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3 Strategies To Help Your Kids Overcome Their Fear Of The Water

A fear of swimming is common among children. The water represents something unknown and outside of their usual experience. Unfortunately, too many parents think that the cure for this fear is to throw the child into the deep end. If you want your child to actually enjoy being in the water, your efforts will have to be a bit more subtle. Consider the following three strategies as ways to help your child overcome his or her fear of the water.

Take It Slow

If you want to ensure that your child will have a lifelong fear of the water, all you have to do is force him or her into the pool. The lessons learned early in life will stick with anyone, and those who learn to be afraid of the water tend to stay that way. As such, the best way to help your child to overcome his or her fear of the water is to take things slowly.

While you might be a bit impatient, try to look at things from your child’s perspective. Each step they take towards the water involves overcoming a major fear. If all your child can do for now is dip a toe in the water, that’s fine—it’s a step towards where he or she needs to be. Let your child progress at his or her own reasonable pace.

Make It Fun

Make sure you aren’t forcing your child into swimming. Instead of making it something he or she must do, make it something that’s actually fun. Try to focus on the fact that it’s a great activity that his or her friends or siblings enjoy. Put the focus on the fun instead of the fear so your child will seek out the water.

The best way to do this is to hang back and let the child observe. Take him or her somewhere where other children are playing, but don’t force him or her into the water. Let the child see that others are having a great time and that they are not in any kind of danger. Once your child observes other children in the water, he or she will be able to start making progress. It might not work right away, but it will plant a seed.

Get Lessons

Finally, you’ll want to bring in some professional help to cut through some of the major fears. While you might be the person who is usually able to soothe your child, many children don’t listen to their parents when it comes to the water. By taking your child to a swim school you will be able to let professionals work with them. Having someone around who has dealt with the fears of dozens of children and successfully coached them is a great way to take at least a little of the pressure off of yourself.

Make sure the teacher you find is the right fit for your child. You probably don’t want someone who is used to coaching competitively, for example, if your child is terrified of going near the pool. Finding a good teacher who can help your child move towards the water and learn to enjoy swimming can be a little difficult, but it is also incredibly rewarding.

Helping your child deal with a fear of water isn’t always quick, but it is possible. If you are committed to doing things the right way you should be able to avoid some of the traumas that stay with children as they age. Make sure to go at their pace, to focus on having fun, and to find a teacher who is willing to nurture your child’s growing skills. If those three factors are met, your child will eventually learn to love being in the water.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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