As a parent, you want your child to be comfortable and have fun in the water, learn to swim and enjoy the many benefits swimming brings to the body and mind.
Some children take to the water right away: they love to splash their arms and legs, don’t mind when their face gets wet and even jump into the water fearlessly. But your child may have a different attitude towards water and swimming…they may not get excited to go to the pool or may even be resistant to it.
Before they begin to actually learn to swim, children have to become comfortable in the water.
Here Are 7 Steps To Help A Child Become Comfortable In The Water:
Prepare the scared child mentally before going swimming. Bring a few toys that your child likes to the pool. Reassure your child you will hold them all the time and they’ll always have their head and shoulders above the water.
Once you get to the pool, allow children some time to sit on the edge of the pool and observe the environment. Do not insist they should go into the water right away. Never force them to get in.
Encourage your child to let you hold them in the water for 5 seconds only. Assure them you will hold them tight then bring them back out, on the edge of the pool. Take your child in, count to 5 then put them back on the wall. This shows your child that you will not force them to stay in the water longer than they want to and helps them gain more trust. Do this a few times and praise your child for trying.
Next, throw a toy in, not too far. Ask your child to come to you and remind them you will hold them tight to go get the toy. Then bring them back to the wall. Do this a few times. Each time throw the toy a bit farther. Again, praise your little one.
While in the water, refrain from bouncing your child up and down strongly. Hold them in whatever position is most comfortable for them and walk slowly through the water.
Do not ask the scared child to swim with any floatation devices. You, the parent, know that the floats will help them stay up — however the child doesn’t trust that yet. Children afraid of water want to be held by you tightly and feel safe.
Refrain from getting the child’s face wet and even from asking them to kick their legs or scoop their arms yet. Your first goal is to help your child become very comfortable with you holding them while walking slowly through the water.
Once your child is very comfortable with the 7 steps described above, they are ready to move on to the next step. To help your child with the next step, watch our FREE lessons and videos on how to help children become confident in the water and learn to swim on their own.