You’ve read the articles, and you understand that helping children overcome a fear of water is important to your child’s growth. You know that drowning is a leading cause of death among children. You also know that swimming lessons teach children how to be safe around water and give them valuable survival skills. The only problem is your child is terrified of water.
Don’t worry. Swimming lessons are still an option! Many children have a fear of water, but they can become strong, confident swimmers. They just need a little help.
Listen To Your Children
As an adult, it can be frustrating when it seems like your children are being held back by irrational fears. It’s important to remember that a fear of water is very real to your child, and it’s not at all irrational. After all, water can be deadly.
Take the time to listen to your child and find out exactly where the fear lies. You may find that the fear isn’t of the water itself but of creatures they think maybe in it. Maybe your child is uncomfortable in groups. Maybe the rushing water of a river seems scary, but pools are okay. It also could be that the real fear is that the water is cold.
What’s important is to validate your child’s fear, rather than dismissing it. Then, you can begin to work past it. That applies when your child is afraid of the water itself, too.
Take It Slow
Along with listening to your children and validating their fears, you need to exercise patience. Do not force your child to get into the water. Take it slow.
You can start by just visiting water. Maybe you have a family picnic near a lake. Or you can just sit by the edge of the pool. If your child has older siblings, watching them playing in the water may make it more tempting. Help your child feel comfortable near the water before they get into it.
Once your child is feeling better about being close to the water, you can try getting into the water. A visit to the beach can be fun. Your child can walk with you just at the edge of the water and pick up seashells while the waves just barely touch their feet. Or you can splash in the shallow end of the pool with some interesting toys.
You can work on moving farther into the water and blowing bubbles when your child feels ready. Remember, everything should be a fun experience. Nothing should be forced.
The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that children take swimming lessons, even if they are scared, and points out that lessons should begin with helping children feel comfortable in the water. A good swim school will include parental involvement for young children and will begin by simply having children get used to getting their faces wet and doing things like blowing bubbles.
Remember, when you choose a swim school, the advice about nothing being forced still applies. If an instructor is forcing your child into the water, find another school. Lessons should build gradually upon earlier skills and should be age-appropriate. Parents should be able to observe, and they should be in the water with younger children.
At Bear Paddle Swim School, we offer a gradual progression through swim levels. Our pool is always warm, and our purification process leaves water gentle to the skin and eyes. We offer a fun environment with a clubhouse viewing area. Bear Paddle swim school for kids will make every effort to ensure you and your child feel welcomed and comfortable.
We also encourage you to take advantage of our family swim. It provides an opportunity for you and your children to spend quality time together and work on their skills. Making swimming a fun family activity will help your children get past their fears.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your child overcome the fear of water or swimming, contact us today.