Tips for Helping your Child Overcome Fear of the Water


Humans are terrestrial beings; we’re not born to swim and our bodies are certainly not designed for it! However, it’s of course possible to train ourselves to swim – and when you live in a country surrounded by water, it’s an important skill to learn.

With swimming being largely unnatural for humans, it’s easy to understand why some children fear the water. Sometimes it’s not even about a bad experience; it’s just innate. The good news is this fear can be overcome and it doesn’t mean your child will never learn to swim or love the water. So, if your child is a little scared of jumping in the pool, what is the best way to set about addressing it? Hint: it doesn’t involve jumping in the deep end.

Recognise their fear

Don’t dismiss your child’s fear; it’s possible to recognise it without feeding it. Showing that you understand their concern and working with them to overcome it helps to build trust and confidence.

Start off slow

When it comes to gaining confidence in the pool, it’s not a sink or swim scenario. Confidence in the water can come about through small steps, bit by bit. If your child isn’t keen to be submerged right away, take it slowly and let them ease into it. Over time, they’ll gain the confidence they need.

Keep it fun

Having fun is a great way to distract from fear – after all, it’s hard to be scared when you’re laughing! Make time in the water enjoyable with plenty of games, and show your child that pool time is something to look forward to rather than dread.

Know when to back off

It may be tempting to push your child that little bit further – to let go of them a little longer in the water than they might like. And while at some stage this might be necessary to show them they can do it and help them to progress, it’s important not to push too soon or before they are ready, as this can lead to further fear through a bad experience – not to mention risking a loss of trust.

Swimming lessons

One of the best ways to help your child overcome a fear of the water is to enrol them in professional swimming lessons. Experienced instructors will be able to assess where your child is at ability-wise, and then help them gain the confidence they need to progress. Plus, swimming lessons are great fun and a good way to meet new friends!

Aquastar Swim Schools offers a Learn to Swim program for all ages and abilities. To find out more about the program, click here.

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