Being in the water can be a strange experience for a baby, the whole feeling of the water, the smells, the weird echoic sounds of the pool and the people.
start off small as the experience can be overwhelming to begin with. And if your child is petrified, dont force them as it wil cement their fears.
1: BE RELAXED:
Ensure the first experience of water is relaxed. A baby will pick up on your own stress and tension in the water so it’s important to show that you are happy and that any experience that your baby encounters is reinforced with your smiles and praise. This is the first step to building confidence; making positive associations with the experience. Start small, playing with toys on the top step on the warm baby pool.
your child doesnt have to make a break through every session, (jumping in, splashing legs etc) Simply being in and around the pool environment will improve their confidence
2: LEARN TO MOVE:
The baby will have certain movements which are instinctive when it is in the water, like a kicking reflex which is similar to our breaststroke kick. This can be reinforced by praise and showing him/her that the reflex leads to movement.