12 answers

3 Yr Old Won't Go in Swimming Lessons

Do I push her to continue lessons where she has not gone in the water or just quit/

What can I do next?

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I wouldn't push her and try again when she's a little older. We tried Australian Swim school for 2 years but my son still wouldn't put his head under the water. When he was about 5 we got a private instructor and she had him swimming in one day... When you daughter is a little older she'll be ready.

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Yup, just quit. It won't do anybody any good to push her, she'll just balk and be more scared. Give it a few months or a year; time will change everything. I'm a mother of five, I've been down this road many times! My youngest was deathly and I do mean extremely afraid of horses. She would run screaming from even a toy rocking horse. One day, when she was 4 1/2, we were at the Orange County fair, and she calmly asked, "Mommy, can I ride the pony?" So...she did, and there were no hysterics,;it was all calm and boring, actually. She has never been afraid since.

what is your goal? was the swimming your idea or your daughter's?

if she really doesn't want to do it & there is no pressing safety need, perhaps she can finish out whatever lessons have been paid for & then be done. shows that you are willing to honor her desire to quit and gives her an opportunity to complete a commitment (and shows her that there is an end in sight).

Consider the teacher, environment, and teaching style. There are so many possibilities as to why your child won't go in swimming lessons. It could be her age, the sex of the teacher, the temperature of the water, etc. After teaching swimming for over 10 years I have learned that so much of the time the reason a child is uncomfortable entering the water is rarely what we think it is. Try not to second guess her. To help her, ensure the environment is comfortable for her. Is the water warm enough for her body? Is it loud, calm, or or chaotic at the pool? Are there other children crying or protesting? Since swimming can be such an important milestone for children my thoughts for you are: proceed carefully, consider your goals for her, and listen to your gut. And in my opinion, learning to love the water and learning to swim should always go hand in hand.

J. Golde
Owner, Water Otters Swim School

Have you tried going in sthe water with her maybe she needs to know that moma likes the water some times just playing in the water a while will get her use to it good luck my 3 yeaar old grandson just loves the water tomorrow is my 87th birthday and we are haveing a swim party and barbacue in our baaack yard good lluck A. no hills

R., please don't push. Just play for now. Do some basics, splash, get wet, put her face under. Show her how much fun the water is, while talking to her about safety. She will come around. They always do.

Family Success Coach

That depends... is it a safety issue? Does she NEED to learn how to swim (ie have direct access to a pool lake or ocean where she might enter and drown if left unattended for more than a few minutes?). If it is just for enrichment, I would drop it. Enrichment activities are supposed to be fun, too. You can take her to the public pools yourself and just play, without the added stress of the lesson.

Don't push her to go in the water. You could try different type of pools and different lessons to see if there is one type she does better in. My son is rather fearful of the pool and while he won't spend much time in a pool that is shallow and he has a choice to get out of, he does much better in a deeper pool in which he has to be held. You could also try going to a free swim in a shallow pool in which she could just play and get used to the water versus a formal class. I think you should keep at it though and try to get her used to the water/pool. The more she's exposed the better she'll do. Good luck.

My daughter did the same thing - she used to love it, but suddenly didn't like getting her face wet. I want her to like swimming, so we quit the lessons and now I just take her and we play. When she's comfortable enough, I'll sign her up again. Good luck.

I had the exact same problem w/ my 3 yr old. She now goes in the pool. I ended up sitting right on the edge and holding her. I also bring her early, go pee, check everything out....one day 1/2 way through the lesson she stopped crying and enjoyed it.

I would not push it. I put my oldest daughter in swim lessons at 3. I paid a fortune for the lessons. She was not ready to learn until she was about 5. Same thing with my second daughter. She really was not ready to grasp it until 5. I was so afraid to have my daughters around any type of water until they knew how to swim which is why I started the lessons so early, but in my opinion they were not ready to learn until they were 5.

Again, this is just my opinion and my experience.



That one is so tough...I have to say we ended up waiting until my oldest was four to start lessons and I'm glad we did. He got right in and love every minute of it last year. We started back again this year and there's never been a tear!

On another note, I don't see a lot of crying kids where we go...Waterworks in Irvine...maybe a different setting would work? I love it there!

I wouldn't push her and try again when she's a little older. We tried Australian Swim school for 2 years but my son still wouldn't put his head under the water. When he was about 5 we got a private instructor and she had him swimming in one day... When you daughter is a little older she'll be ready.

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