This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Being a parent comes with heart stopping moments that get burned into your memory. When my son was a toddler, he reached towards the swimming pool, lost his balance, and fell in. At the time, family members were scattered throughout the house and all around the pool. It happened during a family gathering.
My husband was in the pool and fishing him out before anyone else had a chance to process that Pork Chop had fallen in. I didn’t think anyone could swim that fast — my husband was all the way at the other end of the pool. My brother was technically who was “in charge” of the baby right then.
It took a few years of him clutching to our necks in the pool before his reckless, water loving nature reasserted itself. Now you wouldn’t be able to tell that he was ever afraid of jumping in.
But my daughter is scared of the water.
Sometimes I think the stories about her big brother’s experience scarred her. But then I remember that as a toddler she would step down off of a curb like she was trying to find a foothold while rock climbing down a sheer mountain. She’s a naturally cautious kid.
Swimming Tips for Anxious Kids
Be patient. When your child is already worried about swimming, pushing them to “get over it” reinforces the anxiety. She panics when she is frightened. Though she technically knows how to swim, the fear she has is a concern for us.
Be present. I am always nearby (or in the pool) while my kids swim. My presence gives her confidence to work through her fear at her own pace.
Use tools. My daughter is fond of making up games. She is the creator of my favorite pool game EVER. It’s called the “Unfun Funnest Game Ever.” It’s a pool race. The goal is to win without making a single move. (See why it’s my fave???)
Each person gets into or on a pool float. We line up and then…float. The pool filter current propels us around the pool. First one to get back to the starting point is the winner. It’s so unfun that it’s fun.
We also use a swim vest, though she recently graduated to the SwimWays step 3 product.
We’ve used it for a month now and she is having much more fun in the water. She still hates getting splashed in the face but seeing smiles on her face rather than worry is amazing.
I love that she can let loose and have fun. I’m confident that she will be just as confident in the water one day as my son. It just takes her a while to warm up to it. These swimming tips for anxious kids will help make pool time fun!
What are some of your favorite tips for calming an anxious child in the water?