Growing your child’s water confidence

Is your child just starting lessons and lacking confidence in the water? Booking swimming lessons is a great step to help them work through their confidence issues and foster a love of the water. There are plenty of things you can do at home to help with this as well. Here are some tips:

  • If you have a child that dislikes having water over their head get a bucket with holes or small watering can. Fill it with water and sing a song like ‘It’s Raining, It’s Pouring’ or ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ and move the bucket or can over their body with the water coming out and occasionally over their head as well. Start with a small amount over the head, then progress to a little more and over their face/eyes - remember to use the cue technique before putting it over their head - 'Name, Ready, Go'. Do this every day and encourage them to hold it and put it over their own head/face. Lots of praise and reassurance to make the child feel comfortable.
  • For infants from birth, introduce and use the cue technique - start off using a wet hand over their face, building up to a small amount of water cupped in your hand and over their face. Remember to use 'Name, Ready, Go' prior to putting the wet hand or water over their face. Infants thrive on skin-to-skin contact so make this a nurturing experience.
  • Encourage your child to have showers rather than a bath all the time. Get them used to putting their head under the shower and feeling the water over their face and eyes.
  • Try not to use floaties or vests on children as this can give them a false sense of security and they can get dependent on them. Learning to swim independently and safely is the best way.
  • Practice as much as possible with your child, whether it be in the bath/shower, under the hose or sprinkler out the back, in your own pool or public pool, at the beach — the more children are around water, the more confident they will become.
  • Don’t push them too much outside of their comfort zone and make sure you have fun with them in the water. If that means them staying on the ledge or step and just splashing around that’s a great start. Never throw a child in the pool, dunk them under or make them do something they are not comfortable with — this will only cause them to become more frightened.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of your child.

Children will overcome their confidence issues and develop their skills at different paces so it's important to work within your child's comfort level and praise them for any small bit of progress. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to speak with any of our team.