Overcoming the Fear of Swimming Lessons
Swimming can be very scary, during the first swimming lesson. Some kids come to swimming lessons after having a bad experience in the water before, which makes it even more frightening. And, of course, freezing up and panicking is the worst thing you can do in the water, as it makes you far more likely to drown. So how do you overcome your fear of swimming and get comfortable in the water?
Make it fun
The biggest, most important thing to do is make it fun. When you are having fun, you are relaxing. When your body is relaxed, it is easier to float.
Bubbles are inherently fun. Learning to blow bubbles is also a really important step in getting over any fear of water. When you blow bubbles, your body gets more relaxed. You are actually breathing very slowly, like in meditation or yoga, but you don’t think about it because you are too busy focusing on the bubbles.
When you learn to blow bubbles, you also learn to keep from getting water in your nose. Of course, simply holding your breath is often enough to keep water from going up your nose, but blowing bubbles helps to focus your senses on pushing the air out of you rather than letting anything in.
For older learners, you can learn to float by holding on to the side of the pool and letting your body extend outward horizontally. The more fat you have, the more easily you will float, since fat is less dense than water but muscle is denser than water. This is not intended as any body judgment, since every body can benefit from swimming. It is simply an observation about the dynamics of water and the characteristics that help people learn to float with confidence.
For children, instructors can help little ones learn to float by supporting their body under the arms and gliding them gently through the water. The horizontal position can be a little bit intimidating at first, as it is not something that people usually do on solid ground, but getting familiar with it can help learners of all ages get more comfortable with being in the water.
You can also float on your back, which takes a leap of faith to learn but is an important survival skill. Lay on your back and fill your lungs with air. The air in your chest will pull your body to the surface of the water. Extend your arms out and relax your head. In an emergency situation, you can float like this for a much longer time than you could actively tread water to keep your head above the surface.