time.
If you have any questions about learning to swim as an adult, or about helping and protecting your child around water when you don’t know how to swim yourself contact us to learn more.