Addressing Common Fears That Children Have About Swimming


Swimming is not only an essential life skill but also a gateway to a myriad of recreational activities. However, many children have fears or reservations about taking the plunge. Addressing these fears sensitively and effectively is crucial for a positive swimming experience, especially if you are considering swim training for children. Here, we delve into common fears children may have and how best to alleviate them.

Fear of Water (Aquaphobia)

This is perhaps the most basic fear that many children (and adults) face. Aquaphobia can stem from a bad experience or could be entirely psychological. Either way, it’s important to address this fear before it develops into a long-term phobia. One effective approach is to acclimatise your child to water gradually. Start with shallow water activities and slowly work your way deeper as your child becomes more comfortable.

Fear of Drowning

The fear of drowning is incredibly real and valid for many children. This is where swimming lessons can be most effective. Learning basic swimming and water safety skills can instil confidence and ease fears. Explain to your child that knowing how to swim is one of the best ways to ensure their safety in water. Make sure they understand that an instructor will be present at all times, specifically trained to prevent such incidents.

Fear of Separation

Many children have a hard time being separated from their parents, even for short periods. When this separation occurs in a new environment, like a swimming pool, the fear can intensify. If this is the case, consider enrolling in classes that allow parental participation, at least initially. Once your child gains confidence and trusts their instructor, you can transition to more independent swim training for children.

Fear of the Unknown

Swimming pools, especially indoor ones, can be noisy, echoey, and bustling with activity. This can be overwhelming for a child who has never experienced this environment before. Before the first lesson, visit the swimming facility together so that your child knows what to expect. Talk to them about the sights and sounds they’ll encounter and how to deal with them.

Fear of Judgement or Failure

Nobody likes to fail or be judged, least of all children who are still building their self-esteem. Make sure to emphasise that it’s okay to make mistakes and that everyone learns at their own speed. A supportive and qualified instructor can also make a world of difference in how your child perceives their own abilities.

Practical Ways to Address Fears

In addition to acknowledging and talking through these fears, some practical steps can be taken. These include reading children’s books about swimming, watching instructional or inspirational videos together, and even practising ‘pretend’ swim moves on dry land to build muscle memory and confidence.


Addressing a child’s fears about swimming should be approached with sensitivity, understanding, and a game plan. By identifying and addressing these fears head-on, parents can pave the way for a more enriching and less frightening experience. And who knows? Today’s reluctant swimmer could very well be tomorrow’s water enthusiast, thanks to thoughtful preparation and effective swim training for children.

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