a man and a child walking on a beach
What do we do when the child is afraid of the sea

The pediatrician's instructions were clear: "Put him in the sea as soon as he is born. Babies are as familiar with water as fish..." And yet. If some babies are born "mermaids" or "dophines", others abhor water at all costs.

According to scientific studies, not all children are "lovers" of the sea, nor do they achieve the same resistances on the scale of fear.
Each child is a separate case, a different entity whose preferences we must respect, whether we like them or not. Many parents, however, anchor their personal "want" by directly or indirectly forcing their children to love the sea, possibly ignoring that no love is won by force. A big mistake, since experts point out from time to time that no "miraculous" seawater and no exercise at sea is beneficial if it is not done with fun and excitement by the child. My own child belongs, for the moment, to the category of those who do not love the sea.

Not even the pool. Not even the fish. Nor the mermaids. Not even Nemo.

He likes to lie on the sunbed, drink iced juices, browse magazines and repeat in an imperative tone every two minutes "Andrea wants to go home!" I tried everything, read everything, bought everything and "saw everything" in order to convince him. No. This, the third summer of his life, I'm not going to transform back into a shark that will menacingly run after him to shove him in the water while he screams. Nor will I try to buy off one of his orange-toned dips and ice cream promises. This summer, I'll let him sit quietly on his lounger, with his juices, his magazines, the clichéd expression, "Andrea wants to go home!" and the modern perception of child psychologists who want children to be free.

Ten tips for getting used to the sea:

1. Before the trip to the sea, cultivate a climate of joy. Talk to him about water games and sand towers.

2. First, play with it a long way from the edge of the sea making sure to wet the child often with sea water.

3. Under no circumstances force the child to enter the sea and never attempt to submerge them by force. Such a move can make it dislike the sea (and you) for a long time.

4. Even if it is true do not show the child that you are afraid of water. Your panic is not only picked up by the child but is transmitted like... a virus.

5. Don't show him that you really want him to swim. Pretend to be... indifferent!

6. Avoid rough seas, icy waters and rocks.

7. Enter the water slowly holding the child in your arms, standing or on the side, talking to him calmly, smiling and having his face turned towards yours.

8. The floaties or the life jacket are not needed before the child gets used to the sea and this will be easier if he feels safe in your arms.

9. Slowly submerge his whole body in the water, which should not exceed his shoulders

10. Do not hold it still, but move it gently in the sea and do various games.

11. If the child does not want to enter the water at all, you should back off and leave the beach, postponing the "swim" operation for the next day.

gkoutsopoulos | 28.09.2016