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Scared of swimming, what are some tips to get my children to love the water?


Posted by kjgarner, 5th October 2015


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  • I don’t know what age your child is ? But playing in the bath, paddle pool and at the beach is a good start. When possible start early with baby swimming. My 6yr old has Down syndrome and due to ear problems she was not allowed to have her ears in the water til age 5yr. So she started swimming lessons only at age 5 nearly 6yrs old and had a lot of fear. Individual swimming lessons with an experienced teacher helped. My son was scared too and when the swimming teacher pushed him under the water to so called give him the sense that it was nothing to be scared about, he freaked and was scared and sick till vomit for years ! Find a good teacher who knows kids and their fears.


  • I took my daughter to water confidence classes first before taking her to swimming lessons.


  • Start off in baby/wading pools and build up their confidence little by little.


  • Splashing in the bath, then move them to a paddling pool at home, then into a shallow wading pool at your local pool, then try going into the water with them while you hold on to them. I was told to wear a t-shirt as it’s easier for the kids to hold on to you when you’re wet and they don’t feel so scared they’re going to slip off.


  • Quite a few start swimming lessons before the age of 3. The parents go in the water with their children until they are 3 years old. I have noticed one of the things they do is use a jug to tip water over their heads. If your children are small enough, what you can try is put a bit more water in their bath, hold them on their backs and encourage them to kick with their feet and stroke a bit with their arms to get used of the splashing. Yes, you will probably get a wet floor but it worked with one of ours. Mind you, he still hates having his hair washed and dried – even with a favourite towel. Are you trying to get your children to love the water in a pool which has chemical in it. That could be an issue. I have noticed at sometimes it smells very strong and makes my eyes sting even though I don’t go into the water at all. Our youngest doesn’t like his ears in the water at all so we have to watch we don’t let his head get too low in the water. At the moment he is swimming on his back so we are dreading the next stage. If they reckon the water is cold, you may consider putting rashies either all in ones or two piece over the top of their bathers. They do help keep them a bit warmer.


  • I suppose splashing would make them have fun and get used to the water in their eyes!


  • Thanks we will try a little padding pool as the bigger pool she just wouldn’t let go. We even tried the spa with bubbles still hanging on. So I tried bouncing up and down to get her alittle bit wet as it was warm. We also splashed dad and at times two hands off.
    I think the making it fun helps.


  • get them in the splash or shallow end and try to get their confidence up there first. then move them onto the next stage


  • Swimming lessons can be very hard with kids scared of water – I had a screamer who refused to get in and then once (or at times if) in the water, total refusal to do anything – just more tears. Then I was lucky enough to have a swim teacher who sat in the pool edge and asked what colours and water creatures she liked – after a bit he said there were mermaids in the pool who wanted to swim with her and that if she jumped in she might just see them. These were the first lessons that she willingly went to. I suppose my advice is, try to make water fun and incidental to play, don’t force it and be patient.


  • Make it fun in the bath and shower first. Get in the pool with them and show them that they are safe with you and show them that getting face/hair wet is all the fun.

    Swimming lessons are good too – teachers are very patient and take baby steps if need be.

    My Miss 3 screamed when she got in the pool (unlike her older brother who is a fish) so her teacher just swished her around in the water without getting her to put her face in and made it fun after a few lessons of screaming she is now putting her face in, jumping in and floating.


  • My daughter 7 has a pool noodle it has a sea horse head & tail,it is very good,I also would put a round floaty around her waste & floaties on her arms.


  • Yeah they love baths, not showers though, scream the house down when we have showers, maybe I need to get them some goggles or something but I like the sound of the little paddling pool.


  • Do they love baths or is it just a big pool/ open water they are scared of??? if its a big pool trying starting with a little paddling pool, let them fill it up with the hose and see how it goes. just take it slowly, my little girl hated water when it was too cold, so we slowly made it cooler for her and now she is happy to go in the pool.


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