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5 Tips if Your Toddler Hates Swimming Lessons

Sooner or later you may want to consider teaching your toddler how to swim. There have been debates over the years whether or not there’s a certain age to begin swimming lessons.

Some moms have even brought their child into the world via a swimming pool. It seems newborns have an innate ability to scamper towards the surface when born under water. Why not? They have been living in a ‘water-world’ for nine months.

But teaching your toddler some water basics not only promotes exercise, it promotes safety. And we all know parents are all about being safe. Water or otherwise.

How do you go about the learning to swim process if the toddler hates the swimming lessons?

Better yet how do you introduce swimming to a toddler who is afraid of the water?

Maybe our guide can help you out with some key issues as they pertain to toddlers who hate swimming lessons.

Start Small

Perhaps the reason your toddler hates swimming lessons is the large pool they are learning in. A large swimming pool can be very intimidating to a small child. It doesn’t matter how shallow the water is, if they see a large pool of water it looks scary.

The small child may need a small pool to become accustomed to swimming and swimming pools. Most of the big-box retailers offer plenty of small ‘kiddie’ pools throughout spring and summer. Invest in one.

Better yet get into the small pool with them. Let them see mom or dad is not afraid and they seem to be having a good time! Start with only a few inches of water and graduate them to higher levels.

Ask Another Parent

Maybe you know another parent who has a fish for a child. Bringing in another child of similar age proficient in swimming could be the answer.

If the other parent has any advice on helping your toddler, take it. Like I said, they have a fish for a child! Watching another child having fun will make your child determined to be like them. If they can I can is one of the greatest teaching tools for small children.

Do You Have the Right Instructor?

If your toddler is taking swimming lessons at the local pool, is the instructor qualified? Finding just the right instructor goes a long way in swimming lesson success.

When you inquire about swimming lessons be sure to let the instructor know who they’re teaching. A toddler requires a lot of attention and a certain approach. Does the chosen instructor have what it takes?

Don’t be afraid to ask to see their certification and by all means request references. Talking to other parents who have used the instructor will help you decide. Also ask just how many toddlers they have taught. You probably don’t want to be the first.

It’s your child. Demand the best. And don’t stop until you find the best.

Once you have decided on the instructor, ask them if they offer a free trial. If the child is terrified they will of course hate swimming lessons. If the two aren’t compatible find out before you hire the wrong person and invest time and money.

It could take two or three instructors before your child feels comfortable. It is also wise to choose a female instructor. They will be more content with someone who reminds them of mom.

Stay With Your Toddler During Swim Lessons

Maybe your child hates swimming lessons because you aren’t in sight. Toddlers in particular are focused on one main item. Mom. So don’t run a quick errand while the lesson is underway.

Stay within sight so if your child begins to feel threatened they can easily focus in on you. We don’t want to start any abandonment issues associated with swimming lessons! Use the opportunity as a time to praise your child for his or her new ability.

If the child doesn’t want to be away from you at all, ask if you may join. Some instructors insist the parent be right alongside in case of an emergency. You will more than likely be okay with the idea.

When the time comes, withdraw your presence bit by bit. Perhaps with enough time the toddler may request you to let them go it alone. Confidence comes with experience. And confidence is a significant part of learning anything new.

You can also remind your child when older there once was a time they didn’t want to be away from you!

Too Many Kids in the Pool?

The presence of other children might be another reason your toddler hates swimming lessons. If there is a lot of noise and commotion going on around them then their response may be simply don’t go.

The presence of other children particularly older children making lots of noise will frighten anyone. Toddlers included. Check with you toddlers instructor to see of another time is available with less commotion.

An ideal situation would be to have tour own pool and let the instructor come to you. Think of it as a personalized swimming lesson. But not everybody has the luxury of their own pool so be ready to handle the crowd issue.

Some local pools do all of their chlorinating in the morning when they first open. Your child may have one of these early swim sessions. They may be responding to the presence of too much chlorine burning their eyes and refuse to go. I don’t blame them at all if my eyes burned I wouldn’t want to go either.

Maybe your child would prefer a late afternoon, or early evening lesson to avoid crowds and chemicals.


There could be more underlying issues causing you toddler to hate swimming lessons. But be a very persistent parent in finding the cause. After all, you are not having them learn piano. You are having them learn how to swim. If they learn to swim it may one day save their life.

And don’t forget, plenty of love and affection!

1 thought on “5 Tips if Your Toddler Hates Swimming Lessons”

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