Tips for Helping Your Child Get Ready for Swimming Lessons and Overcoming Fear of the Water

Difficult Behaviour in Girls

“I wish my daughter would get ready for her swimming lesson on time!”


swimming lesson
  • Let her know when you are leaving home, or from elsewhere, and try to consistently stick to the same time. Allow an extra five minutes for road works, parking or other unexpected hold-ups.
  • Allow plenty of time for getting ready so that there is no rushing.
  • Talk about the lesson in a positive and motivating way.
  • Encourage every effort to get ready, no matter how small. Encourage her to do as much as possible on her own.
  • Tell her when she has ten minutes to go
  • Make sure that your child has had a snack and drink before she goes and is healthy and rested.

Difficult Behaviour in Boys

“My son won’t go in the pool! I have paid all this money and he agreed to participate!”


swimming lesson
  • Ensure that your son is familiar with the surroundings and the teacher.
  • Explain the reasons for learning to swim or gaining water confidence.
  • Remain calm.
  • Resist nagging, threatening, shouting, getting angry, shaming and bribing.
  • Ask your son, in a relaxed manner, why he doesn’t want to go in the water. Try to reassure him and answer his worries honestly. Explain what it will be like in the water.
  • Tell your son what you would like him to do in a firm and relaxed manner.
  • Encourage your son to have a quick go and get out if he is uncomfortable.
  • Tell him about something good that is happening after swimming is finished eg. hiring a dvd, seeing Grandpa.
  • If he doesn’t want to go in after this, accept it and say something like “Maybe next time”.
  • If you wait a few minutes, without pressuring him, he may very well change his mind.
  • Ensure that your son has seen you swimming in a pool or at the beach. A male role model, preferably the parent or brother is also helpful in this way.
  • Lots of water play eg. baths, showers, squirter bottles, splashing in puddles etc will help familiarise your son with water

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