Your three-year-old enjoys taking baths and seems enthusiastic about your family’s forthcoming beach vacation. However, once you arrived at the beach, he was reticent and refused to even put his toes in the sea. Or perhaps your infant enjoyed being gently held in the water, but as she has grown into toddlerhood, the mere suggestion of a trip to the pool has her shouting emphatically, “No!”
You are not alone if these kinds of situations seem familiar to you. Young children frequently have a fear of water, which causes parents to become upset and unclear about how to help their children enjoy the water. Read on to find out some great ways to help your kids overcome their fear of water.
Talking about their Fear
Talking is a basic first step to helping your kids overcome their fear of water. You must comprehend what your child is scared of and where the fear is coming from to assist them in rationalizing their anxiety. Remember that not all children are equally scared of water, and “fear of water” is a broad word.
Some children are comfortable with water but are terrified of getting it in their faces. Some children are terrified of the ocean. Many children can name a specific fear they have, such as the depth of the water or, yes, a terrifying movie. Sometimes, it is just a general dread of water. Together, you can come up with ways to ease your child’s fears once they have expressed them.
For example, my younger children have all had no problem swimming at the pool (thanks in part to Grandma, who is a swim instructor). However, like me, several of my kids have been more hesitant around swimming in lakes because we cannot see the bottom of the lake. I joke that one of my daughters got my active writer’s imagination and it’s easy to picture sharks and sea monsters hiding in those murky waters, ready to grab us and drag us under. Talking this over with my tween has helped her to have more fun both at the lake and while swimming laps to and from the deep end of the pool.
Take Swimming Lessons
Sometimes it is preferable to delegate teaching to other capable adults who have received training on how to assist your kids in overcoming their fears and gaining confidence. It may help to try private lessons and learn with British Swim School when determining what kind of swimming lessons to enroll a child in who is afraid of the water.
Children will probably be in a larger group at a public swimming lesson and might not get a particular attention they require to feel at ease and competent in the water. When it comes to private swimming classes, your child will receive individualized instruction, and the teacher will move at your child’s pace rather than the class’s pace.
Every kid appreciates a cheerleader, especially if it’s their parents doing the cheering. Nothing calms a doubtful disposition like a content, assured parent or caregiver supporting and praising them for each accomplishment, no matter how tiny or significant it may be. Your job as an adult is to stay calm.
Even if your child accidentally goes underwater, make it into a game with encouragement, smiles, and praise rather than letting them think of it as a terrible experience. Your stability will aid in your child’s quicker calming down, and your dedication to optimism will aid in their excelling in their newly acquired swimming abilities.
One thing I’ve seen in chatting with fellow moms is that often the moms who say their children are scared of water admit to disliking water themselves. If mom doesn’t like to put her face in the water, the child will pick up on that. If you as the parent can remain calm and have fun at the pool, and demonstrate that it’s okay to go under the water and to float on your back and to do the other things you want your child to do, then they will be more likely to relax and have fun themselves.
Get Fun Swimming Equipment
For children, being in the center of the pool or too far from the edge can be unsettling, especially if they can’t touch the bottom when they put their feet down. It might be useful for children to wear certain items so they can feel safe and secure when swimming. Give your child a sturdy life jacket in their favorite color, a trustworthy set of goggles in their favorite color, and water wings featuring their favorite character.
Although these swimming accessories are entertaining and bright, they are not toys and cannot ensure your child’s safety and security while they are in the water. Over-dependence on the equipment is the last thing you want to happen. The use of flotation devices should not take the place of direct parental involvement in the fundamentals of swimming.
More Tips to Overcome Fear of Water
There are a few additional methods to help your kid overcome their fear—teaching them how to blow bubbles, for instance. It’s enjoyable and teaches them that water doesn’t go up their nose when they blow bubbles. Explain how to blow bubbles, then practice doing it.
Also, children find it extremely motivating to observe others (older siblings, total strangers, or even animals) having fun and safely enjoying the water. The goal is not to intimidate or coerce your child into doing what others do by saying, “Look, if he can do it, why can’t you?” They should just observe so that, ultimately, their intrinsic drive to learn might develop.
For example, my kids will do anything in the water for my mom. There was a time when one of my younger kids wouldn’t put her face in the water. A few swimming lessons with Grandma got her past that, because while she wouldn’t do it for me, she would do it for Grandma. My mom is practically a fish (or a mermaid) who loves the water, and the kids pick up on her love of swimming and are ready to have fun with her because she’s having fun.
You may miss out on worthwhile experiences if you spend your entire life avoiding water. Because of this, it is crucial to support your kids in overcoming their fear of water, and perhaps this article has given you some ideas on how to do so.
How have you helped your kids overcome their fear of water?
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