Tips for Overcoming the Fear of Water – Top 5
1) Start Small to Overcome Big Fears
Overcoming anything that causes fear will be a journey and must begin with a single step. For example, a fear of the water might be mild and of little consequence. But on the other hand, a fear of the water can be debilitating and life-limiting. So, if your child’s life is negatively impacted by being afraid of the water, start small.
Age-appropriate library books are a great choice and a threat-free way to explore a variety of aquatic environments, including pools, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Be sure to pick books that deliver a positive, fun, and enjoyable storyline! For example, try “Froggy Learns to Swim” by Jonathan London and “Giant the Lion: the Lion Who Could Swim” by Artemisa Guiterrez Laurence!
Take a pool tour without the intention of swimming that day. Instead, explore the various areas, and answer any questions your child may have. Then, without judgment or pressure, try to pinpoint the source of their fear. For some children, it’s a fear of strangers, so meet our fantastic team! For other children, it’s a fear of the bottom so explain how they will always be safe with their instructor.
2) Swimming Lessons at Steve Wallen Swim School
Learning to swim and being water safe when in or near bodies of water eliminates the mystery of the water. Even as adults, we can become fearful of new things, especially when we do not know what to expect. Our expert instructors at Steve Wallen Swim School will never surprise or trick your child. Trust is a significant component of overcoming a fear of the water; avoid tricks, surprises, and sudden changes in activity to build trust.
At Steve Wallen Swim School, each aquatic skill will be introduced when your child is ready! When a child knows how their body will behave in the water, they are more confident about water play. This confidence is needed to learn how to swim. When a child knows how to swim and be water safe, they have the skills necessary to enjoy the water and stay safe!
3) Patience makes the Pool Perfect:
A fear of water is quite common, and with a bit of work, most can overcome their valid concerns and begin enjoying the water. Take some time to break down their fear: is it a fear of drowning? Underwater creatures? A negative experience with an unqualified swim instructor? Knowing precisely what the fear arises from will give you much-needed information to begin to overcome the fear.
You and your child have a lifetime to build your aquatic skills; by being patient and allowing you and your child to progress at your own pace, you will avoid reinforcing any fears.
4) Family Fun: Practice Makes Perfect
As with any skill, the more you practice with your child, the more they will learn and the faster they will develop their skills. The consistent practice also helps them retain what they have learned. When swimming with your children outside of their swimming lessons, we highly encourage you or another trustworthy adult to get in the water with them and practice the skills they are working on. We firmly recommend that you do this without floaties as floaties can create a false sense of security and will not encourage them to learn to swim independently on their own. For more on this, please read our blog “When Should My Child Use Floaties?” By getting in the water with your children, not only are you encouraging a healthy lifestyle by swimming with them, but you are also motivating your children to learn to swim and respect the water. Pool days are an excellent way to build memories and life skills.
Plus, you are introducing your children to a different pool environment and potentially a space they will spend many days swimming with their family and friends; a familiar environment goes a long way to boost anyone’s confidence.
5) Bathtime, blowing bubbles, and big splashes!
Take advantage of bathtime by turning your bathtub into a pool! Bathtime is a great space to add fun and swimming skills to the routine of washing up. Perhaps you have not yet started your little one on their learn-to-swim adventure by having them take lessons. The bathtub offers a wealth of opportunities to increase a child’s comfort level in the water and introduce some basic water safety and swimming skills.
Again, you will want to start gently and progress in small increments. For example, using a small plastic watering can allow your little one to experience getting their head and face wet in the safe, familiar environment of their bathtub. Keep your tone and language light and always reassuring. Move on to another activity if you meet any resistance or unhappiness. Bathtime can be an excellent and encouraging way to foster a love of the water. For more information on this read our blog post “Tub Time is Swim Lesson Time.”