5 Things to Keep in Mind While Dealing With a Reluctant Swimmer

Every parent knows that swimming is a crucial life skill that their children NEED to learn. However, if a child shows resistance, it can be difficult for both the child and their parents. Many families struggle through swim lessons, but we are here to say that it will be okay!!


“What if we just put our feet in the water, first?”

These comments are all too common when you are dealing with a child who is unwilling to go near the pool. Parents/guardians endure the screaming and crying as they walk their first-time swimmers up the stairs. Children can be stubborn!

“I’ll buy you an ice cream cone after the lesson! I’ll even let you get sprinkles, too!”


Even if parents have made their own attempts at getting their kids in the water, it can be a never ending battle to get them comfortable in the water. Swimming is a life skill, and many parents feel strongly towards their children learning how to swim. This is where our Love Swimming instructors step in. Our staff is here to take your little ones on, and will endure what feels like the impossible!

I know that it sounds crazy to hand your toddler off to a complete stranger and hiding out of plain sight. It is difficult knowing that your child is crying and looking for mom/dad while the instructor is teaching them unfamiliar skills. Letting the swim instructors teach your children for 30 minutes while your child is frantically trying to find a way out of the pool, can easily be the hardest part for parents to watch and hear; however, it is essential for your child.
We want parents of fearful swimmers to know that they are not alone and to share 5 things to know going into your child’s very first swim lesson:

  1. Breed familiarity: When you arrive for your child’s first swim lesson and they’re crying hysterically, it can be agony. It can also feel embarrassing; it seems like the tears and screams are endless. Know that you are not alone and that this won’t last forever. For most children, a pool is daunting. Children can also become fearful when they are expected to go off with an instructor, whom they are unfamiliar with. Don’t forget, our instructors train for these moments and we will get your child swimming! But, there are things that you can do to help before your child’s first lesson. Visit our facility and meet the team! Show your kids the pools and prepare them for what to expect in swim lessons. Then, walk your child to their first lesson, and enthusiastically greet the teacher. If you trust us, your child will too! Building familiarity can reduce fear.
  2. Try to remain positive: If you dread swim lessons, then your child will too. If you exude negativity or worry towards swim lessons, again, your child will too. Talk positively about the instructors, the pool, and the swim school. Remain calm and upbeat, and cheer your child on during the lesson, even when both of you are nervous/scared. As a parent, you have to make sure that you push your children out of their comfort zone and build confidence. Hugs and high fives go a long way to reassure children.
  3. Be the parent: Your child is going to tell you that they don’t want to swim. They will probably also tell you that they don’t want to eat their vegetables, go to sleep, or go to school. As a parent, certain things have to be non-negotiable, especially when it comes to your child’s safety. So, when they start putting up a fight against going to swim lessons, just remember #1 and #2 above. They might be mad at you now, but they will be happy in the long run.
  4. Commit the time: Mastering swim skills take time. All children are different, and some may need more time in swim lessons to execute the proper skills. Swimming requires persistence and practice. Doing the doggy paddle to the side of the pool is not swimming. It’s not even keeping your child safe. Commit the time to make sure that your child learns how to swim efficiently, properly, and skillfully. If you pull your child out of swim lessons before they move onto the next swim level, then they’re not ready for the water. Children should stay enrolled in swim lessons longer than six weeks; make sure you place swim lessons above other frivolous hobbies. Something is wrong when we don’t place enough emphasis on a life skill.
  5. Practice, practice, practice: The more you practice the skills we teach your child, the faster they will learn and be able to graduate from our program. Try to take your children to the pool outside of swim lessons; practice what we teach your children. Practice blowing bubbles and getting their face wet in the bath tub. When you devote the time and energy into helping your kids learn how to swim, you are helping to foster independence and confidence within your children.