Gables Montessori Blog


The fear of water is relatively common among toddlers and preschool-age children, and if it is not addressed may persist throughout childhood. Many children hate to get their eyes wet in the bath so this simple activity can be a real struggle. Some specialists say that this kind of anxiety comes from the sense of separation from parents that the little ones experience, so the result is a generalized fear to many things that can be in some cases irrational. Also children don’t have the life experience to explain everyday occurrences or how things works so in some cases a bad incident in the water could be the origin of the fear. Anyhow, strategies should be aimed at increasing your child’s sense of control, ask what she is afraid of and listen to her response closely. Some tips as the following may help:

When bathing:

  • Place pictures, objects, images on the ceiling or walls to distract your child and encourage him to tip his head back for rinsing.
  • Give your child a small shampoo bottle to play and wash his own hair, making him part of the process.
  • Make the bath a time for fun, include toys in the water or objects that can get wet.
  • Try the shower instead of the bath tub, some kids feel comfortable with the shower spray.

In the pool:

  • Prefer calmed pools. Some of them can be overwhelming for some children (crowded and noisy).
  • Respect your genuine child´s feelings and don’t force him to go any faster than he is able. Be patient and don’t overreact getting nervous too.
  • Look for help, try to get into the water with another adult accompanying you and your child.
  • Encourage your child when he tries to overcome fear, a delicious reward is allowed in these cases.
  • Give your child frequent reassurance she is safe.
  • Be a role model, although you are afraid of water, never tell your children about it.
  • Never leave your child alone although he is afraid of the water, you don’t know when he would like to experience to get into it.


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