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Are your kids scared of water … or even just a little nervous to get in? These 5 ways to help your kids get over the fear of water and into the pool are practical and something that you can try today. This is what we had to do with our kids and they worked. I hope that you have the same success!
Our kids have all been scared of the water at some point. Maybe it was more than they were scared to swim, but it then translated into them not wanting to get into “the big pool” and instead wanting to only be in the baby pool… Not that I minded the baby pool, because they could play for several hours on end, in the pool. It was fun to watch them enjoy the water this way. I also didn’t mind holding them in the water (because it always got you a few extra snuggles for the day!)
However… I was ready for them to get in the water, conquer their fear and GO FOR IT to see what they were missing!
Tip 1- Don’t tell them that you will hold them in the water and then let go to try to teach them to swim. I can still remember this fear, even as an adult. It only takes one time of you saying “I won’t let go” and then you DO let go (even while staying close) for your child to stop trusting you.
This happened with our son at swim lessons last year. His instructor told him that she would hold onto him and when she let him go mid-swim, he panicked. That led to him getting out of the pool and not going back in. It was the worst month of swimming following that one incidence. I tell people that we took 2 steps forward and then 6 steps back. Not worth it. (ps- take your child’s personality into account. My niece would probably thrive in a situation like this)
Tip 2- Let them play in all water. Don’t limit it to the pool. Break them into the water more by playing in the splash park, the baby pool, the big pool, the shower, the tub. Bring toys and let them have fun.
Tip 3-Be consistent. I say this because it rings true with just about anything with kids. If you are consistent, they just accomplish more. If you are consistent with reading, they read better. Consistent with math? They can do more. If you are consistent in the pool they will be stronger swimmers.
Maybe try to go every day, if you can, and keep it up for several months. Maybe even a few times a week? You can even find an indoor pool and keep it up year round (maybe 3 days a week?)
Tip 4- Be their cheerleader. Our kids love to show us things “Look, Mom! Watch, Dad!” They want us to see when they blow bubbles in the water, when they get their hair wet, when they can touch the ground. Encourage them by being excited each time.
Tip 5- Don’t be afraid to get outside help. Sometimes you just need a professional, so don’t be afraid to call your local YMCA or find a local swimming coach and ask for help. Chances are that they have some great ideas that you haven’t tried yet!
All in all- you know your child best, but you also know that you need them to get over this fear. Fear can hinder people in so many areas of life. Teach them how it feels to conquer a fear and how to enjoy the water! GO FOR IT! Be their greatest encourager & their greatest cheerleader!