Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

What should I do when my son refuses to take swim lessons?

My son is 3 years old and this morning he wouldn't go near the pool at the YMCA for his swimming lessons. He was with 2 of his friends who jumped right in. I am there with my 18 month old and my 5 week old baby, so I can't get in the water with him. Any suggestions?

PS He is completely immune to bribes.

Answer Question

Asked by MirandaBooher at 1:35 PM on Jun. 13, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 3 (13 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • I wouldn't force him. You can see if they offer one on one lessons.


    Answer by Christine0813 at 1:37 PM on Jun. 13, 2011

  • Sounds like he's just not ready for it yet. Give him another year and see if he is more willing next summer.

    Answer by scout_mom at 1:38 PM on Jun. 13, 2011

  • Don't force, you will just create issues.

    Answer by mompam at 1:39 PM on Jun. 13, 2011

  • Instead of paying for swim lessons, could you pay a sitter to watch your little ones and then you be the one to take him into the pool. Once he's comfortable in the pool, maybe you could switch over to lessons.

    Answer by missanc at 1:41 PM on Jun. 13, 2011

  • I used to teach 3-5 year old swim lessons at my local YMCA. It's actually very common for the 3 year olds to be terrified of getting into the water, especially if it's something brand new for them.

    1) if you are a facility member (pay monthly membership dues) you can sign your two younger children into the Kids' Corner for 90 minutes of free childcare. I would check on the 5 week old, s/he MAY not be old enough yet.

    2) encourage him to sit on the side and stick his feet in the water. I'd do this with some of my shyer kids. "You don't have to swim with me, but will you please sit here with the class with your feet in the water?" Then I'd praise the heck out of them for being so brave about sticking their feet in. I'd do a LOT of high fives, even if all they did was sit there on the side and tell me no all class.


    Answer by Rosehawk at 2:08 PM on Jun. 13, 2011

  • CONT

    3) There ARE private lessons offered, but they're pretty expensive and more often than not a group class is better. They just need to get used to being in a group without Mom being right there.

    4) If all else fails there IS a class called Parent & Pike. It's a pike class (the class he's in now) but an adult gets into the water with the child. I would recommend a Parent & Pike over private lessons.

    5) To really get a child comfortable in the water they need to be IN the water at least 2x week. That can be lessons, playing or a combination of both.

    Be patient and understanding. Swim lessons are SCARY for some kids. Like I would explain it to "my" parents: These kids are 2-3 feet tall, getting into water deeper than they are tall, doing something they've never done before with someone they've never met before. *I'D* be terrified too.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 2:13 PM on Jun. 13, 2011

  • I have a friend with a 3 year old that initially refused to get in the water -- since mom had paid for teh classes, they went anyway and sat along the sidelines -- don't you know on the 3rd visit the little girl was tired of just watching all the fun and decided to participate! My DD (4) did that with soccer at first -- then decided to participate -- I am a strong believer that you don't quit things you sign up for so we would've went to every game/lesson until the season ended!

    Answer by BaileysMom476 at 2:15 PM on Jun. 13, 2011

  • Don't force him. I was forced for 6 years to take swimming lessons. I am still to this day deathly afraid of water, I never go into it and I STILL cant swim.

    Answer by texasgurl33 at 2:36 PM on Jun. 13, 2011

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.