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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Swimming with TIMID Children 2 years and older

Some pre-schoolers might have a real fear of the water which could be as a result of a previous bad experience or simply because they haven’t had much time in the swimming pool.  Some children are afraid of the water because their parents are and they learn to fear the water by association. If you as a parent are fearful then you need to try and relax around water and be aware that your facial expression and body language transmits to your child. You as the parent could also think about having swimming lessons yourself to try and conquer this fear.

When your toddler is afraid try and make bath time fun by using toys and songs and you could always bath or shower together. You could have a sticker/reward chart too that recognises small achievements like when they have had a bath without crying, or happily washed their hair or lay down and got their ears in the water.
When it comes to swimming lessons you need to treat your frightened child with lots of patience and encouragement and realise that it can take several lessons for your child to relax in the swimming pool. Don’t force your child to do something they don’t want to but go back to doing things that they do like doing. Always use positive language and don’t get frustrated with them if they resist everything.
Your timid toddler needs to feel safe and secure in the water and to believe that they have some control during their lesson. Teach them that there is a pool floor and that they can stand and that you will always be close by within arm’s reach.
Before and after their lessons, spend some time talking to them about their lesson and what they enjoyed and talk about their instructor by name and teach them that this is someone they should trust and who will make sure they are safe. Encourage them to talk to the instructor themselves and tell them about their news about nursery/school/new toys etc.
Try to arrive at your lessons a bit early so neither of you are stressed or rushed when trying to get dressed into your swimming gear.

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