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  1. #1
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    Default How do I help DS overcome this fear?

    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

  2. #2
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    My 3yo is the same regarding the drains.Hes fine in the pool but freaks out that he will get sucked into the drain.
    I don't force him to go near them,like if hes doing monkey crawl I just guide him around the drains.
    I also stand by it to show him that I wont get sucked in,and have explained its just to clean the leaves and bugs and there is no possible way he could ever fit into it.
    He doesnt really mention it anymore.Hopefully your DS is just going through a phase.Just try to focus on the positives,and get him confident in the water (well away from drains and jets) and hopefully as his confindence builds,it wont be such an issue anymore.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply . Hopefully it is just a phase. I'll just keep taking him to the pool and maybe he'll get over the fears in time.

  4. #4
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    I'd book him in to swimming lessons. My 2 year old developed a fear of pools last summer...I have no idea why. The year before, when he was one, we couldn't get him to keep his head out of the water, he was a fish!
    My 4 year old developed a huge attachment to her arm floaties and we took them off her (as she doesn't need them) but she spent the whole summer sticking to the edge of the pool.
    I tried them with all summer and got nowhere really. I booked them in to swimming lessons about 4 weeks ago and they have improved! DD2 has improved more than DS but DS is getting there. DD2 has gained all her confidence and now she's just learning swimming skills.
    The swimming teacher isn't doing anything different to what I was doing at home, but for whatever reason swimming lessons is helping them a ton. I am confident that next summer will be a very different swimming season for the both of them.

  5. #5
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    Yes, I kind of wonder whether having someone other than me would help him get more confident quicker.

  6. #6
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    I wonder if the difference is that they see the other kids trusting this person and so it builds their confidence?
    I don't really get to see DD2 too much because I'm in the pool with DS but her swimming instructor tells me she is doing great and I have seen her jump off the side and swim out to the instructor. This coming from the kid who would stand in our pool and cry because I was asking her to swim to me simply because I wasn't close to the wall.
    I get in the water with DS and he starts off confident and loving it and then he gets a bit scared again so instead of making him do all the activities we will do what he is comfortable to do and we spend some time just sitting back and watching the other babies. The swimming instructor never tries to force us to do anything he is confident with, the whole swimming school is dead set against it.
    It's nice that he can work at his own pace and it is worth it even though he isn't doing close to half of the activities. He spent all summer not getting off the first step of our pool and if we tried to put him under he got out and wouldn't get back in the rest of the day. At swimming lessons he'll go under at least 5 times in half an hour and he talks about swimming lessons in a positive way all the time.
    DH was a bit annoyed at first by the fact that we're paying for three kids to have swimming lessons when we have a pool ourselves but swimming is a life skill and our kids were starting to fall behind which I wasn't happy with (DD1 is great in the water, extremely confident, willing to try anything...she just needs some assistance with her stroke skills which is why she is in swimming lessons now).
    Last edited by Areca; 11-04-2012 at 11:58.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, well I would hope that he would see the teacher with the other kids and decide to trust her/him. He just idolises his kinder teacher and both her and the assistant think he's a beautiful kid, and they seem able to get him to do things that I can't, so perhaps it would be similar with a swimming instructor

    I feel very strongly about wanting DS to learn how to swim, and I am annoyed at myself for leaving it so long and him getting into this state. I just take it for granted that I can swim well, and want the same for DS (and DD of course).

    I might go and speak to an instructor when the term begins again, and see what they say about him and how to tackle it. He is very behind other kids his age with the swimming skills (obviously), so I don't want to just stick him in a class with other kids his age when he would hold up the whole class. I suppose I might need to consider private lessons?

  8. #8
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    I second the idea of watching other kids in lessons and seeing how they are, this really helps with their confidence. DD goes to swimming lessons, and she has some on her own, some with other kids. When she is on her own she spends most of her energy on trying to sweet talk her way out of doing things..with the other kids, she is following their lead and having fun. She does tend to watch what other kids do a bit before trying it herself..if they can do it, she will try it.

    good luck. Struggling in the water is not fun.


 

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