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4 easy ways to help your child get over their fear of water

It is not uncommon for some children to develop a fear of the water, and the reason for it can often be a mystery to parents. If your child is exhibiting fear around water, you may never truly understand why, but the good news is that there are things you can do about it.

It may take some time, however with a bit of patience and plenty of gentle encouragement you can help your little one overcome this problem and become confident and happy in the water. Here are some great techniques you can also use to give them an extra helping hand.

Child afraid of swimming

Start small

A swimming pool, even a small one, can be overwhelming to any child, so it’s a great idea to start with something small. And what could be better than a bath? Bath time should always be a fun and relaxed experience and, if you master this, then the idea of your child enjoying the swimming pool will suddenly seem much less pie in the sky.

Introducing lots of toys, bubbles and entertainment can help alleviate your child’s concerns and teach them that the water is both safe and enjoyable. And, if your little one is still unsure, you can always sit in the bath with them to begin with for a little extra reassurance.

Focus on the fun

When a child has a recurring fear of anything it is very important to focus more on encouraging fun than drawing attention to the fear itself. This is not to say that you should disregard or belittle the fear, but making a big fuss can be detrimental to the rehabilitation process.

Instead, use toys, bottles, cloths and anything fun to get them interacting with water in as many different ways as you can. Watering cans are a brilliant example of a simple water toy; encouraging them to pour the water over themselves and get their faces wet is a great way to slowly diminish the fear. Plenty of praise when they try new things is also an incredibly effective tool here.

Use floats and buoyancy aids

A very common reason for fear of the water in children is feeling unsafe. This is where floats and buoyancy aids can provide temporary assistance and support whilst they build their confidence.

There are plenty of different options to choose from such as float jackets, float suits and the ever popular SwimFin. Many of these products are adaptable and feature individual floats which can be gradually removed as your child gains confidence.

Finding the product which suits your little one the best may take a little trial and error, but their effect on a child’s sense of security in the water can be truly striking and so it is well worth pursuing.

Build swimming into their life

Ultimately the best way to eliminate fear is to regularly face it, and so building frequent swimming trips into the family routine is an effective strategy. Getting used to swimming pools as opposed to the bath is a big step, so plenty of exposure to this experience is essential and will help your child acclimatise more quickly.

Of course, it is important to take things slowly here and not to force them into taking the plunge. Don’t be afraid of spending your session simply sitting with them at the edge of the pool; this is still progress. Again, plenty of praise can go a long way when encouraging cautious children to take new steps, so be ready with lots of positive reinforcement whenever you visit the pool.

Remember, many childhood fears do eventually pass as they grow older and learn more about their world. Helping them along the way can be very frustrating for parents, but if you persevere with these techniques you’re sure to see gradual - and very rewarding - improvements.

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