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What are you afraid of? Public speaking? Spiders? Darkness?

Fears are not only a waste of energy, but they can become physically unhealthy and mentally exhausting! Overcoming fears can make all the difference in the world in gaining confidence and reaching our full potential. If water (or swimming) happens to be your fear…then overcoming your fear COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE! 

Fear of water in children can develop from a bad swimming experience, or simply a fear of a new and different environment. Maybe it is a child’s first experience away from mom or dad. Maybe the fear has been “gifted” to them by a parent who is also afraid of the water. Regardless of what’s causing the fear, it’s important to address it.

Houston has too many bodies of water and a drowning rate that is WAY too high for its residents not to know how to swim! You may say, “But, my child is ‘different’…he is REALLY scared to get his face wet”… “She is ‘never’ around water because I, too, am afraid of water”… “He screams every time we give him a bath”!  We’ve heard it all…we’ve seen it all…we’ve conquered it all! 

Instructors at Houston Swim Club are all trained and equipped to handle fearful kiddos.  We do it on the daily and we are good at it! I mean, really good!  We see LOTS of children every year who are truly scared. We know their faces, their cries, and their body language. We can tell them apart from the child who is crying because they are mad, or sad. We can tell them apart from the child who is refusing to do a skill just because they are being stubborn. We treat them differently because their learning process is different than that of a child who isn’t afraid. But we can still teach them!

Mr. Charlie, an Instructor at HSC for over 10 years, remembers one child in particular who was especially fearful. “Daniel was seven years old and didn’t even want to sit on the side of the pool…much less get into the water! Neither of his parents had ever learned to swim.  His paternal grandparents began telling him as a toddler to stay away from the water so he knew it was scary!  But a close relative of the family had recently had a drowning accident, so his parents decided that it was time to break the cycle before another accident occurred. 

He was so afraid that we had to arrange to teach him privately instead of in our regular group classes. We definitely took things MUCH slower than we usually did. He required much more tender loving care from me to earn his trust.  Once I was able to get that trust, though, I was able to show him how fun and comfortable the water really was! It was the most rewarding experience to watch him learn more and gain more confidence every day!” 

Here are some tips for teaching fearful kiddos to swim:


According to Psychology Today, “when you avoid something that scares you, you tend to experience a sense of failure. Every time you avoid a feared object or situation, your anxiety gains strength while you lose some.”


Have your child blow bubbles into the water using his or her mouth. An easy way to start in the comfort of your own home is by practicing in the bathtub. Then you can progress to having them get into the pool with you and showing them how to blow bubbles. If they are afraid to enter the water, you can have them lay on the edge of the pool and blow bubbles without being fully submerged. 


These tools can give your child a false sense of security and will lead them to develop the habit of not going in the water without the aids.


Let the experts handle it.  While I have taught thousands of other people’s children to swim, I did NOT teach my own. Why? Because, as their mom, it was too hard for me to “make them” do something they didn’t want to do.  And, like most children, they will do and perform better for others than they do for me! 


The American Academy of Pediatrics website states, “Everyone should learn to swim - participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning death by 88%”. Dr. Jeffrey Weiss, the lead author of a policy statement on water safety and swim lessons released by the group in 2010, noted:

“Children need to learn to swim, but even advanced swimming skills cannot ‘drown-proof’ a child of any age. Parents must also closely supervise their children around water and know how to perform CPR.”

Would you be able to save your child if he or she was drowning? If you are afraid of water, how can you properly supervise your children? How can you protect your child if you can’t protect yourself?

Let us help you and your child overcome the fear of water while also helping them to become comfortable, confident and, most importantly, a SAFER swimmer! Don’t waste anymore of your energy or your child’s energy on the fear of swimming! Fear of water is real and common, but Houston Swim Club is here to help you and your child!


Written by: Tammy Schoen, Director at HSC – Sugar Land

Feb 4, 2019
"Swim Lessons" 

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