How to Help Your Child Overcome a Fear of Water

How to Help Your Child Overcome a Fear of Water | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Expert Katy TexasIt’s very understandable that many children, even adults, are afraid of water. Being in the water can be scary and overwhelming; there are no boundaries and sense of sinking is very frightening. Fear of water can stem from several causes for both adults and children:

  • An instinctive fear related to fear of drowning
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Bad experience that occurred in the past/during childhood
  • Fear of water can be transmitted to a child by parents that are themselves afraid of water
  • Any experience ingrained by swimming instructors that used inadequate and/or stressful methods of teaching.

It’s important to remember that every child has a different level of fear, whether brief or persistent. If you are looking for ways to help your child feel more comfortable in the water, here are some steps to consider:

Small Steps & Positive Reinforcement

Overcoming the fear or water is often a gradual process. For parents, that means being encouraging and positive even at the small steps. Introducing your child’s feet into the water and asking him or her to dip a little bit further is a example of small, simple step. When your child does dip further, be sure to respond with positive reinforcement. This will help your child connect positive feelings with swimming. It’s very important that parents do not force a child to go into the pool or shame a child for being scared; this can further exaggerate a child’s fear. Instead, acknowledge the fear and respond with patience and positivity.

Focus More on Fun

A focus on fun is a critical component to showing a scared and cautious child that swimming can be fun. Children sometimes become more comfortable in large bodies of water only after they are convinced that water is safe and fun in smaller situations. Take advantage of bath time to introduce a child to swimming activities such as kicking and light paddling. Playing games, singing songs, bringing in their favorite plastic toys, reading books about all of water’s fun possibilities can associate water with fun times.

Call in the Swim Pros

Unfortunately, the best intentions can sometimes validate a children’s existing fear of water or play a role in creating one. Children have a significantly better chance of overcoming fear of water with a professional instructor who understands the complexity and sensitivity involved. For parents who are introducing their child to the water or overcoming any reservations that a child may have regarding the water, I high recommend starting swimming lessons as early as possible. Infant Aquatics is a swim survival program that teaches children and infants as young as six months old basic swimming skills that they can use to save their life in the event of an accidental plunge in the pool. While learning the basics in a one-on-one environment with an instructor, students gradually become more confident and comfortable in the water.

If you have any questions about the fear of water or the Infant Aquatics ℠ program, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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When is the Best Time to Enroll a Child in Swim Lessons?

When is the Best Time to Enroll a Child in Swim Lessons? | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatic Survival Expert Katy TexasOne of the most common questions that parents ask is, “At what age should my child start taking swim lessons?”

To ensure a lifelong love and confidence for swimming, it’s important to get your child comfortable with the water as soon as possible. I recommend that parents start introducing their child to the water as soon as they feel comfortable doing so. Every child is different, but generally 6-9 months is a good time to consider enrolling your child in a swim program. Typically, most swim facilities will recommend that you introduce your child to the water through a parent/child class at six months old. However, parents can also enroll their six month old in an Infant Aquatic Survival class, which teaches your child how to effectively roll over from a face down position onto their backs to float, rest, and breathe all by themselves. This is also known as the roll-back-to-float swim survival method.

Parent/child swim classes give babies an opportunity to simply get comfortable in the water. When children are 18 months – 4 years old, they are ready to learn basic swim skills. In the Infant Aquatics program, however, children are already taught basic swimming skills in addition to getting familiar with the water right away. Even young children and toddlers who participate in the Infant Aquatic Survival program are able to learn a more advanced sequence of swimming face down, rolling onto their backs to breathe, and returned to swim face down again (also known as the swim-float-swim method). The Infant Aquatic Survival program not only teaches familiarity in the water to allow children to be confident and comfortable swimmers, but basic swimming skills that could save their life in an event of an accidental plunge in the water. This allows students to learn how to swim in weeks, not years, and provides them with a head start to becoming a stronger swimmer later down the road.

