Many infants and children who are early swimmers are challenged by a fear of the water. This is common and this fear may be innate or it may be sustained by a bad memory involving water: for kids, drowning is a very real fear. Whatever the cause, there are steps that parents and instructors can take to help reduce this fear, soothe the child, and encourage greater comfort in the water prior to beginning swim lessons. Here are some tips:

  • Participate in the journey. Get into the bath or the pool with your child and explore together. Your child draws comfort and courage from you. By getting into the water with them, you can help banish those water fears.
  • Start small and build. Don’t try to conquer your child’s fear of water in one dramatic step, work steadily toward your goal. Sit with your child with only feet in the water. Inch in further so that legs are wet – if this takes a couple sessions, go with it. Be vocal and encouraging through every stage.
  • Make it look like fun. Have floating toys, lots of floating toys. If you are in the pool, have swim noodles and a kickboard close at hand to discover and play with. These will help distract your child from their fears.
  • Get face and head wet. This can be the toughest part, as many babies have an aversion to water on their head. Go slowly: use a cup in the bath the gently wet their head and face – there will probably be a little coughing, that’s natural. Work up to blowing bubbles with face in the water, followed by comfortable immersion.

Sometimes children fear the water and need a little extra encouragement. It’s important to start swimming lessons as early as possible to help your child overcome his or her fear of water and start building confidence and comfort. Feel free to contact Texas Swim Academy or stop by our facility to learn more about our swimming programs, including our Survival Swim program.