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Certified Personal Trainer. Health Foodie. Wife. Mom.

How To Teach Your Children To Love Swimming



You have kids, you have a family swimming pool, and you want to combine the two. As a parent, you’d like to show your children how much fun the pool can be, but you’re aware that not all kids respond the same way when they are first around the water. So how can a parent teach their children to enjoy swimming, and have them consider it a positive experience?

Recognize their individuality. Some kids will be naturals in the water, and take to it from the very first. Encourage that child and just let their fun continue. Another child might be hesitant around the water. Be on the lookout for signs of that reticence, and address it. The old “throw them in the deep end” concept could really be scarring for a child who already is ambivalent about the water. Talk with the child, and see why they are hesitating. Reassure that child that you’re not going to rush them, but if they try the pool, they might find it is fun. Here are several great sites which show water games – the parents can describe them to the kids, emphasizing how fun they are:

Model the behavior. There’s a reason Tom Sawyer got so many kids to paint the fence for him. He looked like he was so engrossed that he didn’t even hear the other kids drifting up to watch him. Kids watch everything we do, so have Mom watch the kids, while Dad jumps in the water, and splashes around looking like he’s having a lot of fun. It won’t take long, and Dad will have little ones begging to be in the water with him. For the kids who are old enough to have taken swimming lessons, any reticence about water will likely soon disappear with the realization that they can spray water on good old Dad.

Go slowly if necessary. As the kids get used to the water, the naturals will be playing with Dad and having a great time. But the child who hesitated initially may still be cautious. Don’t force the things at this point, but have Dad swim to the side of the pool and encourage the child to come sit by him. Let the child just get used to being near the water, then let them sit down. If they dangle their feet in the water, consider that a win, and don’t make them do any more, unless they want to.

Continue the conversation. For the kids who are old enough, ask them how they liked their swimming lessons. Tell them that you’re really pleased they’ve learned to swim, and let them know that in addition to all the fun of the pool, swimming is a great form of exercise. Tell them they have accomplished something really big, and it will be a skill that they will find useful for the rest of their lives. For the younger kids, just ask them what they think of being around the water, and gauge their response. If they can’t wait to get back to the pool, they’ve already combined the concepts of fun and pool. If a child responds with their head tucked into their shoulder, now is the time for parental patience. Just keep going slow, and the child will likely come around.

Teaching your kids the fun of the swimming pool is just one more task of parenting. Since the water can bring up drastically different responses in children, it’s good to spend time making sure the kids are introduced to the pool so that it is a really positive experience. When they’re laughing and splashing in the pool – the effort is rewarded!

Kaitlin Gardner writes for She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend.  In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature.  She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.

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  1. Thanks Holly!

  2. you bet! :)