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What to do about a child who refuses to go underwater?

My 5 year old daughter has just finished a summer of swimming lessons and has made no progress at all because she refuses to put her head under water! She will briefly put her face in but will not willingly put her head under. She did do it a few times in class and hated it, so it's not like she doesn't know how it feels. I have had her doctor check her ears, and there's no problem there. It's very frustrating to sit through a summer of lessons and see no progression at all. Is there anything I can do about this?

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:39 AM on Aug. 27, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (15)
  • Why are you so concerned about it? She will do it when she is ready. If you try to push it on her she will just dislike it even more. Let her move at her own pace and she will be fine.

    Answer by lilbit837 at 8:40 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • My daughter is 6 and still doesn't do it. She just doesn't like it and Im not going to push her. Water is a scary thing, she is happy to play in it but she doesn't like being completely submerged and I can't blame her. Think of it from her viewpoint and be a little more understanding!

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:44 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • I wouldn't push it. My grandma and aunt never go underwater when they are swimming, they just don't like the feeling. Maybe someday she'll be comfortable with underwater swimming. maybe not.


    Answer by lilysmom2607 at 8:47 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • Stop trying to force her to do it. Find something that she's interested in doing. Not what you WANT her to do.

    Answer by LyTe684 at 8:48 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • My oldest son is 41/2 and is just now showing interest in putting his head underwater. He won't do it yet though. I never pushed him when it can to water because he was alway cautious of it from the time he was little. My two youngest really LOVE the water and i have a hard time getting them out. They are 3 and 15mo. I am sure she will go underwater in her own time. In my oppinion i would not push her. Everyone i think gets used to water in their own time.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:48 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • Don't force her to do it. My parents tryed to force me too. I am 48 and still do not no how to swim.
    The more they pushed me the more I refused. Water is not my friend.

    Answer by louise2 at 8:49 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • Why is it a big deal? If she's not feeling safe doing it then you shouldn't make her...that's like making a child ride a roller coaster when they are afraid of heights.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 8:51 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • Don't force her to take lessons. She's probably gotten enough out of them to keep afloat and be safe, but no reason for her to have to dunk her head or swim underwater if she doesn't want to.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:15 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • I'm not forcing her to do it but the reason it's a big deal is we have spent a great deal of time and a few hundred dollars on swim lessons and have seen no progress at all! She has not moved up a level since the beginning of the summer. I don't know if I should sign her up for lessons next summer if this is going to happen again. I don't want to waste time and money on something she's not going to do, but then again if I don't put her in swim lessons she'll never learn. It's kind of a catch -22.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:21 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • some people are fishes, some are not. My daughter loves the water SO MUCH, that she managed to teach herself to swim by 4 years old, just by playing in the pool so much. She wouldn't even let anyone instruct her. She learned all by herslef.

    BUT, her older sister veda (paternal sisters) HATES the water. I even remember when she was a baby, you could not get her anywhere NEAR the pool. It was difficult even getting her in the bath tub. BUT, she is an incredible soccer player. Water is just not her thing. I joke sometimes & say that she must have drowned in a past life to hate water so much. Then i actually read in a Tibetan book, that this actually happens. People live w/ the fear they experienced, when they died in their previous life. Not that i think it's true, just thought it was interesting.

    Don't push her. Let her find what it is that makes her feel good. Water is obviously not her thing.

    Answer by samurai_chica at 9:21 AM on Aug. 27, 2009

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