Friday, June 25, 2010

Faking it.

Now that summer has started, I live at the pool almost every day.   With swim team and dive team, it is inevitable that I go every day.  Keener  loves going and most spends a lot of time swimming by herself or with the other 2-4 year olds that hang out near the entry steps into the pool.  The main difference is that she is the only one who is able to swim at the age of 3.  Like Rolo, she is 95% self taught.  I learned a lot from Elizabeth and Christopher about how to teach a child to swim.  The biggest mistake that I (and others) make: showing fear.
  Teaching a kid to swim is all about the fake.  You have to pretend that you are not worried about her drowning.  You have to pretend that when she goes under the water and comes up coughing, that your child must have had a wonderful time doing so.  You need to congratulate her on how much fun she must be having.  Tell her that she did a good job putting her face under the water.  Tell her she is a great swimmer. Why?  because, then she will want to do it again.  So how does this work? You have confused your child.  She is thinking "That wasn't very fun, why is Mommy so excited?" Then she becomes interested in making swimming fun.  She has to figure out a way to find the joy.  She also will start to watch the other kids swim and learn from them.  This is not to say that I do not use other swimming devices (the baby swimming ring, the vest, and a swim noodle) to help my kids learn, but "the fake" is my most effective weapon.
    Right now my only problem is the other parents who keep trying to "save" her.  As if I would not be watching my child in the water!  Oh well, they can enjoy their own clinging child pulling down their bathing suit and scratching them to pieces for a few more years, while I enjoy watching mine swim!

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