questions and answers about swimming

by Karen


I am trying to teach my 7 year old son to swim. He does not like the water, hates putting his face in the water and is generally pretty resistant to trying new things in the water. I was trying to use a teaching method that does not involve putting your face in the water to learn to swim in really shallow water. He does try, but generally does not like to do it and the progress has been really slow and if something goes wrong he backslides and becomes even more resistant. I am basically trying to teach him the doggy paddle according to a method described in a book called Teach yourself to swim despite your fear of the water. He would like to find a way to learn to swim that is more fun, but doesn't make him go under or put his face in.
With this kind of challenge one might say he is just not ready. The problem is we have 2 ponds on the land we live on and he likes to go there with friends to play. I am concerned for his safety.
Do you have any suggestions that might help in this particular case?
Thank you for your time and efforts in advance.

Hi Karen,
Thank you so much for your question, it is very difficult when you need to teach your child to swim and your child doesn’t seem to want to learn to swim. You also have the extra worry with the ponds near to your house.

Sometimes the harder you try the more children seem to resist and believe me when I say I’ve had some children that you would never think they’d learn to swim but eventually they do.

My advice to you is to stop trying to teach him to swim....go to the pool and don’t even attempt to even try. Start again he needs to know that swimming and water is fun not somewhere where he has to do practices.

Start playing games, there are some on my website about playing games with hoops lots of suggestions there. Also try floating and push and glide which is also described on my website.

The animal game is fun. Just simply splash around let him splash you and splash him a little. Make it fun and enjoyable you need to make him associate water and swimming with fun. It seems to be that he associates swimming and water with fear and discomfort. Try taking his favourite toys i.e. a toy soldier or monster you know the sort I mean. Don’t try to make him swim or put his face in. Gradually let him go by himself a little deeper at a time until he feels comfortable and happy in the water.

When you want to achieve a goal you must break it down..let’s take the putting his head in the water for instance. Blowing a ping pong ball or something similar across the pool this helps him to get his face close to the water. There are also items you can buy from a sports shop...but remember to turn it into a game. Make some goals and he has to blow the ball through a floating goal have two balls and have a race across the pool let him win sometimes :).... Next step is to play the tractor game...get him to blow bubbles in the water and make a tractor or car noise or some kind of he blows bubbles and walk across the pool

Once you have some success with that move onto holding nose and submersing head in shallow water. Then eyes, your child could wear goggles so he can see under water. Hold your hand in front of him when his head is in the water and get him to tell you how many fingers you are showing or an animal or toy etc...keep making it fun...

So any practice can be broken down and done in your child’s doggie paddle. All swimming on the front starts with doggie paddle. Then your child will try to reach out and get hands out of the water. When this is achieved you try to get your child to get elbows and arms out until you have front crawl arms...

Then when he feels comfortable you can start gradual with teaching practices. The practices that you can use will no different to what I describe on my web site. If you are looking for more practices and new or extra ideas. I do have an eBook with games practices etc there are more practices in my book the web site is a taste of what can be done. If you go on the home page there is buy eBook on the nav bar. ITS ONLY £4.79 so you have very little to lose....

What you have going for you is that he is willing to learn, but he is nervous, that is normal lots of children have that fear.

For some reassurance, if he is that frightened of water he is less likely to be getting too close to the pools you are scared of him getting so close to...

All in all you have nothing to lose by just trying games and having fun in the water and it may do you good too. Try not to rush him into anything he doesn’t want to do and he will be fine....

If you have any other questions please get back in touch id be pleased to help....
Dale :)

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Jul 10, 2013
swimming techniques disabilities
by: Sharon Miles

Read the questions and answer very much in depth answer helped me with my similar problem. Thank you Dale it has been a help you really seem to know what you are talking about.


Thats great!!!! good im glad that people are getting benifit from other peoples experences in swimming techniques that what it's all about....send in a question if you have any further questions and you cant find an answer on my site in normally not too long answering people...good luck Sharon......

Dale :)

Jan 26, 2012
by: karen

Hi Dale,
I just saw your suggestions. Once we get back to the pool, I will try them. Thanks so much!

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