Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fear of water

I love the beach. From late spring to early fall, I spend every free moment on the banks of the Danube. I like to watch the mighty river as it flows, to meet with friends on the public beach, to slumber while listhening to the buzzing sounds around me, but also to watch the people around me.
I find espicially interesting the toddlers that craw fearlessly towards the water, sometimes so quickly that parents have to run to catch up them. However, the children over 2 years and older behave differently. Some are also afraid of entering the water.
Parents can also behave differently in these situations. Some force the children to enter the water and than, there are the cries and rants. There are parents who accept that fear and do not try to make the child enter the water, but there are also parents who are trying to eliminate children's fear and gradually get them used to enjoy the water.
Indeed, fear of water occurs during the second year, usually spontaneously, but also because of the mistakes of parents.

The child is afraid of everything that occurs unexpectedly and suddenly, so if you put the child suddenly into the tub, river or sea, the child, at that moment, loses contact with the ground and starts frantically to look for support. The child may be afraid if he/she slips and or is suddenly immersed in the water during bathing, or if the bath water is too cold or too hot, if lather gets in his eyes. Parents should be careful that this do not happen,  they should not even release the water from the bathtub while the child is in the bathtub, because the child may be afraid that he would go through the hole with water.

Children fear the most of running water (rivers), because they are afraid that the water will take them away from their parents never to see them again. So we should be very cautious and tactful in getting the children to enter in the water. The child, in any case, should not be forced to enter the river (sea, pool), but should be mentally prepared and encouraged so that he/she wishes to do so.

I looked for recommendations on how to get the children to swim in a river, sea or pool. Here's the scenario that is recommend behavioral therapists:
1) A child is watching the father who is on the edge of the pool and has his hand in water,
2) the child is doing the same,
3) the father is throwing a rubber ball or a rubber duck in the water and watching with his child the duck swimming,
4) the child is doing the same,
5) father is sitting down on the edge of the pool and with one foot in the water, while the child is watching,
6) the child is doing the same,
7) the father is entering, with the child, in water up to knees, but the father standing in front of the child with his back to the middle of the pool, in order to cover the child’s view of the pool,
8) father  is moving one step and calling the child to come to him,
9) father, in the previous position, is gaming playing a child,
10) Father  is standing next to the child and is jumping in the water together with the child,
11) father and child, in the water, are hopping on one foot,
12) father with child,  repeats the steps from 6 to 10, however they are now in a somewhat deeper water (water should be at the level of the chest of the child),
13) father and child are bouncing around in the water and raising one foot high from time to time,
14) father and the child are repeating the situation several times from 6 to 12, where the father is gradually moving away from the child. When the father is certain that the child is no longer manifesting the fear in the water can come out of the pool and to continue to monitor the child from the edge of the pool
15) when the child is no longer manifesting any fear while playing in the water and when the water reached to his chin, the father may begin to teach child how to swim.

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