Do you have a child who is scared of going into a pool, lake or other body of water?
While it’s not always easy to overcome a fear of water, it is an important first step in learning to swim.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out just how to get started with helping your child over their fear, these six tips can help you start to find ways to introduce water activities to your child in a fun and supportive way.
Try To Understand Their Fear
Water is a powerful and unfamiliar force for some children, and the idea of being in the water can be intimidating and nerve-wracking.
As parents, it’s important to have open conversations with our children to understand their fears and concerns.
By talking to your child and asking them to share their thoughts about being in the water, you can create a safe space for them to express their worries.
It’s crucial to approach the conversation with patience and a willingness to listen.
By doing so, you can better understand their perspective, identify their specific fears, and work together to find ways to gradually overcome their hesitation.
Understanding your child’s fear of water is an important first step in helping them move towards feeling more comfortable and confident in the water.
Introduce Water Slowly
Getting comfortable in the water is something that’s best done in small steps.
Start off by taking your kids to the shallow end of the pool or the shore of the beach to let them get comfortable with the sensation of being partially in the water.
From there, start working on moving into slightly deeper water, and on learning how to dip different body parts into the water.
Finally, you can start working on different swimming techniques, first with a floatation device, and then without one.
By taking it slow and letting your child gradually get more and more comfortable in the water, you’ll be able to make learning to swim a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Enroll Them in Swimming lessons
When it comes to learning how to safely enjoy the water, professional swimming lessons can be a game changer.
Swimming lessons for kids are tailored to help ensure children are comfortable in the water, while also teaching them proper swimming techniques and safety precautions.
Instructors are trained not just to teach children how to swim, but also to help them overcome any fears they have about being in the water.
Having support from a trained professional when learning to swim can make a world of difference for a hesitant child.
And, as an added bonus, swimming lessons are a chance for your child to make new friends and socialize while also learning a valuable life skill.
Practice Positive Reinforcement
Conquering a fear is never easy. That’s why supporting your child’s small successes with plenty of positive reinforcement is a must.
Whether your little one manages to swim a certain difference, submerge themselves completely, or even just jump into shallow water without flinching, take the time to celebrate and praise them for their accomplishments.
Your positive reinforcement can be just the inspiration a child needs to push past their fear and challenge themselves in new ways.
And keep in mind, positive reinforcement is something that will often stay with your child for a lifetime.
Your words of encouragement and praise might just inspire them to tackle even greater challenges in the future!
Make It Fun
While many children love swimming, it’s a simple fact that not all children are naturally drawn to the water. That’s where fun and creative water games can help!
From classic group games like Marco Polo and Sharks & Minnows, to fun one-on-one games like a swimming pool obstacle course or a diving treasure hunt, you’ll be able to turn a simple swim session into a fun and entertaining experience for your child.
It doesn’t take much to take an activity like swimming from mundane to thrilling, so get creative and see what games and activities your little one gets most excited about.
After all, when children are having fun, they’re more likely to stick with something and develop a lifelong love for it.
Keep Safety In Mind
No matter how experienced of a swimmer you are, making sure that you’re taking all necessary safety precautions when introducing your child to the water just makes sense.
Ideally, until your child has overcome their fear of water and mastered the basics of swimming, try to only visit places that have a lifeguard on duty.
You’ll also want to make sure that your child is in properly fitting swimwear, and is using UV-blocking clothing and/or sunscreen to protect from burns.
Knowing how to swim is a valuable, and potentially life-saving skill, so it’s important that your child learns how to be comfortable in the water.
Use these tips to help ensure your hesitant child is able to tackle the basics of swimming, and hopefully also starts to enjoy their time in the water.
With your encouragement and support, they’ll have an easier time learning how to overcome a fear of water, leaving them ready to take part in all the fun that swimming can offer!