While most kids in the summertime have fun splashing and playing in the water, there are a select few who avoid the pool like the plague. One of the most common phobias that children have is the fear of water, which is also known as aquaphobia. Here are a few ways you can help a child who is afraid of water to feel more comfortable with it.
There are many reasons why your child may have developed a fear of water, and you can help by not pressuring them to do something that they are afraid of. Pressuring someone, especially a child, isn’t going to help. If anything, it can make their phobia worse. Facing a fear is difficult, so give your child time to prepare themselves. You can show them ways to make water seem less scary by demonstrating how to blow bubbles in the water. It’s okay to give advice and words of encouragement, but do not force the child to do anything.
Once you have calmed your child’s fear, it’s important to teach them the importance of swimming. This is easily done by taking them for swimming lessons. Children have shown to be able to learn how to swim as early as the age of one. It’s important to start as soon as they’re able to; however, it might not be as easy due to their fear of water. If your child is afraid of water, try waiting a few days before attempting swimming lessons. Do everything you can to ease them into it by touching the water and showing them that it’s not going to hurt them.
Use of Flotation Devices
You’ll probably need to put a flotation device on your child before putting them into a body of water for the first time. However, flotation devices can do more than save lives. They can help reduce the child’s fear of water by showing them what they’ll be able to do once they’ve mastered swimming. Don’t rely on these devices every time your child gets in the water so they don’t get a false sense of security, but use them as a way to get your child to put their body in the water and start to become comfortable with it.
As a parent, it’s important to keep yourself involved during the whole process. When a child is afraid of something, they feel vulnerable and instinctively look to you for support. If you force swimming lessons and put them in the water against their will, it’ll not only worsen their fear, but it will also cause them to lose trust in you. It’s not recommended to hold your child’s hand during the whole process, but positive reinforcement and encouragement can certainly make things easier.
While being afraid of the water may seem silly to you, it’s important to remember that this fear is larger than life for small children. If your child has aquaphobia, remember to follow these tips, and they’ll be swimming to their heart’s content in no time.
Here’s another article you might enjoy: 3 Less-Common Swimming Problems and What to Do About Them