How to put on a swimming cap and other swim hat dilemmas

Swimming lessons throw up a whole load of dilemmas, not least how to put on a swimming cap.

I’ve not updated on N’s swimming journey for a long time.  Mostly because now he swims independently it means I don’t experience it directly, but also it tends to be much of a muchness from one week to the next.

One thing that has changed in moving to independent swimming, is that they have to wear swimming caps.  I remember when I was first learning to swim and had a turquoise 1980s swim hat with little bobbles in a flower pattern.  Gorgeous.

Nothing like that for N.  Their choice was cheap rubber (plain colours) or slightly more expensive but still rubber (Nemo or similar design).  Of course I went for cheap.  Much more practical, especially if you lose it the first week after buying it (hmm, wonder who that could be?!).

He chose a black hat, and then it was time to try and get it on him.  Easier said than done if it involves a child who a) doesn’t want to wear one, and b) who won’t hold where you say to help.  It feels like you need 3-4 hands to put a swimming cap on a child.

The couple of weeks at the end of last term, it wasn’t essential to wear the hats.  So I gave up trying on the first week because N was getting too stressed and stropping about it.  The second week (after I’d lost it), we had to borrow one from the pool, because they’d run out of cheap hats to sell.  Even though the teacher had explained the technique to put on a hat, N was ripping it off before I’d even got part of it over his head.  So over to the teacher.

No joy, as soon as she’d just plopped the hat straight down on his head, he’d whipped it off again.  Oh dear.  Stern words from his teacher saying that the summer term, all children would have to wear a hat or not go swimming.

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In the meantime I’d bought a second hat.  I’d asked around at work because a couple of my colleagues have kids who do team swimming, and then a bit of research online and it seemed that people said silicone hats were popular.   Or even fabric hats which are less sticky to hair so hurt less when putting them on and are more comfortable to wear.  Flukily a quick trip to purchase a cheap hat in Sports Direct, and it turned out I’d bought N a silicone hat.

Well, what can I say.  This hat is brilliant.  It’s so stretchy, even the senior child size slipped really easily onto my head just popping both hands either side and easing it down in one go.  I was confident I could put it on N with no problems.  And that’s exactly what happened.  The first week of the new term, all the children turned up with their hats, and I simply slipped the swim cap straight on N’s head with no problems.  And no moaning.

The weirdest thing to sort out is what to do with their ears.  N likes to have his ears uncovered, but that means pulling the hat up enough so the bottom of it isn’t digging into his ear bits, or sticking them out a way.  Sticking out ears from a swim hat doesn’t really make for aerodynamic swimming!  Others in the class prefer their ears covered up…but then they can happily ignore what the teacher says because they can’t hear her.  There’s not really a happy medium.

It’s so funny to see them lined up with all different coloured hats on, sitting on the side of the pool waiting for the start of their lesson.  I’m very relieved that N now doesn’t mind his hat – what a nightmare it would have been if he’d have refused totally.  There’s a thing to be said for peer pressure and not standing out amongst the crowd, even with 4 year olds.

If you’re struggling, here’s my tips for putting a swim hat on kids.

How to put on a swimming cap 3 ways:

1, The easiest way (if your child will hold where and when you say)

If the child has long hair, tie it up out of the way.  Get the child to hold the front edge of the hat flat against their forehead. Then you stretch the hat back and out, and over their head.

2, Back to front

If your child won’t hold it (mine still won’t at age 6), then put it on in reverse.  Stand them facing you, put your hands inside the hat, open them apart to stretch. Start with the far edge at the back of their head/hair line, then move your hands and the hat up and towards you until it’s on at their forehead. We do it this way, and with short hair it’s really easy.

3, These guys say stretch it wide if on your own, start at forehead and then stretch it back over your head, tucking in hair afterwards  Here’s a guide to putting on a swim cap on yourself

And….to finish, the comedy way, probably not to be tried with small children

Do your children have to wear swimming caps? Do they like wearing them?

Why not take a look at these similar posts.

5 things about swimming
swim caps
help kids love the water
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  1. Years and years of competitive swimming. We used to put a little baby powder in after drying it completely. Not only does it keep the cap from sticking it helps it slide on easily.

    These are more fun than the cloth ones because you can stretch them out in the water to fit a person inside. I’m sure someone had a video on YouTube.

    1. Crikey that’d be something to see. Yes, a couple of the mums with girls use talc. Thankfully we’ve not had a problem – lucky with short hair.

  2. We have bought LP a fabric hat that she is so much happier with – it also has Frozen on it, a clear winner! x

    1. I’d not known about the fabric ones, they always make me think of the ones that aussie lifeguards used to wear on Home & Away! Obviously not Frozen versions though

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