Helping your child conquer their fear of the water

One of our core goals at Splashed! Swim School is to instill a life-long love and respect for the water.

To achieve this, we must help our young beginners to overcome their fear of the water. We want them to feel confident and comfortable in the pool. This will allow them to focus on their lessons, rather than worrying about the boogie man lurking at the bottom of the pool! Our instructors are highly trained in helping kids conquer their fear, but you can help us in this regard. Together, we can make the water an environment they enjoy and are keen to explore.

Gradual exposure to water is essential for those kids that are scared.

Forget about that giant step that takes them from fearful to fearless in a single bound. Instead, lead them through a series of smaller steps e.g. get them to start paddling in the bathtub or a kid’s pool in the backyard with the water level barely above ankle height. This is enough to get them used to the feeling of water, and will give them a sense that they are bigger than the environment and in control. Make sure the water is as warm as possible, because it’s much more relaxing than cold water and your child might actually start to enjoy the feeling of water on their skin.

Once your child is in this shallow, warm water, introduce their favourite toys. The ideal situation is for some toys to float, while others should submerge and stay on the bottom of the bath or pool. This will help your child visually sense what is happening around them.

At this point, you can start pouring small amounts of water over different areas of the body, but make sure you avoid the face until they are ready for it. That’s a big step, and one you don’t want to take too soon! When the child is ready for water on the head, start by pouring over the back of the head and let some of it dribble towards the face. This is a big sensory development, and a huge step to helping your child lose their fear of the water. When you reach this stage, you know you’re getting somewhere!

The best way to help your child overcome their fear of the water is to get them swimming before they develop any fear at all! Splashed! Swim School offers baby swimming lessons for infants from four months to three years and Learn to Swim lessons for children from three to 10 years old. You could say it’s like water off a duck’s back as far as our youngest students are concerned. Kids who start swimming at a very early age develop great affinity with the water and this leads to confidence and competence that will serve them well in the years ahead.

Practice, repetition and regular lessons are the key. Start young and keep doing it! The more time your child spends in the water with our fully accredited instructors, the more comfortable they become. We’ve noticed that a prolonged absence from the pool – during the cooler winter months, for example – can see our young students regress in both skill and confidence. It’s like going back to square one. With our heated pool where children can swim year-round, there’s no need to take a backward step. Together, we can help your child overcome their fear of the water and teach them learn to enjoy it in a safe way.