2 main roadblocks for learning how to swim are sensitivity to water on the face and the feeling of buoyancy. Sensory sensitivity is the fundamental reason why it is difficult to learn to swim.
It’s very important to begin orientating your child to the water as early as 6 months.
Babies are born with a swimming reflex that begins to dissipate at 6 months. This reflex is a natural reaction to submersion and the baby will instinctively hold their breath as well kick their feet. Babies can’t actually swim; however, you can condition behaviors that will help orientate them to the water and increase their chances of surviving an accidental submersion.
If you remember learning to swim chances are you remember it to be a challenge. However, if you barely even remember swimming lessons there is a high probability you started your learn to swim journey when you were under the age of 2.
When a child begins swimming lessons before they can walk their muscle memory will be more conducive to stability in the water and they are unlikely to panic while swimming underwater. The key to instilling behaviors that can save your baby's life and help them learn to swim faster is consistent practice as a parent outside of a lesson environment.
The first behavior your child must master is to never enter the water or jump off a wall unless they have been cued to enter. Always, count to three before entering the water. Always, work from the stairs or wall and have your child turn back to where they started.
You want to condition your child to return to the wall or stairs after they swim to you.
Don’t allow your student to enter the water or jump off a wall unless they have been cued to enter. Count to 3 before entering the water and every time you leave the stairs or wall. Make sure to turn the child right back to where they started every time!