Once you have decided to take your baby to the sea, you have to see how he reacts around water. Some children love to play in water, but others are afraid to go swimming or even refuse to go near the sea. You may notice it when he has to take a bathe. Tub filled with water, a swimming pool or the sea should not give him the creeps, so try to help him overcome this phobia.
First, you need to take into account his age when was detected this fear. It is recommended that you get him used to low water, so that as he grows he learns to enjoy it. Let him play in water and sprinkle around in a bathtub or inflatable pool, but do not leave him unattended under any circumstances. Also, he must see your positive attitude of contact with water or swimming. With patience and perseverance your encouragement will make your baby to overcome this fear. Although it is common practice, do not ever throw him in pool, thinking that he will gets used. The effect could be reversed, and the baby to remain traumatized by this experience.
Here are other steps you can take into account to remove fear:
Take your time when bathing the baby, since the first months of life. If the soap enters the eye repeatedly or water will enter ears, he might develop unwillingness for a greater amount than the bath water. Hold him firmly in the arms when you put him in the water or you can come along with him if you’re at sea. Do not allow his head go down. If he sees that he can trust you and can be safe with you, he may start to like water. It is recommended that you register your child at swimming lessons around age of 4 years. If water phobia seems to not disappear, you could try private lessons.
Encourage him to get wet gradually: to put his fingers into the water, then go on to the knees, then up to the abdomen and then to come till arms. Those steps will make him accommodate more easily and he will understand that water is not painful. Use pillows or inflatable hoop for a short period of time. It’s good that the baby sees that he is in safe, but he should not become dependent on them.
Explain to your child what will happen if she put his head under water or if water enters the nose. These are the two most common fears of the smaller ones, but once he learns how to dodge them, he will gain more confidence.
Start accommodating the baby with water in a pool or a pond where there are no people. Congestion might distract attention from your advice and the baby may not listen to you when you’re trying to teach him how to swim.
Encourage your baby to learn to swim, but do not press. Also, do not make him feel bad or guilty of being afraid of water. This would increase even more his fear.