Children and their fear of water: how to prevent it and overcome it

Fitness & Wellness
Written by: Arturo Mugnai at 29 May '18 0
You are reading: Children and their fear of water: how to prevent it and overcome it

Water can be scary, especially for the youngest ones who are approaching this fascinating element for the first time. It’s not uncommon though, that even adults feel a certain resistance when it comes to swimming activities due to their fears or doubts.

To start overcoming this fear you need to start off by understanding whether the fear is legitimized: the situation is one that could in fact present risks, for example when swimming in open waters. Worrying excessively can make approaching the water, even in the swimming pool, a difficult task and thereby discouraging any kind of workout in this element.

Expose the children to water from a young age, obviously taking all safety measures into consideration, will surely contribute to the child having a good relationship with it.

Often parents find difficulty in introducing their children to the world of water, unsure of the right ways to do it, even when on holiday. For this reason, taking your children to swimming lessons from a young age can be an important experience not only for the children but also for the parents themselves in order to learn all the appropriate techniques and movements from professional coaches giving you the tools for a correct introduction to water.

If the child is at pre-school or at school-age and the child is showing fear of water, then you need to intervene by introducing them to a swimming class as soon as possible. The fear of water can’t be overrated for several reasons:

1. First of all, the chance that the child will one day benefit positively from knowledge of swimming will increase, allowing them to use swimming both as a way to stay in shape and for safety reasons.

2. Secondly, the fear of swimming isn’t something that will limit you only in a sports perspective but also in your daily life. If you think about future summer holidays: having such a fear could influence your whole vacation, with friends or family and make a situation that is meant to be relaxing and fun into a stressful one.

But where does the fear of water come from? Often it has to do with previous negative experiences, for example an accident, but not only. Even a bad or hurried introduction to water can set off a negative feeling in this persons approach to it, or, on the contrary, the complete absence of any type of introduction.

Imagine a person, especially a children, who are individuals that can be easily influenced by the way that the people they trust, be it a parent or a coach, goes upon introducing them to any novelty.

Providing the resources and the basic knowledge in order to be successful is fundamental. They will learn that they will be able to have complete control of their bodies in the water in the same way that they are in control on land. The essential job of a coach in this situation is to make the person understand this in the most efficient and safe way possible.  


Written by:

Arturo Mugnai

Arturo Mugnai was born in Tuscany in 1990. After competing as a backstroke swimmer, he enrolled to study psychology while continuing to write and be passionate about swimming. After completing his first degree and then his master’s, he became a sports psychologist. He firmly believes that the psychological side is vital for all sportsmen and women, even those competing in water sports. In other words, you never forget your first love.