Most families love to spend holidays at the beach or resorts. That’s because kids love the water, but may some fear being in it. Say your toddler loves their bath time. But when it’s time to hit the beach or the pool, you’re stuck in the kids’ area because that’s where they’d rather linger. Don’t worry, as this scenario doesn’t just apply to you. Many parents out there are on the same page where they feel their child’s water confidence also needs more motivation. 

Fear of the water is normal in developing and growing children. Still, some are better able to brush those fears naturally. Given that kids look up to their parents, there isn’t anything parents can’t do to help their kids build water confidence. So, it’s best to be patient with them; eventually, you’ll see them enjoying the water more, one swimming pool, water slide, or beach trip at a time. 

If your child is water-shy, try these easy ways to build their confidence. 


1.     Don’t Rush Things

This first tip can’t be over-emphasised enough. Parents know their children best, so it’s up to them to assess how anxious their child is about the water. It’s best to take it slow as you build up their confidence. Moreover, avoid comparing them to other kids their age, not even to their siblings.

Remember, children are creatures of habit. You only have to introduce them to the water gradually, so they’ll learn to befriend it rather than be afraid. Give them enough time to follow their own pace so that, little by little, they won’t have to fear being confronted with water. 


2.     Enrol The Kid In Formal Swimming Lessons

While some parents prefer to teach swimming by themselves to their kids, a majority would rather enrol their kids in formal swimming lessons. Professional swimmers run these, so you know your kids are in good hands. 

Along this line, remember not to pressure your kid. The goal isn’t for them to become an Olympian swimmer – unless, of course, becoming a professional swimmer when they grow up is their goal. At its best, your goal for enroling your child in a professional swimming lesson is for safety reasons, so you know your kid can handle themselves well while in the water.  

Confidence isn’t just about swimming the right strokes or perfecting the set home swimming workouts. It’s also about learning to stay calm and breathe the right way should they face a water-related emergency. 


3.     Be Water-Confident Yourself

Children idolise their parents so much that if you are nervous or afraid, your kids will also feel these. Hence, you must be water-confident if you want your kids to be confident. You may not be comfortable in the water, but at least appear to be. 

Remember that this is crucial, as water-confident parents can gain their kids’ trust more. Kids would trust you if you appear confident and say, ‘It’s okay, I’ve got you,’ or ‘I’m right behind you.’ 


4.     Incorporate Water Toys To Make It Fun

Kids will love the water more when they feel like it’s just a part of the play. Swim instructors may tell of how one of the struggles when teaching kids to swim is getting their eyes on the water. Toddlers are developing spatial awareness, so it’s normal for them to be daunted by the width and depth of the swimming pool, ocean, lake, or other body of water. 

Most kids have no problem with breathing and blowing up exercises. But, the hesitation could kick in when it’s time to immerse their eyes underwater. Getting past this fear is essential in swimming, so this is where water toys come into the picture. 

Sinking toys and easy-to-grab ones like sinking rings are a good start. They’re easy to reach and stick out of the water. Once the child gets comfortable with those toys, you can start immersing them deeper and deeper for them to reach. 

5.     Create Some Distance

Whenever you’re in the water with your kids, don’t hover around them too close. Of course, you’ll have to be within a safe distance, but this doesn’t mean lingering too close that your kid doesn’t have enough room to do strokes and splash by themselves. 

Creating some distance also encourages your kid to swim towards you instead of you going to them. This may not be a formal swimming lesson between you and your child. Still, unknowingly, you’re helping your child build more confidence when swimming. 

The Bottomline

Parents have a significant role in building up their kids’ confidence from a very young age. And confidence covers all facets, including water confidence. Some children are born naturally loving the water, while some are a bit more nervous. If your child belongs to the latter, don’t fret, as that’s normal. Whether on your own or through formal swimming lessons, there are many ways that you can build up your kid’s water confidence.


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