Helping Children Get Comfortable with Water

A swimming pool a can be great way for a family to have fun and spend time together. A pool can be a fun way for children to play and get exercise. Some children are afraid of water and get  nervous around pools. If they aren’t introduced to water properly, their fear can increase rather than decrease. Some people may advise throwing young children into water to increase their courage, but this technique usually backfires and causes a significant amount of stress. A gentle, gradual introduction to a swimming pool is the best way to help children reduce their fear and learn to love the water.

Father and DaughterA child should always be introduced to the water with a trusted adult. The child should be the guide of how much time he or she spends in the water. The first few times, the child may only want to spend a few minutes in the swimming pool. As the child becomes more comfortable, you can gradually increase the time. If there are steps or a shallow end to the pool, the child may enjoy getting used to the water this way.

Some children respond to swimming pool games or toys. Place small, water-safe toys on the stairs and let the child play there. Some good toys are cups, rings and toys that squirt water. As children get older, you may be able to coax them further into the water with floats designed for their age group. Some parents have success with parent-child swimming classes. You may find that these are enjoyable and help your child get used to the water. You should first try letting your child play in the water. If the class is the child’s first exposure to the water, he or she may refuse to get in and you will have wasted your money.

Safety is tantamount to ensuring your child’s comfort in a swimming pool. Safety is critical around a swimming pool because young children can easily have accidents. Never let your children more than an arm’s length away, even if they are skilled swimmers. Safety is also important because if children have accidents, they will understandably become more afraid of the water. A safe, gradual approach will help your child learn to enjoy the water and build skills.

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