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From Fear to Fun: How to Help Your Toddler Overcome Their Fear of Water

Nothing brings joy like watching your children splash and giggle in the pool. Water activities are a childhood staple and they provide incredible opportunities for you to bond with your child with some family fun.

But what if your child finds the water to be intimidating? The good news is that with a little patience, encouragement, and a few fun activities, you can help them become confident swimmers.

If your toddler has a fear of water, we’re here to help. In this blog, we’ll explore how you can help them overcome their fears in eight ways.

Why Are Some Toddlers Afraid of The Water?

There are plenty of reasons why toddlers are afraid of water. But primarily, their fear comes from their growing awareness. 

Toddlers at this age are becoming increasingly aware of the world around them. They’re cautious of new situations and places, including large bodies of water. Since they have yet to develop the skills to put their fears into perspective, they can’t rationalize them.

How to Help Your Toddler Overcome Their Fear of Water

It’s natural to feel a little loss when your kid is afraid of large bodies of water. But don’t fret; here are eight strategies you can try:

Acknowledge Their Fear

Dismissing your child’s fear could intensify the anxiety they’re feeling. Instead o fdoing that, validate and acknowledge their feelings with affirming statements. 

Take the time to talk to them and reassure them that it’s normal to be afraid of water. You can even share your experience if there was a time when you were scared of the pool or lake. Let them know that you’re here to help them overcome their fears. 

You can also ask them where their fear is coming from. They may not be able to pinpoint the exact reason why they’re afraid of the water, but they should be able to give you a good idea of what scares them so you can have a good conversation around their fears.

Take Your Time

If you want to get your kid gently used to the water, try gradual immersion. It’s an effective approach that eases them into the experience step by step.

You can start by letting them dip their toes in the pool. Practice kicking together – first going slow and then going fast. You can even play one of our favorite games – red light/green light – to kick and splash together! 

Once they start feeling more comfortable, encourage them to submerge their legs. Afterward, ask them to go in until the water hits their waist. Most swimming pools will have steps or a built-in ledge to allow for gradual introduction into the water.

This approach allows them to overcome their fears at their own pace.

Make The Experience Fun

If you want your toddler to have a positive association with water, you must make the experience fun. 

Start with water play at home. Give your toddlers toys they can play with in the bathtub. You can also play confidence-boosting games with them, like blowing bubbles in the water. 

Join Them in The Water

Some toddlers feel more confident and safe in the water when they have their parents with them. If this is the case for your child, make it a bonding experience by joining them. 

Once your toddler starts to feel more comfortable around water, take them out to a pool. You can carry them around or hold their hand as they play in the shallow areas.  

We offer Family Swim for all our enrolled families to give them the chance to have fun together, and reassure their safety with parents in the water.

Make Them Feel Safe

Another excellent way to help your toddler overcome their fear of water is by making them feel safe. Colorful swimming equipment can make them feel secure in unfamiliar environments.

We recommend buying them a pair of colorful goggles or a set of floaties with their favorite characters in them. These cute accessories will not only help them feel more secure, but they’ll also help keep them safe. And it will be exciting for them to pick out something to use in the pool! 

It’s important to remember that flotation devices can’t always keep your toddler safe. Children must always be under supervision of a parent or guardian.

Praise Them

Even as they start getting used to the water, it’s important that you praise them for their hard work and bravery. Your encouragement means a lot to your child. It could turn a misstep into a learning experience. 

For instance, if water gets into your child’s nose, don’t panic. Walk them through it and compliment them. Let them know that they did great. These small phrases will help build their morale as they learn how to overcome their fears.

Be Realistic

Depending on the severity of your toddler’s fear of water, overcoming it may take a while. There’s no way to guarantee they’ll overcome their fears overnight. Setting realistic expectations will make this process easier for you and your child. 

Take Breaks

It’s common for toddlers to feel frustrated and scared of unfamiliar situations. When this happens, it’s important to stay patient. Your frustration could make them feel even more uncomfortable. 

If you think your child is starting to feel upset or frustrated, take a break. Get them out of the pool and let them rest for a while. Let them take a nap or give them a healthy snack so that they can recharge. Bear Paddle’s clubhouses offer games and activities for kids to enjoy when they need a short break from the water.

Breaks are important as it keeps the experience positive and enjoyable for your kid.

Enroll Them in Swimming Lessons

Swimming lessons can do wonders in helping your toddler conquer their fear of water. Specially trained instructors create a safe and supportive environment where your toddler can overcome their fears. 

Most lessons start with focusing on water safety skills before learning swim strokes. This approach ensures your child feels safe in the water, and not overwhelmed by learning too much at once.

Additionally, being around other children learning to swim normalizes the process. Their presence makes things less scary for your toddler.

Ultimately, it’s the perfect environment for helping your child overcome their fears. 

Teach Your Toddler How to Be Fearless Today

If you’re looking for a safe and effective way to help your toddler with their fear of water, look no further than Bear Paddle. 

Bear Paddle offers comprehensive swim programs for children of all ages. We have group lessons that allow your toddler to have fun with other kids their age and private lessons for one-on-one sessions.

Our experienced instructors are here to help create the perfect setting for children to embrace the joy of swimming. Bear Paddle’s lessons incorporate fun-filled activities, like our story-based exercises, that your kid will enjoy.

Whether your child is a beginner or needs support, these lessons are tailored to help them build confidence. Don’t let fear keep your child from having fun, try a Complimentary Swim Lesson as the first step to exploring our swim program.

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