I think my baby has a fear of the water. I have a 23-month-old daughter who used to love water. I took her to a parent-toddler swimming lesson, and after the second class, once they asked me to put her head underwater, she developed a fear of water. The session is not over. Should I stop taking her to the class? She is even screaming at home when it is time for her bath.
I’m sorry to hear that your daughter has had a bad experience during her swimming lesson. She was not ready to be put under the water. Some children respond very well to being put underwater, and some do not.
Babies can naturally hold their breath underwater and so have no problems. However, the older they become, the more sensitive they become to these things. Whether she should or should not have been put underwater is irrelevant now, as it's been done. What is important is what to do now.
Firstly stop taking her to her current classes. She will only associate the sights and sounds of the pool and the teacher with her bad experience.
Take her swimming yourself, if possible, to a different pool. The one and only reason for going: is to have fun! And fun, you must make it. No going underwater, no splashing in the face. Take her to do everything she used to do when she loved the water.
Take some floating toys, put her in a comfortable floatation aid of your choice and have some fun. Even if she screams the first couple of times, you must persist. Soon she will learn that going to the swimming pool is not all about going under the water.
After a while, when she becomes happier, you can reintroduce some aspects of breath-holding and submerge. Simple exercises like swimming with her chin on the water's surface, blowing bubbles, and submerging her mouth and maybe nose whilst blowing bubbles. All these kinds of things will help boost her confidence again. They are all things that can easily be practised in the bath at home too!
It must be a gradual approach, and the number one priority should always be fun, especially for children of your daughter’s age.
I hope you find this information helpful, and I wish you and your daughter every success with your swimming.