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What would you do? Rss

My 3.5 yr old had a water immersion scare in March 07. It took a lot of private swimming lessons last yr to get him back to being confident in the water as he was petrified of pools for a long time. By the end of the yr he was back to loving swimming and was doing so well and really close to being able to swim independently ... they were even talking of moving him up classes for this yr.

Then our swim school took a 4 week break over Xmas. He is now back to square one of refusing to even get in the pool and getting upset before every lesson. This is the second week in a row he has refused to get in despite all the coaxing from me and the instructor, he won't even sit on the edge and watch.

I am in two minds, if this was your child would you keep perservering in taking him and trying to get him in(meanwhile having to pay for lessons while he won't even get in the pool) or cancel his lessons for the time being but still bringing him along to sit on the side for his little brother's lessons and wait till he is ready to go back in the pool? I should add he will get in our backyard pool at home with us so its only at swimming lessons he won't get in. Thanks for listening

id cancel and let him get more confident at home first. Then like you say, Id take him to watch his brother, and get confident with that, and maybe try him again next year/semester when he wants to.

Id be scared that pushing him would lead to more fear yk?
I would cancel his lessons for now, continue to take him to the pool and try to coax him back into the water yourself through play rather than lessons.

Has he or you had any sort of counselling about it and the best way to approach and improve the situation?

Good luck
ok....If this was my child i would keep perserving, can you get in the pool with him at the lessons??

My Ds is 21 months old and has been swimming since he was 6 months at State swim and some weeks he want do what the instructor wants ie jumping in from edge or walking on the floating mat, but i always make the point of making him try IYKWIM.

You said you Ds had a scare which is really unfortunate ( i hope he was ok???)
But as the old saying goes if you fall from your Bike you get back up on it!!?? This is just my opinion and i am not pushy Mum if that what your all thinking.

GOODLUCK i hope he gets over it soon!!

[Edited on 21/01/2008]


I had the same thing happen to me when I was six... I am now s%%t scared of water on my face - even washing my hair is a challenge as if water drips down I have to wipe it off straight away. Taking Ben to swimming lessons is also really hard, as I try to not show my fear, but panic when he kicks and I get water on my face. Dont force the issue, but get in the home pool with him and build up his confidence by playing fun games - then transfer these to the swimming pool at the centre. Talk to the instructor - they may be able to help or even do a few lessons at your house for you. Maybe it is more a fear of struggling in front of the other kids. Try to get him over it, and keep up the exposure, as the fear for me keeps coming back and is harder to get over each time .
Thanks, both of you told me what I was thinking.

No, we haven't had any counselling Dee ... what would it involve for a 3yr old do you have any idea? The swim school says the answer is to just keep bringing him and trying him but Ryan is a sensitive kid and I KNOW pushing him is not the answer to him getting over it

I have to say more than anything I am just so disappointed for him. I really thought he was emotionally getting over it but this just proves to me he's not sad

Sorry i just re read your Post and i would make sure you have him in the pool at home as much as possible and make it loads of fun etc. Another thought was with the lessons does he like the Teacher??? I know with my DS he loved one teacher and wouldnt go near one of the other teachers and did not swim very well at all. Perhaps you could change classes if that might be the problem?
Once again GOODLUCK


Posted by: My lil'''''''''''''''' Man

You said you Ds had a scare which is really unfortunate ( i hope he was ok???)

He spent 2 days in hospital with water on the lungs hooked up to drips, on oxygen etc. Ever since it happened he's also been petrified of doctors ... it really shook him (and us) up. He'd even get fretful if anyone was under water on TV (including the Wiggles) thinking they were going to drown.

Like I said he was seemingly 'over it' ... until the last few weeks.

I am not sure what it would involve for a 3yo. I think it may be handy for you guys as far as understanding how to approach and help your DS manage the fear and maybe they could provide you with some relaxation tools for your DS to use and ways of overcoming or battling that fear and anxiety.

I am not even sure who is the best person to help out. A doctor might be able to point you in the right direction, maybe you could email or ring someone like Anxiety Treatment Australia. They may be able to help point you in the right direction of someone in your area who can help your DS overcome this fear.

Contact details for Anxiety Treatment Australia:


(03) 9819 3671
0419 104 284

833 Glenferrie Road
Kew 3101

I don't know if they can help but they may at least be able to help give you some details on someone or an organisation that can.

Good luck
Oh i am so sorry that would have awful for all of you!!! HUGS that i hope he gets over it soon.


Thanks My Lil Man smile

Thankyou Dee. I agree with what you said completely. You have a 3yr old ... is it 'normal' for them to develop fears at this age? A few people have said that its just part of being 3, that kids develop their fears, but I think there is more to it than this in Ryan's case. I am going to give that number a call and ask what they think. Thanks Again!

My DD does not like having water poured over her face and shows some reluctance to put her eyes in the water but she does do it with cooaxing and heaps of praise.

I imagine after having had such a scarey experience your DS is going to have a level of anxiety that is way above most 3yo. I don't think it is something that is just a case of a 3yo developing a normal fear either. I would be anxious about re entering the water after such an incident too. I would ignore those few people and listen to your son and what you believe is right.

Good luck- I hope you find someone who can help your DS.
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