5 Creative Ways to Help Your Child Love Swimming

This post was last updated on June 25th, 2017 at 08:25 pm

I recently learned that kids have irrational fears.  I also learned that, to them, they are very rational.  I put my son in swimming lessons about 8 months ago for the first time.  He was 5 and looking back now I wish I had started sooner.  We don’t swim a lot but my dad has a pool, so for safety reasons I think he should know how to swim.  Not to mention he loves being in the water.  His first session of lessons went well.  Then I put him in a new session about 2 months ago.  For some reason now he is terrified of putting his ears under the water.  He thinks the water won’t come out and he won’t be able to hear.  I have no idea where this is coming from, except that one time he got water in his ear in the bathtub.  So, going through this experience I have learned a few things that may help others.

  1. Try ear plugs – This may work for some.  It did not work for my son but it is what everyone recommended.  I did see some other kids using them so they definitely work, he just didn’t want me to put them in.
  2. Try a swim cap – While these will not stop the water from going in the ears, it will delay it which will help.
  3. The big one that worked for my son is cotton balls – Yes, you read that correctly.  I took a cotton ball and tore it into small pieces that would fit into his ears.  What it does is absorbs the water as it flows into the ears, thus stopping the sensation of feeling the ear fill up.  It was like a miracle!
  4. Keep at it – Don’t let your child quit swimming or even take a break.  I am not saying force them in the water, but keep going until he or she gets comfortable.  This can take some time and may be excruciating to have patience, but remember this is a REAL fear to them.
  5. Above all, don’t get mad or disappointed – Unfortunately, I found this hard in the beginning.  Because here is my 6-year-old in a class with 3-year-old’s and he can’t do things they can do.  That is unfair to compare him to others, and really my fault for not starting him sooner.

Ever since we started the cotton balls, though, he has done great.  He even holds his nose and puts his whole face in the water.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I am sure this is the case with any fear a child may have.  Keep in mind there were things you were probably afraid of as a kid, and as irrational as they may seem now, they were real at the time.

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Author: Brandy Law

Brandy is a married mother of one boy. She has a degree in early childhood education and business. In addition to writing she loves to read and spend time with family and friends. She loves to make people laugh with her sarcasm, and to help people with their parenting dilemmas.

16 Comments on “5 Creative Ways to Help Your Child Love Swimming

  1. Great tips! It’s so important to acknowledge a child’s fears instead of brushing them off. I like the idea of cotton balls, simple and cheap and a quick fix!

  2. I’ve never considered that water in the ears could be a reason behind a distaste for swimming. We used the wax ear plugs growing up (my poor baby bro was extra susceptible to swimmers ear) and I’d highly recommend them.

  3. I have never learned how to swim because I was afraid to do so. I don’t want my children to go through the same. I hope this helps

  4. I will have to try this with my daughter, this fall she is starting swimming lessons while he brother is in school. She is going to be one and half, and it took us her first 6 months to even want to enjoy the bath, let alone try and put her in a pool.

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