MissJeanSwimming, fear of going “under”water

Hi, My name is Miss Jean, a master swim instructor in Marin County, Ca.  From 2015, till 2019, I was teaching  groups and privates at Northbridge Recreation Center. During Covid-19 I only in private pools or hot tubs, within a 5 miles radius of my home.  Teaching swimming for over 30 years, it’s my passion. The most common thing I hear from a beginner swimmer is” I am scared of going underwater.” This has many complicated emotions, including flight or fright. These are innate survival skills that have kept humans alive.

Whether I teach infants or adults, this fear doesn’t go away with age. In fact, I find that the longer someone says’s “I CAN’T PUT MY FACE IN” the more cemented it gets. when someone  works on using a positive language of all ages.When I give them permission to be scared and then push them to be braver. I have many comebacks to “I don’t want to go under the water”. For 4 years and older kids, talking about the difference between under and in. Do you look in the refrigerator or under the refrigerator? I like to ask. “Do you ride in the car or under the car? Then I stick to the skills at hand.Being present with each swimmer, or holding space for them, to be scared, is very important in the learning process.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 1.52.24 PMOne of the first challenges to teaching young students is children under 2 don’t understand depth yet. Gibson and Walk (1960)[1] hypothesized that depth perception is inherent as opposed to a learned process. To test this, they placed 36 infants, 6 to 14 months of age, on the shallow side of the visual cliff apparatus. Once the infant was placed on the opaque end of the platform, the caregivers (typically a parent) stood on the other side of the transparent plexiglass, calling out for them to come or holding some sort of enticing stimulus such as a toy so that the infant would be motivated to crawl across towards them.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 1.55.49 PMIt was assumed if the child was reluctant to crawl to their caregiver, he or she was able to perceive depth, believing that the transparent space was an actual cliff.[3] The researchers found that 27 of the infants crawled over to their mother on the “deep” side without any problems.[4] A few of the infants crawled but were extremely hesitant. Some infants refused to crawl because they were confused about the perceived drop between them and their mothers. The infants knew the glass was solid by patting it but still did not cross. In this experiment, all of the babies relied on their vision in order to navigate across the apparatus. This shows that when healthy infants are able to crawl, they can perceive depth.[1] However, results do not indicate that avoidance of cliffs and fear of heights is innate.[1] 

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It has been my experience to teach each child to their wanted ability, which means at my lessons I start with getting in safely, crab walking around the whole pool, bobbing up and down, to show depth awareness. Some kids run and jump in without any hesitating, this has put many parents in the water right after them with their clothes on. “My kid is fearless,” they say. That’s the opposite of course of fear until they almost drown. If that happens to you before you have started swim lessons, try to not feed the fear. I know how scary it is to see a non-swimmer fall or jump into water over their head. But, When the subject comes up, the preferred language to the question, Can I go in the water? Will change from “are you crazy you almost drown when you were a baby!” To “sure let me come with you” or after you take some swim lessons to improve. We do 3 skills 5 or 10 times.

To schedule swim lessons with missjeanswimmng click here. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 2.01.44 PMRegistration Opens April 1st 2021, @ Northbridge Recreation Center. Emails and google calendar are my preferred method of scheduling. I have swim instructors that I work with if you need a recommendation. I teach in private homes and homeowner associations pools. I have 3 million dollars policy and have a purpose to have fun and safety happen at the same time. My rates vary, depending on the time and location of the lessons. I have a facebook page for missjeanswimming which has a shop now button for swim outlet. I get 90% of my equipment from them and 10% from Amazon Prime. I find I repeat myself over and over so this Blog is my therapy. I also have Marin Essential oils on Facebook. Please follow both.

Thanks, Miss Jean