2 Yr old Scared of Water (Swimming)

Tcordukes - posted on 01/01/2011 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I looking for advise on how to get my son swim.
He loves Baths but hates swimming at the pool or creek or anywhere. Yesterday we went to a creek to swim and he screamed the entire time he was in the water. My husband was in the water with him the whole time trying to play with him blowing bubbles, splashing. We laugh with him praise him, clap and make a huge deal if he blows bubbles, but he then just crys and screams when he remembers where he is.
I would love to take him to lessons but i don't want to have to deal with a screaming child when all the other kids are there trying to have a lesson, So i was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how i could get him used to water enough so that i can start to take him to lessons?
Thanks

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Barb - posted on 01/02/2011

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I used to teach swimming lessons to children when i was in college. I was also a lifeguard.

The minimum age was 3 and children had to be potty trained. Parents dropped off their kids and we took over from there. Parent's did not help with lessons. Parents helped kids get dressed and brought them to the pool area in line but then they went to a room with a glass wall to watch.

I taught all the classes at one point or another. But everything was repetition. When teaching the tadpole class i had some kids that were scared, they would sit along the wall and watch the other kids. Usually by day 2 they saw other kids were having fun and getting attention and would join in. They entered the water by a ramp where they could choose what depth they were comfortable with.
first day we would walk down the ramp and see how far we would get, then walk back out, then walk back down the ramp, then walk back out etc etc.
Second day, we would walk down the ramp and maybe kiss the water, then walk back out, then walk back in, kiss the water, walk back out.
We did other things too along the sides. Like sit on the side of the pool and kick our legs in the water, point our toes, stuff like that.

I noticed though that kids acted different around their parents then they did with me. And even though i taught lessons, i had a hard time teaching my own son how to swim and ended up sending him for lessons with someone else, because he just listened better to someone else about swimming then he did me.
I think taking your little one to lessons would be a good idea. Maybe in a couple of years but don't press the issue now, it could have negative consequences. But if you do, i totally agree with Jodi and let him come to terms with the water on his own. You and Daddy play in the water where he can reach you, but he has to get his feet wet to do so.

Sylvia - posted on 01/02/2011

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This probably won't be a popular suggestion, but honestly? What I would do is wait a couple of years to see if he grows out of it. Surely there's no urgent need for him to learn to swim at age two?

My DD was terrified of water for a while as a baby/toddler -- so terrified we had to give her sponge baths. No idea why. One day, poof! She wasn't scared anymore. Again, no idea what changed. For various reasons, she didn't start swimming lessons until she was 6; now she's 8, swims well, ADORES it, wants to take lessons all year round. I don't see that she's lost anything by starting at 6 (as kids did when I was a child) rather than 6 months, and we saved a ton of money and a lot of screaming. Believe me, you don't want to be that mom whose kid is shrieking in distress for the whole half-hour while the other parents try to be sympathetic while secretly judging you for torturing your kid ;^)

Michelle - posted on 01/02/2011

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have you tried a life jacket maybe he would feel safer knowing he is going to float.

Jodi - posted on 01/01/2011

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How does he react if you just sit with him on your (or your husband's) lap in the water? Forget the blowing bubbles and splashing - that might be what is scaring him. Just sit. Let him take the lead with anything else he may choose to do in the water.

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Barb - posted on 01/03/2011

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Michelle, that just reminded me, my granddaughter has the cutest little bikini swimsuit and it has a life jacket that goes over the top and snaps into the bottoms.

She hates the vest part because she can't move and swim in it. but they didn't have anything like that when jr was a baby, i just thought it was a really neat idea. Especially for children that can't swim to be near water.

Abbie - posted on 01/02/2011

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My son who is 2.5 hates the pool!! But the lake, watch out he has no fear. We don't push it, but I think lakes are easier - we do live in the land of 10,000 so that makes a difference. I wouldn't push it though he'll either adjust or always hate water.

Amanda - posted on 01/02/2011

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Let your son go into large bodys of water on his own terms, if he isnt ready he isnt ready. My son wouldnt go in a pool or lake until 6+, now hes a fish, you cant keep him out of water. When I was a child I also feared water, I recall people pushing me to go into water (at younger ages even just dragging me into the water with them), this only made my fears worse. Once I was finally left alone, I learned how to swim on my own, and also became a fish as a child and teenager.

Tyrae - posted on 01/01/2011

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maybe he doesn't like how cold the water is. I know my daughter hates anything with cool water, it needs to be 98-100 celsius for her to enjoy water.

Tcordukes - posted on 01/01/2011

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Jodi he wont sit on the edge in our lap or by himself..screams the whole time, sometimes he will stop for a little bit but not long.

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