As many of you may know, I teach swimming lessons at the local YMCA. I primarily teach young children (6 months to 6 years), but I also work with elementary age children, as well as special needs children, both in group and private settings.
Unfortunately, a lot of children I work with in private lessons are terrified of the water, and are older, but never learned to swim. It's very important to get children comfortable with the water at an early age, so they aren't the 7 year old who won't get their ears wet or the 12 year old who can't do a back float. Also, if your child is afraid of the water, and you are taking them to swim lessons, do their teacher a favor and trim their nails :p.