Swimming is part and parcel of our lives, from the time we are young, to the time we are in school. It is a completely social activity with immense physical benefits and to not have it in the arsenal of talents is like going through life slightly handicapped. But what we are talking about today is the area of phobias and fears. During a child’s initial mental development, the normal faculties of cognitive thought, rationale thinking and the critical thought process are not available to him or her. They operate their learning based on emotion and the subconscious mind, which is much more exposed and aware at this early stage.
When we reach adulthood, we are fully into a mode of thinking that does not allow such emotional ‘learning’ as easily as it would be if we were children. This is because our internal defence mechanisms have been developed to their full extent. We can think rationally, we can dissect situations and apply thought and memory to them and come out with explanations. As children, these do not happen. They thing and react based on a subconscious level of mental absorption, which often involved processes like association. The only time when this can happen when we are adults is when we experience something as drastic as trauma, which involves such explosive emotions that penetrate the conscious mind and go straight to the subconscious.
When talking about children, they need to develop the association of ‘fun, family and love’ with the water at an early age, which is all the tents of kids swimming lessons. When they are able to do that, then any possibility of them developing a fear of the water is greatly reduced. Because swimming lessons normally involve the involvement of parents and loved ones (especially when it comes to toddlers and early age classes), the association of love is strong and the memories and mental associations that develop together with this is all positive. Fear of the water develops when a child is exposed to elements of danger and discomfort from an early age and the subconscious traps these associations and emotions and carries them to adulthood. This is one of the most tangible psychological benefits of kids swimming lessons and why they are so crucial to proper development. Add to that the obvious physical benefits, and you have a winner.