DS turned 5 in Feb. From when he was about 3 or so, until recently, he had not been to the swimming pool AT ALL. Like not even once. I feel bad about this, and it's a bit silly that he didn't go, I really have no good reason, I just never thought of going to the pool in that time. I couldn't afford lessons, but really that's no excuse for not even going for a play. And it's crazy, because growing up I was in swimming squad and am a very good swimmer.
Now, I have a big problem with DS when we go to the pool. He has an irrational fear of the vents and drains at the pool. Like you know the jets in heated pools that pump the warm water into the pool? He won't go near them. And yesterday when I took him in the hydrotherapy pool that is used for toddler swimming lessons, he freaked out about the vents all over the bottom of the pool (the ones which allow the pool bottom to go up and down to vary the depth). In the end he wouldn't even join me in that pool.
He watches all the kids playing but won't join in. He did go to the top of the water slide in the toddler pool, but he just played there at the top, giggling and jumping around. When the other kids asked if he was going down the water slide, he said no and then he came to me and said that the other kids were calling him 'stupid' and telling him to 'shut up' when he was talking to them Luckily, he's a very confident kid, so he wasn't to bothered by them saying these things, more angry at them than upset. I think the other kids were just a bit confused that he wouldn't go down, they didn't know he was scared.
What can I do to help him?? We now go to the pool every week, sometimes twice a week. We now live in an apartment building that has a pool (moved here last year), so I make sure I take DS and DD at least once a week. He is getting a bit better in the pool in our building, though is still a bit scared of the jets in this one, won't go near one side of the pool, and won't swim on the side of the pool that has black tiles, will only swim down one side that has white tiles. He's scared of the noises at the pool too, is very skittish when we're there, which makes it hard. I'm doing an 'at home' swim lesson program that I found on the internet, and he has progressed to holding his breath and putting his face in the water with goggles on (albeit very quickly, doesn't hold his face under for any length of time). But all these fears he has about pools is making it hard to take the lessons further.
Should I just keep going and give it time? Or should I take him to see a psychologist? Or take him to lessons and let a teacher help him overcome his fears? I think that if I was to pre-pay lessons and take him, he would just freak out and not want to go in the water, so I'm hesitant to book him in for lessons. He seriously is VERY scared of the vents and drains in the pool, it's embarrassing and I feel sorry for him when onlookers stare at him in confusion as he hovers around the edge of the pool rather than going in
I don't know what to do