As some of you may know, I am a mother of 4, and a homeowner with a backyard swimming pool. All my children were taught how to swim through an aquatic survival program. I have always been very impressed by a child’s abilities in the water, even at a very young age. Babies are programmed by instinct with two very helpful reflexes to help them protect themselves from drowning and to have a natural comfort in the water. From a capability standpoint, six months is an age where most babies demonstrate the improved control of their head and overall muscular development to make early swim instruction successful. In a matter of weeks, a Infant Aquatic Survival program teaches skills not only helpful in the water, but helpful in improving a child’s visual motor skills, cognitive skills, including memorization, and verbal skills outside of the water as well. Babies are able to take on general learning just ask quickly as they do in the water and parents will notice that their child will improve his or her ability to concentrate, respond to instruction, interact socially, and more.

Again, every child is different and learns at his or her own pace so choose the earliest time that is most comfortable for you and your family to begin swimming lessons. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or visit our facility to watch our Infant Aquatic Survival classes in action!

What to Expect from a Infant Aquatics Swim Lesson

What to Expect from an Infant Aquatics Swim Lesson | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Katy Texas

Are you wondering what to expect from a typical Infant Aquatics lesson at Texas Swim Academy? Well, for one, your child will have the one-on-one attention he or she needs to learn and progress quickly in the water. Although each lesson is 15 minutes long, students learn an incredible amount within that time. Certified instructors are ready and willing to go above and beyond to introduce your child into the water and guide them through the lesson process where your child can learn to build a level of trust and comfort. To see your little swimmer progress quickly, we recommend attending swim lessons four times a week for 4-6 weeks.

Each lesson builds upon previous lessons helping swimmers progress. The frequency of lessons will immerse your child in the curriculum, allowing him or her to develop a level of trust at a faster rate.

You will truly be amazed at what your child is capable of! The confidence and independence Texas Swim Academy swimmers build can be a true relief for parents and brings us personal satisfaction that we are teaching children to save their lives.

Tune into the video below to learn more about our Infant Aquatics program.

How to Prepare Your Child for Swim Lessons

How to Prepare Your Child for Swim Lessons |Texas Swim Academy Katy TexasGetting your child ready for baby swim lessons requires a little prep from mom and dad too! You will probably be surprised at how quickly toddlers and even young babies take to the water, but finding the most success is a lot easier when you prepare beforehand.

Here are some things to get your kid ready for their swim class debut:

Mommy & Me classes. The best preparation for baby swim lessons is a “Mommy & Me” type swim class. These classes are designed to provide babies with quality time in the water, in a safe environment and with your support close by. Exercises build confidence, provide fun, and create curiosity and comfort in the water.

Water comfort exercises. The bathtub is a great place to help your child become more comfortable in the water, the younger the better:

  • Use a bucket to pour water over your baby’s head, providing time between dunks for your baby to get accustomed to the feeling.
  • Encourage your baby to put their face in the water, blow bubbles, splash and play.
  • Put on swim goggles to let your baby take a peek underwater and explore.

Work at these exercises and your child will associate the water with fun and enjoyment.

Proper swim gear. Your baby needs the right equipment to get the most from baby swim lessons, here is the gear you will need:

  • If your child is not potty trained, swim diapers are a necessity. This includes the diaper itself and plastic outer pants, with a swimsuit over.
  • Swim goggles help your baby see underwater and feel more comfortable.
  • Some babies are more comfortable in a rash guard.

Baby swim lessons are one of the most important things you can do for your child to keep them safe. I love helping out parents with young children in swim lessons here in Houston, if you have any questions about what to expect or what you need, ask me in the comments.

The Diving Reflex: How Babies Are Able to Swim Underwater

Even after parents and caregivers watch our videos of babies as young as 6 months old confidently swimming underwater, rolling, and floating, many are still in disbelief that these things are not only possible for very young children but natural. How do these underwater babies do it!? It’s a well-studied phenomenon called “the diving reflex” that everyone interested in child water safety should learn about.

