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What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?
25 October 2018 288 Views No comments

The thought of your baby becoming distressed and crying during their first swimming lesson can be unnerving and can often deter parents from going altogether.

In the fourth instalment of our baby swimming advice series, our experienced swimming instructors share their advice for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson.

Here’s what they said…

Hannah Bree

Turtle Tots Southampton & Solent, ww.turtletots.com/southampton

Facebook: @turtletotssouthampton

Twitter: @TurtleTotsSoton

Instagram: turtletotssouthampton

Hannah runs baby and toddler swimming lessons across the South Coast. It all began for Hannah when she started baby swimming with her little boy when he was 7 weeks old and completely fell in love with it...the rest is history as they say! Hannah and the team are incredibly proud to teach non-pressure, baby led swimming lessons from birth to pre-school.

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

“Hold them close and do what makes you feel comfortable, babies can cry for all sorts of reasons in the pool & I'm a firm believer that if you're not comfortable to carry on through your lesson then don't - do what's best for you and your baby”.


Emie Kitson

Aqualight, www.aqualight.co.uk

Facebook: @aqualightuk

Emie has been teaching babies to swim for over 17 years and has also been tutoring baby swimming teachers all over the world since 2003 - most recently in Taiwan and China. Emie also works for the STA (Swimming Teachers Association), is a WATSU practitioner and is a consultant for the ASA on their aqua natal course. She used to tutor for Birthlight but more recently has been involved in developing the Aqua Sensory programme.

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

Attend to your baby's/toddlers needs, many times little ones cry because we have moved to fast with, getting in, singing a welcome song and putting them in several different positions. Stop, relax, look at your baby and see what he/she needs. Attend to that first and that may be a cuddle which is just as important (if not more so) than 'doing' what the teacher is telling you to do. Also for toddlers something familiar like a favourite bath toy can help so remember to take one with you, or their favourite song that you sing to them can help to calm them”.



Rui Duarte

Love Swimming, www.loveswimming.co.uk

Facebook: @loveswimmingdolphinsquare

Love Swimming instructors are handpicked for not only their qualifications and technical knowledge, but also their ability to make lessons fun. Their founders are former professional international swimmers who take as much pleasure teaching babies to have their first fun splashes as coaching top swimmers to the next level. And you won’t find high staff turnover at Love Swimming – continuity is so important when building trust and rapport, so you’ll get to know the same faces and they’ll get to know you individually, taking a personal interest in your progress.

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

“Make sure you are calm and smiling. Make sure the water is at the right temperature and that your baby is not tired or hungry. Sing and swing gently and relax. Babies and toddlers love routines, you will need to create one so that he/she can feel comfortable and safe”.

Karina Reinhardt

Turtle Tots Edinburgh & East Lothian, www.turtletots.com/edinburghandeastlothian

Facebook: @TurtleTotsEdinburgh

Twitter: @TurtleTotsEdin

Instagram: turtletotsedinburgh

Karina Reinhardt set up Turtle Tots Edinburgh & East Lothian nearly six years ago after the birth of her second child (she’s added a third to her family since then too)! Karina has always been a keen swimmer having swum competitively in her younger years. The team and Karina are hugely passionate about teaching babies and children swimming. Karina is also a STA Baby and Pre-school Tutor and was part of the first few batches of teachers in the UK to undertake the fantastic new level 3 Baby and Pre-school Diploma. In Karina’s opinion, this new qualification has revolutionised the industry and gives parents even more confidence that their team is committed to providing the highest level of teaching for their little one.

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

“Building water confidence from a young age is a hugely important life skill. Some babies love water from day one. For others it can be a slower process requiring a lot of patience and persistence. Loads of smiles and positive encouragement will make a huge difference. The tone of your voice will put them at ease. Singing their favourite nursery rhymes will also help relax them. Put them in the water slowly, hold them close to you, but gently, and make movement very gentle. If they seem distressed, don’t worry, take their lead and try another day, but above all, stay positive”.

Julie Dugdale

Puddle Ducks North East, www.puddleducks.com/local-teams/north-east


Facebook: @PuddleDucksNewcastleNorthEast

Twitter: @puddleducksne

Instagram: puddleducksne

Julie is the Head of Teaching and Technical for Puddle Ducks in the North East of England and the South East of Scotland. Julie has been a baby and pre-school swimming teacher for seven years, and is also an Assessor and Tutor of trainee baby and pre-school swimming teachers.

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

“Use eye contact and lots of skin to skin time to re-assure them. Introduce toys and sing songs as well to make it fun for them”.






Fiona Munt-Whittle

Aquatots Swimming Ltd, www.aquatots.co.uk

Facebook: @aquatotsswimminguk

Twitter: @AquatotSwimming

Fiona has been teaching babies to swim for 33 years and professionally for 20 years at Aquatots. Fiona has 4 children, eldest with special needs who learnt to swim at 9 months, swimming 7m on his own.

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

“This can happen more often that you would think. It may be that baby is tired/teething or has just had a bad night. Accept it is probably a one-off. Allow baby to play with a toy, distract them and give them cuddles. Try to be as calm as you can, don't allow yourself to be upset as this will only upset baby more. Allow your Teacher to offer advice, and there may be an obvious reason why baby is 'just having a bad day'!”


Marjan Moosavi

Blue Wave Swim School, www.bluewaveswim.co.uk

Facebook: @BlueWaveSwimSchool

Twitter: @bluewaveswim

Instagram: Bluewaveswim

Marjan founded Blue Wave Swim School in February 2010 following decades of experience in sports science and coaching swimming. Marjan has a MSC in Sport Sciences and has been teaching swimming since 1993. “I love educating parents about the overall benefits of swimming and what are the best swimming teaching practices. I was named one of the 10 top swimming bloggers the U.K in 2018”.

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

“Keep them close to your chest and keep talking to them with positive words. Little ones love to hear their parents' voice. Keep calm and sing their favourite nursery rhyme to them till they calm down. Avoid using a negative language when speaking to your little ones. Sentences like 'don't you like water like your friends?' or 'swimming is not fun for you!' will not be helpful to your child”.

Fiona Edwards

Little Dippers Ltd, www.littledippers.co.uk

Facebook: Little Dippers LTD

Twitter: @L_Dippers

Instagram: littledippersltd

Little Dippers was one of the first baby swim schools in the UK. Set up by baby swim pioneer Lauren Heston, they have been teaching their popular baby swim programme for over 25 years. Their aim is to teach babies to love the water while giving lifesaving skills in a fun and nurturing environment.

Their classes teach babies confidence in the water through combining songs and games and repetition with the exercises. All of the classes take place in warm water pools to keep parents and babies happy and with a maximum of 7 in a class so that it never feels too crowded.

What advice would you give for calming a baby or toddler during their first swimming lesson?

“It's a horrible feeling if your baby is crying while all the others seem to be perfectly happy, but try to remain calm your baby will pick up on your tension which will only serve to confirm to them that this is not a good experience

Never continue to do an exercise if your baby is not happy with it, it will give them a negative association with going to the pool which is the opposite of what we want.

If they get upset during a lesson give them a big cuddle and lots of happy smiles, maybe move away from the rest of the class and play with a toy for a while to distract them”.

We’d love to hear about when you took your baby swimming for the first time – please leave a comment below!