Cap’n M hates the water… With a passion…
I mean, I’m surprised no one has called the police on us when it’s bathtime for this kiddo.
See, Cap’n M has sensory processing disorder, and for whatever reason, he hates the sensation of water.
Now that we live somewhere with a real summer, we have to get Cap’n M at least tolerating water. It’s been quite the journey…
But he played in the pool this weekend for the first time EVER, and while he still struggled at times, he actually had some fun!
So how are we helping Cap’n M tolerate the pool? And more importantly… What are we doing different with Sweet C to make sure she doesn’t grow up hating the water?
Well, we’re following these 5 must-try pool tips for kids who hate the water!
*This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
5 Must-Try Pool Tips for Kids Who Hate the Water
See, Cap’n M’s SPD makes playing in the water more difficult, but we definitely exacerbated the problem by avoiding the water with him for as long as we did.
I mean, Cap’n M was the third kiddo, and being outnumbered in a pool was not our favorite thing…
Since then, we’ve only grown our family more, so we’ve had to find ways to introduce our kids to the pool early while keeping everyone safe!
Water Play Outside the Pool
I can’t even begin to tell you how important it is to play with water outside the pool.
Pools are huge to little kids, and they can be really scary!
Cap’n M used to have a meltdown the second he even saw a pool.
So we had to find fun water play ideas that had nothing to do with a pool.
Maybe it’s a sensory bin with water. (Maybe water is too much to start, so you try water beads!)
Splash in the water. Try different water toys. Spend a little extra time in the bath if they’ll tolerate it.
Take it at Your Child’s Pace
Do not… Let me repeat… Do NOT force your kiddo into a pool before they’re ready.
Take this at your child’s pace, or you could risk making their fear of the water even worse.
If they’ll only splash? Consider that a win.
If they’re ready to stand in the water, but only up to their ankles? That’s awesome!
Slowly move more and more into water activities, to build up their tolerance.
Set Strict Pool Rules
Cap’n M has two older brothers who LOVE to play in the pool.
They splash each other and push each other and go totally bananas when we pull the pool out.
So if we were going to get Cap’n M into that pool, we knew we needed to set pretty strict pool rules.
Here’s what we have in our family, but you can change them to fit your specific needs:
- You do not splash someone who doesn’t know you’re splashing them.
- When someone says ‘no’ or ‘stop’ it’s respected immediately.
- There is no dunking or keeping someone’s head under water.
- If you’re splashing someone, you have to accept that they will splash you back.
Now that we’re actively trying to make sure Sweet C enjoys the pool from an early age, we have also added: “No splashing while the baby is in the pool”.
This just makes sure that she can relax and enjoy the water without the chaos.
Use Exciting Pool Toys
While most kids would be excited just to play in the pool, for kids who hate the water you’ve got to pull out all the stops.
You need some pretty exciting pool toys to make the pool look fun enough to get over the fear of being in the water.
We have a few pool toys we absolutely love that we make sure are only played with in the pool.
If the kids want to play with that specific toy, they’ve got to get in the water.
Introduce Pool Play Early and Often
Then finally, this is a “what I wish I did” tip.
When Cap’n M hated the water, we just gave up and decided we’d try again later when he was “ready”.
That obviously didn’t work well, so with Sweet C, we’re exposing her to water early and often!
Now, she’s only 9 months old, and I have five kids.
So getting her into the pool isn’t the easiest thing…
Then we found the SwimWays Infant Baby Spring Float!
We love that it has a soft, cradle-like seat and has a 3-point harness to keep the baby secure.
It also has dual inflation chambers, child safety valves, and a wide base with an inner spring around the outside edge of the float for stability.
I also liked that the built-in handles made it easy to hold the baby float securely.
Oh, and it also folds completely flat to fit into the carrying case it came in.
Sweet C also appreciated the removable and adjustable sun canopy (with UPF 50+ sun protection!) to help keep the sun out of her eyes and off of her skin!
The Infant Baby Spring Float with Sun Canopy is a fabric-covered baby float for babies 3-9 months old.
It is a life-saver for moms like me who want to enjoy pool time with their youngest babies without having to hold them the entire time.
It keeps your baby comfortable and supported during their first adventure into the swimming pool, so that they have a positive first introduction to the water!
This thing is an absolute life-saver for our family this summer, and I recommend one to any mom stressing about handling the pool with more than one kiddo!
SwimWays is an industry leader in helping children learn to swim and promoting water safety, and they have tons of information on how to help your kids enjoy the pool and learn to swim here!