Thursday, August 06, 2009

Successfully Teaching our Daughter to Swim

We've had our daughter in swim lessons since she was 18 months old in 2006. Her first lessons were getting in the pool with mom and, most recently, she has been taking group and individual lessons. She had learned some basic skills, such as holding her breath, floating, and kicking her legs. However, when we tried to get her to swim from one parent to another, she didn't want to do it. It was frustrating since I was pretty sure she had the ability to swim short distances.

To help the situation, I thought about when I was learning to swim. To the best of my recollection, it only took one summer for me to become a swimmer. The only difference was that I was a bit older, perhaps five to seven years old. As a result, I was able to stand up in the shallow section of the pool, which our daughter is still not tall enough to do. Thus, she worried about taking a mouth full of water if she failed to swim. Perhaps, I thought, she would learn to swim in the section of the pool where she could stand on her own.

I tested my hypothesis a couple weeks ago by taking her to a section of the pool that was only 2-1/2 feet deep. Because she could stand on the bottom, she was swimming the 7 foot distancewithin a few minutes. After a while, I took her to the 3-1/2 section and she continued to swim reaching distances of about 10 to 15 feet. I then taught her how to jump off the bottom to get air and she practice for a few minutes. Within a couple days, she was swimming across the 3-1/2 pool, which was about 20 feet long.

I was pleased to have figured out that fear of the deeper water was the factor that kept our daughter from learning to swim. Although she still has a lot to learn, I feel we've made great progress, at a much lower effort and cost :-), with the insight I had about water depth.

For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

This is not financial or swimming advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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