You hope to get your child to learn how to swim, but he or she is afraid of water. It could be due to a traumatic experience with water as a young toddler, or due to a strong sense of survival that makes him or her shun water. How can you help your water-fearing child to learn swimming?
Here are four steps that you can take.
Choosing the right class and coach
It is essential for you to select a class that takes in lesser children to ensure proper supervision and attention for each child. It is also a good idea to let the coach knows in advance that your child is afraid of water. It will help the coach to understand the needs of your water-fearing child better when he or she attends the weekly classes. You should also choose a coach who is experienced in teaching children and is patient with those who are afraid of water.
Edging your child slowly into the water
Talking to the coach before the first lesson is imperative as the coach needs to know how afraid your child is of water. If your child showcases extreme fear at the sight of water, it is vital to explain to the coach and to highlight any traumatic experiences that your child had with water previously. It will help the coach to plan the first few lessons with a slow but steady approach to the water. Your child needs to trust the coach and be comfortable around the water before getting into the water. By allowing the coach to understand the situation, he or she will be better equipped to help your child to overcome the fear of water.
Getting into the water with your child
If your child is insecure and has problems trusting the coach in the first few lessons, consider asking the coach if you could get into the water with your child so that your child has one less concern. If this is not possible in a group class, consider enrolling your child for a one-to-one class for a start, so that your child can have the coach’s complete attention. It would also be perfect for you to get into the water with your child to increase security in water.
Encouraging your child with every milestone
The one thing that you must not do is to scold your child for being afraid. If your child knows that you are upset because he or she is afraid, it will lower his or her self-esteem and confidence in learning how to swim. A negative association between swim lessons and you getting upset can also form, which makes it harder for your child to break the fear of water. Instead, encourage your child with praise and positivity with every milestone, no matter how small. If he or she is willing to get into the water after three lessons, congratulate him or her for a job well done. Such encouragements will go a long way to help your child overcome the fear of water.
It is essential to be patient with your water-fearing child so that he or she is encouraged with each small step taken towards swimming. As long as you work closely with the swim coach, we are sure that your child will soon love the water and enjoy his or her swimming lessons.