Child Afraid Of Water? 3 Baby-Steps To Help Them Conquer This Fear

Posted on: 18 June 2015

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If you have decided it is time for your child to learn how to swim, but he or she is afraid of swimming pools and other bodies of water, then it can be best to ease your child into embracing water before lessons begin. While swimming instructors can work one-on-one with your child to help ease fears, it is best to start tackling this fear before lessons start, so your child can pay attention to learning swimming techniques when class begins. Follow these steps to help your child eliminate his or her water-fear, so they can be ready to learn floating and swimming techniques while having fun at class instead of fearing each lesson. 

1. Figure out the Root Cause of the Fear

Not every fear stems from a rational cause, especially in children. Many parents assume that children afraid of water have a fear of drowning, but the possibility of drowning may not have even crossed your child's mind yet. The most common reasons for fearing water differ among children in different age groups, and while one child may fear deep-sea monsters lurking underwater, another may fear the drains in pools or the potential of snapping crabs in lakes. 

Once your child explains why they fear oceans or pools, you can then help them conquer their fears much more easily. If their fear is of monsters or getting sucked into drains, then you then know that your work may end with explaining to them that fairy tales have make-believe creatures or explaining to them how a "scary" part of a pool is really there to help them have clean water and not to harm them in any way. 

2. Begin Desensitizing if the True Fear is Water

If you find out your child's fear really is of water and not monsters or pool equipment, you can begin taking steps to desensitize them from this fear. Exposure therapy is often used by psychologists to help people of all ages conquer different fears, and it can work for a fear of water. 

While there are many ways you can use this technique with your child, it is important to take it small-step-by-small-step and not traumatize your child by making them immediately enter the "deep zone" of a pool or anything that could actually make them fear water even more. 

It can be great to start in your back yard with a small kiddie pool. Let your child sit in the empty pool while you fill it up a few inches while allowing them to tell you when to shut off the water hose. Let them play in just the few inches for the first few sessions, then suggest how much fun it would be to add a few more inches to play in. 

Once your child is used to being fully immersed in water in a "safe zone", like your back yard, suggest a trip to a local pool or lake and play with your child in the shallow end. 

3. Inform Your Child's Swimming Instructor of His or Her Progress Overcoming Fear

Once your child begins embracing water play instead of dreading it, ask him or her if they think swimming lessons would help them have more fun with the other children they may see swimming while they are playing in the water. If they agree, then you know you have made great progress in helping your child conquer their fear. 

When you schedule swimming lessons for your child, make sure all instructors are aware of your child's fear and progress, so they can be sure to give your child the personalized attention he or she needs. 

If your child fears large bodies of water, realize this is a common fear that can be overcome. Don't be tempted to let your child grow up without learning to swim, as knowing how to swim could not only save their life one day if a natural disaster strikes, but it is great fun and exercise they can enjoy the rest of their life. When your child is an adult, he or she will thank you for making sure they learned how to swim when they were young. Check out the site here for more info on swimming and lessons.