The Diving Reflex: How Babies Are Able to Swim Underwater | Texas Swim Academy Katy Texas

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The diving reflex is properly called the “bradycardic response” and is an instinctive survival reflex common to many mammals, including humans. When an infant’s head is submerged, their natural reaction is to hold their breath. At the same time, their body reacts defensively: heart rate slows and blood is directed to circulate mostly between critical organs. All of these together allow infants to survive submerged much longer than adults in the same situation.

The gag reflex that causes babies to automatically hold their breath is the one most important to teaching swimming and water survival skills. Babies as young as six months old can also learn to respond to visual and spoken cues to know when to hold their breath, roll over in the water, and initiate a back float. They can even be taught basic strokes to help them swim underwater. The diving reflex is just the beginning and is used to build several skills that create safe and confident underwater babie

Babies who can perform basic water survival skills, including the roll-back-to-float, are much safer in and around the water. There are no disadvantages to starting early: very young children can learn to swim underwater, and improve their safety in the water.

Worried about your baby swimming underwater? There is nothing to fear as long as you have an experienced and trained Infant Aquatic Survival instructor supervising your child. Believe me, I’ve been at this for ten years and it works every time.

The First Thing Every Baby Should Learn in the Water

The First Thing Every Baby Should Learn in the Water | Kathleen McMordie Infant Aquatics Expert Katy TexasWhen it comes to teaching swim lessons, learning the basics is essential for water safety and drowning prevention. The first and most important skill for any beginner swimmer to learn is floating on his or her back, also known as the “swim-float-swim” survival method in an Infant Aquatics swimming program.

The “swim-float-swim” technique is a life-saving skill that teaches babies to roll over onto their backs, float, and rest until help arrives. It’s an amazing skill to witness and the foundation for any other swimming skill.

Why is Floating Important?

Every swimmer should learn how to float in the water first. However, new swimmers often have a difficult time adjusting to floating. As land based mammals, we are accustomed to standing upright to find balance. This makes it difficult for children and even adults to get used to balancing on their backs in the water. On land, we are also accustomed to looking at a horizon to find our balance, which doesn’t work the same way in the water. When swimmers are first learning how to float, they’ll try to find that horizon, but that often causes them to sink. Hence, the feeling of falling or sinking when trying to float.

Although floating is a tricky skill to master, floating allows a child to feel more confident and safe in the water. Confidence in the water enables a child to continue to develop more complicated swimming skills.

About Infant Aquatics

Swimming lessons promote healthy, confident, and safer water environment for both parents and children. Babies can begin the Texas Swim Academy Infant Aquatics program as young as six months old, when babies are developing the head control necessary to perform basic infant water survival exercises. Six months is also an ideal time because that’s when babies are just beginning to become mobile, which means there’s a greater risk for him or her to accidentally fall or slip into the water. Each child in the Infant Aquatics program is safely guided by a motivated and certified instructor who provides one-on-one attention. To learn more about the Infant Aquatics program, tune into the video below:

Studies Show the Widespread Benefits of Swim Lessons for Kids

shutterstock_90607378-300x188No matter at what stage, swimming is a life skill that promotes healthy living and prevents drowning. However, did you know that there are some benefits other than the obvious that a child can acquire from learning how to swim? An extensive study done by the Griffith University of Educational Research discovered that preschoolers were able to reach developmental milestones much faster if they were learning how to swim. They found that participation in swimming lessons provided a 88% in reduction in risk of drowning in children under 4. In addition to this, children were able to improve skills like oral expression, literacy, numeracy. Parents noticed that swim lessons helped their children develop emotionally giving them more confidence  in themselves and with others in a social setting. Special needs children responded in a more profound way than any other kids their age. Since swimming provides a safe environment to learn and develop motor skills, swimming offered them the opportunity to develop their verbal communication in a more comfortable setting.

To read more about this study, take a look at this article from Happy Swimmers!