Missing out on your children's swimming lessons? Learn how to overcome your fear of the water in 4 simple steps

19 May 2017

Guest blog written by Chris Watson, Co-Founder of The PoolCover

My father can’t swim and the reason goes back some 64yrs… My family were all cyclists; my Grandfather, a pre-war track cyclist and my father and uncle were both professionally ranked nationally and internationally. When my father was a boy of around 10yrs old, my grandfather told him that, “To be a cyclist you need hard and tough leg muscles, swimming will make them soft!”. It was a simple as that, and that‘s why he never learnt to swim.

I find with most adults that it’s a bad childhood memory associated with learning to swim that usually resonates... Unfortunately this apprehension and anxiety of swimming can be passed on to your children. You can, however, make a few simple changes to overcome your fear and be a part of your child’s swimming and playtime in the water. Don’t forget that you’ll be in safe hands. There are trained experts at hand to help both you and your child.

To get you started, take a look at the Turtle Tots YouTube page to watch videos on what to expect from one of our lessons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAtDYWz6qYY


1.    Getting over your fear of the water


Children mostly swim without inhibition and self-imposed limitations. They don’t over-analyse and aren’t generally self-conscious. Adult beginners, on the other hand, can find it hard to let go of their inhibitions.

If you’re nervous about getting in the water, however, and you don’t want to miss out on your child learning to swim, then here’s some tips that’ll help you get on your way:

·       The first step is to talk. A light-hearted chat with family and friends or maybe even a one-to-one meeting with a swimming teacher is a great place to start.

·       I know it might sound infantile but get some goggles and practice putting your face in the water. Practice holding your breath as well as blowing out under water (through your nose and/or mouth). If you’re feeling confident then see if you can do the same without goggles.

·       Make time to take your child to a pool that has a beach entry or very shallow end. This will get you used to feeling how you control yourself as you move through the water. It can be a little daunting at first especially when you feel unbalanced.

·       Try holding onto the side and lifting your feet off the floor or even floating on your back (even better ask someone to hold your head while you float… it works a treat!).

·       If you’re really confident then sculling, floating and treading water are all great skills to learn for the new adult swimmer.

2.    ‘LEARN’ to swim


Do some research and you’ll start to get a grasp of what motivates you. A great place to start would be to search Google for “BLAPT” (Body, Legs, Arms, Position & Timing) or “Total Immersion Swimming” or the Swim England Adult swimming framework. Adults as a whole are usually able to better understand more complex stroke and skill techniques so you can benefit from having the ‘whole picture’. And if you struggle… just ask.

3.    Remember to have fun


Swimming is and should be FUN.  Enjoyment has a direct impact on progress and motivation is definitely a key driver. If your children see you having fun, they’re also likely to learn much quicker and they’ll be confident to make the most of the lessons. And of course, don’t be afraid to sign up to your own swimming lessons.

4.    Don’t give up


Work with what you’ve got – Bad backs, dodgy shoulders, stiff necks - with adults, the ‘end game’ is not always perfect technique it could simply be to spend time in the water with your children. Just remember, the hardest hurdle to overcome is usually to get in the water in the first place. So keep your head high and remember to relax.


In summary…


  • Start very simple and be patient.
  • Have fun – motivation will be the key to success. Keep in mind your next family holiday at the beach…
  • Do not be afraid to say that you do not know something as adults will ask more intelligent questions - use it as a catalyst to learn.

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