Tips for Parents
Parents can change attitudes and feelings in their children
Take the instance where a child falls while playing. Often the child will immediately look to the parent or care taker. If the parent looks panicked and alarmed then the child will cry. Given the same accidental fall, if the parent indicates, "you are o.k. -No problem", the child will get up, dust himself off and resume playing.
Parents must be patient and creative in getting the child to perform the skills
Changing attitudes will probably take a lot of patience. You, the parent, know things that will motivate your child. Some things will work and some may not. Creating activities that result in learning will give you a great feeling as well as get your child on the way to swimming.
TIME! It takes time working with your child to create the trust and to transition the child to enjoy the water
It probably won't happen overnight. Enjoy the fun and plan for hands-on practice in and out of the bathtub. Be ready to set aside time for both parents and siblings when possible. Start weeks before lessons and be repetitive.
Support the system
If the child says, "I hate water," you need to say, "You love swimming, you just don't know it yet." If you are not comfortable yourself in the water, do not let it show. If the child is aware of your fear, explain that your fear is a reason for your desire for him/her to definitely learn to swim.
Commit your child to stick out the program
Be ready to reinforce the commitment. List in writing reasons why the child must complete the learning. Remind the child of the values of learning to swim and of all the fun he/she will have in the water. Prepare yourself for peace of mind as the child gains skill in the water.
Develop the "adult" side of the child
Help the child become responsible by giving them responsibility. The responsibility should be age appropriate. It may be as simple as putting their cup in the sink every day for a two-year old. The more responsible a child has become, the easier it is for them to assume the responsibility for swimming. A child having self esteem will accept the responsibility to splash his feet and hold on to a kickboard. Other responsible activities may be picking up toys, dressing himself and carrying his own swim bag with towel and clothes.