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Water fear and swimming lessons

by americanifeguardassociation

Is your child afraid of water? Then he probably has a fear of water, also known as a fear of water. As a result, your child may not dare to take a shower or bath and you will not be doing him any favors with a visit to the pool or a day at the beach. What can you do about this and how should that be done with swimming lessons with lifeguard certification near me.

What is hydrophobia?

Hydrophobia is also known as water fear or hydrophobia. It is a great fear of water, as well as of water-related activities, such as swimming. Usually it is not the water itself that a child is afraid of, but the dangers that a child thinks about it. Hydrophobia also occurs in babies and small children. They are often afraid of getting water in their eyes or find it scary because they can’t estimate how deep it is and what to expect. By the way, hydrophobia also occurs in adults.

Water Fear Causes

Hydrophobia is quite common: about three in ten children suffer from it to some degree. There are children with an innate fear of water, but fear of water usually develops later. These are possible causes that can cause a child to develop a fear of water.

Bad experience

Water anxiety can arise if you put your baby in the bath or shower and you are startled when he starts to roar, for example because he has to get used to whether the water is too cold or warm. If you immediately stop bathing your child at such a moment and comfort him, you confirm his fear. There is a chance that your child will not want to take a bath or shower next time.


If your child has been under water for too long, for example because he slipped, he may be traumatized by this. Not surprising, because he had the feeling that he almost drowned.

Copying fear

Fear of water can also arise if the parents do not like water, or cannot swim. They can unconsciously pass on their fear of water to their child. If you do not like water or swimming yourself, it is important to ensure that you do not transfer this feeling to your child. This often goes unnoticed! Children are sensitive to signals given by their parents, including indirect signals through body language.

(Over) Concerned Parents

You can also instill fear in your child by constantly warning him about the dangers of water and by saying things like: ‘Be careful not to slip in the bath’ or ‘The bath should not be too full, it is dangerous.’

Child awareness

Children may also become more afraid of water as they get older. They start to think more and more and become more aware of possible dangers.

Ear problems

If your child takes a bath with ear problems or an ear infection , it can hurt. He may begin to associate this pain with bathing and water. This can lead to a fear of water and/or fear of going under water with your head.

become anhydrous

Usually a child slowly grows out of his fear of water. If your child is still afraid of water when he is about five or six years old, starting swimming lessons is not yet a good idea. To be able to start with this, a child must already be reasonably water-free. A child who is water-free dares to put his face in the water, jump into the water with straps and feel comfortable and safe in the water. In the first phase of swimming lessons, work is being done on becoming water-free, but if your child is really afraid of water, it is better to start clearing the water yourself first.

Tips to become anhydrous

  • You can help your child become water-free by going to the pool together regularly and going through the following steps. It is important to let your child set the pace: don’t force anything. Make it a fun experience. Play and get started step by step and don’t get angry if your child doesn’t dare to do something. If it doesn’t work now, better next time!
  • Wash and blow bubbles. Let your child make a bowl in the water with his hands and ‘wash’ his face with this water. The next step is that he also wets his hair and then first put one ear and then the other ear in the water. Blowing bubbles is also a fun and educational game: put your mouth under water and start blowing! If this goes well, have your child put his face up to his nose in the water.
  • Face in the water. Have your child try to keep his face in the water. Don’t push this, but make it a game and show it. Are you succeeding? Then give your child lots of compliments and encourage him to do it again.
    Upward pressure. Show your child that you don’t just sink by lying in a floating position and letting your child push on your stomach. This way he sees that you float to the top again. Try to motivate your child and then drive yourself – with your support.
  • Sailing a boat. If your child dares to lie in the floating position, pull him gently through the water. And sprinkle with compliments when he tries.
  • swimming position. Let your child float on his stomach with the help of a board or swim noodle, while he wrestles with his legs and/or you gently pull him along.
  • To jump. If your child is no longer afraid to go into the water with his face in the water, let him jump from the side, but catch him before he really goes under. Do this in the shallow end of the pool. During swimming lessons, he learns to jump into the deep end.
  • Eyes open. If your child is gradually becoming a real water rat, try letting him close his eyes briefly when he has his face in the water. Don’t say it can sting, but call this feeling itchy.
    Swimming lesson. If the fear has (largely) disappeared and he enjoys ‘swimming’, then the time has come to register your child for his first swimming lesson.

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