4 Ways to Boost a Child’s Confidence in the Water

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For many children, learning to swim is a rite of passage. Whether they learn in a creek, lake or backyard pool, a child’s first solo swim is a memorable occasion. Yet, even though GUM’s neighborhood kids live in a city completely surrounded by water, many don’t know how to swim. “Because our kids live on an island, it’s crucial they learn to swim,” says Children’s Coordinator Dylan Maxwell. “Knowing children can handle themselves in the water also gives parents a sense of security.”

To help our children learn to swim, Lasker Pool’s Senior Guard Sarah Hayes is gifting nine scholarships to GUM this summer. Our kids are spending nearly 50 hours in the pool and they’re having a ball. The staff team at Lasker Pool do an amazing job and love our kids. We are so grateful!

“Because our kids live on an island, it’s crucial they learn to swim.”

GUM volunteers Liz Wilson and Pam Rose assist Dylan with the summer swim program. Each morning they gather the children, share breakfast and play games until lessons begin. The two women have really bonded with the children and they understand each unique personality. Below, they share 4 ways to boost a little one’s confidence in the water.

Practice Patience. Our children can’t wait to jump in, yet we review safety instructions before anyone enters the pool. Making safety a priority and having simple rules helps our kids stay focused. Even with a small group, each child waits their turn so we use this time to practice patience and encourage each other. Ultimately, getting into the pool is the best reward for patience!

Inspire Joy. Swimming is pure joy for our kids. The minute they get into the water they start grinning. Each child is anxious for lessons to start and a bit disappointed when it’s time to get out and dry off. The staff at Lasker Pool do a great job at making the lessons fun and interesting. If children are enjoying themselves, they stay engaged and are excited to master the basics.

Be Encouraging. This sounds like a no-brainer to adults, yet children don’t often pay attention to each other when learning something new. They tend to focus on themselves and getting it right. So, we lead the kids in encouraging each other. They become each other’s cheerleaders and their excitement is contagious. You can sense the pride in each child when it’s their turn; even when they don’t get it right the first time, they can’t wait to try again. It’s truly heartwarming to watch & listen to a group of children encouraging each other.

Trust God. A relationship with God can alleviate a child’s fears and inspire confidence. While approaching the pool for the very first time, seven-year-old Riley exclaims to no one in particular, “I know I can swim!” Without hesitation she plunks her toes into the water and declares “I can put my head under water because God is with me. I prayed and know He’s watching me.” Without another word, Riley confidently plunges into the water and doesn’t look back.

Kellianne Vallee Murphy