How to avoid tears in the Swimming Pool!

happy baby in pool

How to avoid tears in the swimming pool

Swimming should be a fun activity for both baby and parent. As a parent myself, no one likes to ever see a distressed child, especially not in the pool. We have seen some parents become embarrassed and panic if there little one cry’s and they sometimes they automatically assume that their child doesn’t like the water. It was this in mind, I decided to write this in the hope that I can explain reactions like crying can be for normal reasons and so parents can apply some resolutions and won’t just give swimming up and hopefully start to enjoy the water.

If your child cries in the water, it could be for any number of reasons. Here are some common reasons below and tips on how best to avoid these problems before swimming

  1. Baby/ Toddler is tired: It is best to swim in the morning or after their nap time
  2. Baby/ Toddler is Hungry: Try feed your baby 1 hour before the class and maybe have a top-up ready for after the class
  3. Baby/ Toddler is over stimulated: Never bring the baby into the water before class starts or do any other activities that will over stimulate your little one.
  4. Baby/ Toddler is cold: this is really to do with the weight of the baby, and also the length of time the baby is in the water. Again don’t get into the water with baby before the class. Some children feel the cold more than others, we advise to wear a baby wetsuit for children under a year. Also the pool should be suitably heated to a minimum of 30 degree and don’t spend more than 30 minutes in the water.
  5. Baby is having a bad day or is unwell: We all have an off day, if you think your little one is physical ill it is best not to go to the pool, you won’t go swimming if you felt unwell. Everyone has a bad occasionally, it could be for five minutes or for an entire week. Often crankiness maybe unrelated to swimming- it could be caused by teething or any of the above hunger etc. or simply change in routine.
  6. Parents are stressed: If you have been rushing to get to class, the little ones can pick up your body language. If you are nervous or stressed then the baby will be too! Arrive early to lessons to ensure that both you and your child are  calm and relaxed before the lesson starts, this is especially good idea for toddlers so they can watch other children enjoying swimming lessons. Remember the saying: monkey see monkey do!


Before you start swim lessons, if you can take your child to the pool at a quiet time. Remember the swimming pool is a completely new environment and it can be a sensory over load for your little one without even adding new adults parents, children, noises like splashing and laughing to the mix.

If your baby gets overwhelmed stay calm and remain positive, maintain close skin and eye contact, sing or talk to baby/toddler to sooth them.

Avoid getting out of the pool early because you are embarrassed, remember you are there with other parents in your class and we all understand as we all have been there before at one time or another.

Please stay in the pool, find a quite area and comfort baby or toddler and re-join the class as soon as they are calm. We do not want to create a situation where the child thinks that if they cry then they exit the pool or indeed we do not want to end the lesson on a negative note or associate crying with the pool or an activity being stopped. This will make it harder when the parent and child return the following week.

Learning to swim should be positive for everyone involved. We take a holistic approach at Aquababies Ireland and all our policies are trying to create a positive teaching & learning environment. You should NEVER submerge a child who is visibly distressed or force them aggressively to do an activity.

Finally, parents need to be very patient and persevere in a loving caring environment, and learn to respond to their child’s cues, then very soon the child will be swimming happily and confidently.

If you have any questions, you a can talk to your teacher before or at the end of the class our even give the office a call but don’t worry, most children go through a bad time in the water at some stage but they all get over it, some quicker than others but have patience, keep calm and try and have as much fun as possible.