5 tips if your child is afraid of water

When you think of summer in Australia, what comes to mind? Days at the beach and relaxing by the pool are what many Aussies look forward to when the weather heats up, but what should you do if your child is afraid of water?

There are many reasons why your child may fear getting in the water, but if you’re eager to help them overcome this fear, there are a few simple tips you can try.

Kids playing in pool

Find out why they are scared

If your child is scared to go near water, consider the reason why.

They might not like being splashed, they may have seen other kids struggling in water or they may have even seen a movie with sharks that has frightened them. Take the time to chat with your kids about their feelings towards water and see if there is an underlying reason for why they’re scared.

Avoid forcing the issue

While it is good to encourage your kids to interact with water, forcing them into a pool or the beach before they’re ready could be counter-productive and cause their fear of water to become worse.

Focus on the small wins and use these as stepping stones towards reaching the final goal. If you kids want to sit next to the pool with their feet hanging in, it’s a win! If they only want to go in the water with you, it’s progress!

Use toys outside the pool

Introducing your child to a pool can be overwhelming for them if they haven’t had much exposure to water in the past. Use fun water games and toys that have nothing to do with a pool to start with.

Pool noodles and blow up toys can be used outside the water. If you need some new pool toys, find your local Poolwerx and check out our range of new pool toys. Sensory activities such as water beads or water balloons can also be a great starting point.

Kids running to jump into pool


Set pool rules with your older kids

If your child has siblings who love water, make sure there are guidelines when you’re around the pool to keep chaos to a minimum:

  • No splashing people in the face
  • No dunking people’s heads under water
  • No pushing people into the pool

Having a calmer environment may help your child be more comfortable and be more willing to hop in the water.

Start from an early age

Water introduction can start from the minute you get home from the hospital with your new baby. Simple exercises such as pouring water over their heads when they’re in the bath can help them learn how to hold their breath. Using trigger words will help you baby learn when they need to hold their breath as well.

If water is part of your bub’s every day life from the day they were born, it may help them be more comfortable with pools and beaches when they are older. Our annual initiative, Learn2Swim Week, is the perfect opportunity to familiarise your kids with water. We work with over 350 swim schools to provide free swimming lessons for one week. Head to the website for more information on how you can participate.

Overall, breaking up these experiences into small, manageable steps will not only make the experience less stressful for both you and your kids, it will help them learn to love water in a fun environment.

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