First Swimming Lesson

Is there anything worse than seeing small children being forced out of there comfort zone around water by their parents?

Any child who has spent more than a few months outside the amniotic Shangri-la, doesn’t react well to having their face underwater. And understandably so. We all share natural instincts that encourage us to avoid circumstances that might endanger our survival (read more about Evolutionary Psychology here; http://www.1millionminutes.com/evolutionary-psychology/). But parents suffer from a conflict of instinctual desires, both of which are very natural.

On one hand, we want to teach our kids to swim because we can take great comfort in knowing they have the skills to survive in water. It’s tempting to throw them in the deep end and have them work it out as quickly as possible. However, if the act of swimming becomes traumatic, the whole learning process can easily go backwards. The subconscious is not something that can be forced into believing we’re safe just because we want it to. Remind yourself of how safe you are on your next roller-coaster ride and see if you’re body reacts accordingly.

With #1MillionMinutes to spare I decided to become swimming teacher for our son but respecting both of these natural desires was a dilemma. On the third trip to the local pool, I was becoming a little bit despondent because he was becoming less and less keen to go underwater by himself. In order to overcome the instinct to stay above water, I tried to find an even stronger instinct to get him under water. Enter – the little pink fish.

Within fifteen minutes of throwing this flashing, diving, self-propelled, packet of chase-me into the water he became a fully-fledged, diving, swimming, merboy. There were a few slips, coughs and splutters but not once did he do anything against his will. Most importantly, he absolutely loves swimming and will now tell anyone who cares to listen how long he can go underwater for.

The nice thing about being conscious about the sub-conscious is that if we understand and accept our instincts, we can certainly use them to our advantage. Much thanks to Grandma who sent this little fish all the way from Canada. Google “robo fish” if you think it might help your little one too.

Posted on February 18, 2016 in Nurture & Invest

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