How to Teach Your Child to Swim

Teaching children to swim, is not just about the physical act itself – it is also about educating them about the dangers and the potential hazards they need to be aware of when they’re around water.

Between 200 and 400 people drown in the UK every year. 10-15% of this figure is made up of individuals between the ages of 0-19 and it’s thought that many of these deaths are preventable. Which emphasises just how vital it is to educate our children about the dangers of the water.

Having said that, teaching your kids to swim doesn’t have to be doom and gloom; done correctly and at the right age you can bestow an experience onto your children which gives them a lifelong love of the water.

In this blog, we've put together a few handy tips and tricks for when you decide it's time to take your little one into the water.

Avoid Busy Periods

an image of a busy indoor swimming pool

Swimming pools can get very crowded, very quickly especially in the school holidays, mornings and evenings. Pick a more quiet time like early or=n a weekend or during the day; better yet partake in a session specifically designed for babies and toddlers.

Make Sure You’re Both Ready

Those of us who are parents know that when your child is tired, hungry or just plain grumpy, getting them to do anything is a task in itself.

A tired, hungry child is not likely to want to cooperate, and these negative feelings are not how you want your child to remember their first experiences in the pool.

Choosing The Right Gear

an image of a navy blue childs wetsuit

Disposable swim nappies are designed to keep out the liquid, so they don't expand. Swim nappy covers prevent any leakage and are fitted

around your child’s legs. 

If you’re concerned that your child might get cold in the water, baby wetsuits are ideal, and they make keeping hold of your little one much more manageable.

Don’t Rush 

The old asdic, ‘Rome wasn't built in a day,' is certainly applicable here. It's imperative to slow things down, especially if your child is really young.

Sit on the edge of the pool, calmly and gently kicking your feet. This just allows them some time to get used to the movement and the noises of the water.

When you do eventually get into the pool, remember to keep talking and soothing your child, these calming cues will impact how they react to the water. 

Choose the Right Floats

Babies shouldn’t need buoyancy aids, as you’ll be holding on to them every step of the way. However, as your child gets a little older, you’ll need to buy a float jacket or a foam noodle for buoyancy. 

Armbands at this stage will prevent your toddler from developing an effective swimming stroke as their arms will be pushed out to their side.

Bath Toys

images of childrens bath toys in the shape of sea animals

Bringing along some of your little one's bath toys will help them associate their fun bath times with the pool.

A few favourites will help to ease the transition from the bath to the pool.

Splash Around

image of a baby laughing in the pool

Being splashed is just part of being in the pool. It’s quite important to show your child that this isn’t something to be afraid of.

Splash around gently at first and wet your own face and hair, and with any luck, they'll be splashing around themselves in no time.

Know When to Call it Quits

If you’re taking a young baby, then don’t stay in the water for longer than 30 minutes. Baby’s aren’t able to regulate their body temperature, so they'll get cold quite quickly.

Toddlers are a different proposition, and they'll be able to splash and move around, which helps keep them warmer.

Post-Swim Gear

Pack three or four, dry, warm towels and keep one by the pool. This way you can wrap them up warm as soon as you get out.

It’s also a good idea to bring along a snack and a drink, splashing around in the pool is thirsty work.

Ensuring that you wear loose clothing that’s easy to get on and off, will make the post-swim change much quicker and easier on both of you.


The sooner you take your baby to the pool, the better. Young children have no fear and are much more responsive to new experiences whilst they’re still young.

Some trips to the pool will be less successful than others, but so long as you keep trying you’ll be giving your child that head start they need.

At Mailsports, we’re passionate about aquatic sports. We’ve been trading since the 1970's, and we’ve never lost our drive and determination to encourage youngsters to get into the pool.

For any advice or guidance drop us a line on 01628 529206 or better yet, why not drop into our Buckinghamshire showroom.