My 7-year-old-son is scared stiff of wa­ter. —How can I help him over­come his pho­bia?

Milk Magazine (English) - - EDUCATION -

Jac­ques Ni­co­las. Chair­man of the Beau­vais Baby Club who runs FAEL. What mat­ters is to re­spect his pho­bia and to take things step by step in the form of a game. Choose a space where he can en­ter the wa­ter very grad­u­ally. Play with him at the edge of the wa­ter (with wa­ter­ing can, ball, plas­tic boat). Gen­tly en­cour­age him to walk into the wa­ter up to his knees, then up to his waist, but let him set the pace. This might re­quire three half-hour ses­sions. Do not de­spair! Once he’s walked into the wa­ter up to his shoul­ders, take him some­where he can play while still touch­ing bot­tom. He needs to know he can put his feet down: he’s a land­lub­ber. Then kit him out with gog­gles so he can see what hap­pens un­der­wa­ter. Start with his chin, make noises with your mouth, say hello to him un­der­wa­ter… play un­til he is ready to put his head un­der the sur­face. Once he has enough con­fi­dence to do that, try and get him to stretch out on his stom­ach, sup­ported by your hands or a board. When he re­al­izes that he can float nat­u­rally, he’ll re­lax and be ready to learn how to swim.

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