Updated: Mar 24
Firstly, on a reassuring note to parents, this is a very, very common issue to have children who dislike being in water. Now while there is a temptation to cast them as land animals and accept that is who they are, they reality is that they are not scared of the water but it is just that they are still growing their water confidence and have not allowed themselves to enjoy it yet.
Learning to feel safe and comfortable in the water can take time for children. Some will voice their discomfort more assertively than others, but the common issue to be resolved is that they are not yet feeling safe in the water.
There are 3 simple steps to addressing this:
Step 1) Build confidence with water of the face
Water on the face is usually the greatest fear in learning to swim. We can break that down into activities that give a gentle and supportive experience in the first steps of water on the face and later on submersion
Step 2) Build confidence for children being in the water recreationally
Games, fun, toys building familiarity in water starts with fun. Many of our little swimmers will start in private lessons for this exact reason so we can tailor a lesson to helping build this familiarity
Step 3) Consistency of water-based activities
Confidence in the water is developed through routine activities completed consistently so that the learners can develop confidence on an activity-basis. Some activities will be quicker than others
"But my child just screams and screams?"
Yes most do. It is all part of the process, but they need only overcome this fear once. As long as the screams and tears are met with empathy, positivity and support from both parent and instructor, they will turn into smiles no matter how difficult those first few experiences are for our little swimmers.