Kids Corner – Fear & Swimming

We are here to help…

We would like to welcome you to our Kids Corner blog… we often get asked questions regarding young children and helping parents with family issues. These can be related to fears, anxiety, habits, frustrations and much more. If you have a question for us and you want some understandings and help please email us here. Every month we will share a few tips from the YLK Team.



This month’s question:

Why is my child not wanting to go swimming, I want my child to learn to swim so they don’t drown?

Water is a big attraction to children whether playing in it or near it, it can be lots of fun! As parents we often have many happy memories playing in or around water as children.  This is something we would like for our children also, yet for them to always be safe in doing so.  As adults we are well aware of the dangers surrounding water and recognise swimming as an essential skill for our children.  They don’t have to be the next Rebecca Adlington but to have a level of ability and awareness around water brings peace of mind.  Not all children are natural water lovers and not all are happy to participate in a class, the reasons for resistance are many and varied.  To positively encourage your child is key….sometimes children can hear about the potential of drowning from other family members, TV, books or friends, they listen to this and then feel or think they may drown. Once the idea is planted in their mind it it can take perseverance to turn the situation around.

Here are our 5 top tips for supporting your children with their swimming –

  1. Explain that they are going swimming and will be looked after by their teacher and meet new friends. Be sure to use an encouraging tone in your voice. Explain you will be watching and will be there to collect them when the lesson has finished.
  1. Watch your child while they are in their lesson, give them thumbs up, big smiles, and lots of praise after. Focus on the positives after their session, what they did do, not what they didn’t do.
  1. Understand your child may be nervous, explain that is ok but you know they will have fun. Always listen to your child because how they feel is important to them, even if it is not real it is to them.  But don’t feed into it….this is the balance.
  1. If you have a fear regarding water yourself be mindful not to put your own fear on your child. Their situation is different to any you have been through in the water.
  1. If your child has had any issues with water, contact the teacher and explain privately. It is best not to discuss this in front of your child, hearing this only compacts the issue in your child and won’t make them feel happy about swimming.

Last thoughts from Kerry – I find what works best is that I ask my pupils how they are in the water. I often hear children say they might drown or I nearly drowned, I understand this is a real feeling for a child. I encourage children to put their face into the water. With great encouragement a child will follow. Remember often the reasons for a child not wanting to learn how to swim are very different. Listen and reassure your child that all is good.

My last tip is to be sure to take your child to class on time so there is no rushing and they are there at the start.

Happy Swimming


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