Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Has your confident, water loving child become fearful and water resistant for seemingly no reason?
It can be both puzzling and distressing for parents to understand why and what to do when this happens. Rest assured it is extremely common and can be overcome. Let’s look at some reasons why your water baby turns not-so water crazy.
You may scoff at the idea of temperature controlled pools in tropical Singapore, however, according to AUST Swim guidelines learn to swim pools should be maintained around 30 degrees Celsius. Even if the air temperature is warm, pool water needs to be heated. Babies and small children can lose heat up to four times more quickly than adults so it can be difficult for an adult to judge how the water feels for little ones. Particularly after rain unheated pools can feel extremely chilly. Unless pools are receiving a lot of sun exposure they are generally too cold for learning to swim. Aside from being uncomfortable for the child their muscles will start to tense and not work efficiently.
Between 15 - 24 months children’s self-awareness develops. This is an intense period of development and understanding for children - both of themselves and the world. You might find a child who once loved water begins to feel fearful and reluctant around pools. The fear may develop from something as innocent as the sound from water draining in the bath to seeing a dog paddling in water.
What to do? Here are a few tips to help ride the wave:
Be patient and rest assured your child will overcome the fear.
Be encouraging, but not forceful. Try to demonstrate yourself enjoying water - pull silly faces, splash yourself and play peekaboo.
What To Expect suggests factoring in extra time when it comes to having a bath and gently splash water over their face and your own.
Slow everything right down when it comes to swimming time, just let them dangle their feet in the water to begin with.
Chat to your swim coach so they are aware and can adjust their approach.
SWISH! Swimming School offers Stressless classes where children who are experiencing the same feelings swim together (sometimes seeing other children without fear can exacerbate the issue). The submersion process is slowed down and time is spent bonding with the coach and having fun. Parents also have the chance to share their experiences - we are stronger together! Once the fear has been overcome generally children continue to progress and enjoy swimming.
For more information please contact SWISH! Swimming School