Advocacy & Education
Water Acclimation
3 Easy Ways To Help Acclimate Your Child To The Water.
Stacey Swaer, Outreach & Aquatic Scheduling Coordinator

Does your child love the water
or is bath time a constant struggle?
Whether your child struggles with sensory issues or is just plain ol’ scared of the water, these three water acclimation tips can help you turn the tide in the right

1. PLAY!
Don’t have an agenda and just play! When children are first learning how to interact with the water, structured tasks can seem
overwhelming and scary. Instead, whether they are in the tub or at a pool, simply allow your child time to explore their surroundings and engage with theate water at their own pace. Blow bubbles, splash, sing songs and play with favorite toys. The less pressure you put on the situation, the more relaxed and comfortable your child will be to try new things over time.

2. Set Safety Boundaries
Jumping into the deep end without a flotation device isn’t going to do anybody any good when it comes to water acclimation. It’s important to let kids know where they should and shouldn’t feel safe when first learning how to interact with the

By establishing a “safe zone” (a ramp, stairs or shallow area where kids can easily touch) you can encourage your child to explore the water at will and without fear. If your child dunks under in a safe zone, they will naturally come up startled when in reality they are completely safe. It’s important to react to their fear calmly and with encouragement. Clap and cheer when they pop back up! Let them know that there was nothing to be afraid of and that they are safe because they can touch. As they get more comfortable, expand their zone to encourage new skill development.

3. Be Patient and Consistent
For a nervous child, water acclimation doesn’t happen overnight, but the important
thing to do is to stick with it and be patient. Providing consistent opportunities for your child to be safely exposed to the water is key. Whether it be swim lessons, frequent trips to the community pool, or nightly bath time, repeat exposure to the water will allow your child to develop a sense of comfort which will open the doors for them to learn new swim skills and enjoy water based activities more in the future.

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