Top tips for unhappy swim babies


unhappy swim babies

Little Mr has been having swimming lessons over the last six weeks with SwimTime, courtesy of Konfidence as part of our Ambassador role. Unfortunately, it seems my once happy swim baby has grown into a swimming pool disliking toddler with tears at every lesson. I’m not sure why he’s been unhappy in the pool as we have had moments of happiness with smiles and splashes. He’s even managed to learn a few things like kicking his legs behind him when swimming on his front and moving his arms in the water doggy paddle style. The Konfidence products we have used in the pool have reassured me that he is warm enough and we’re not going to have any leaks. Watch out for our review of how we have found the Konfidence goodies, coming soon!

SwimTime have been very supportive in the pool whilst Little Mr has been a grump and have some brilliant advice for parents who may be experiencing the same issues in the pool. Here’s SwimTime’s top tips for unhappy swim babies. 

Swimtime Swimbabies and Swimtime Swimtots are a great way to introduce your little ones to the water. On sign up all Parents receive information packs to help prepare for the aquatic journey they are about to embark on with their baby.  They are fun and safe sessions– don’t forget some days are more fun than others. We have put together some tips for the not so fun days. These are all common responses from babies and toddlers.


  • Check all the obvious signs i.e. soiled nappy, sleepy baby, hungry baby etc etc.
  • Always face baby making eye contact, smiles and chat.
  • Various distraction techniques -take a couple of familiar toys from home to use in the class.
  • Watch what other children are doing/sing a song/make baby laugh.
  • If all else fails sit on the side keeping baby warm and dry and don’t get back in the water until the crying stops.
  • If it’s an “off” day it’s best not to push it. Wrap up warm on the side, join in the songs and praise baby just the same.

Won’t swim on his back

This is a very common fear. It comes from the primal fear of falling. For babies who don’t like swimming on their backs, try these distraction techniques:

  • Use specialist mirrored toys whilst on back so they can see themselves
  • Appropriate action songs i.e. twinkle twinkle little star.

Going on the back is a very slow and gradual process. The experienced teacher will take you through it step by step.

  • When you are feeling confident here are the first steps;
  • Start with baby held close and vertical in the water facing mum.
  • Ask the teacher to check your hand position.
  • Loads of smiles and eye contact.
  • When you feel ready, turn baby to face away from you and sink your shoulders under the water remaining cheek to cheek with your baby.

Doesn’t like going underwater

  • No forced submersion’s
  • Use watering cans to trickle water on to the face and hair
  • Blow bubbles, play the fish or splashing game
  • Small jumps in with songs and jumping triggers i.e. 1,2,3, jump!

Of course every single pool session starts with you being relaxed

“Remember that if you feel relaxed and happy, baby will too”.

Thank you SwimTime for the brilliant tips, I hope you will find them useful. I have really enjoyed taking Little Mr swimming, granted I haven’t enjoyed the tears but I have enjoyed seeing him smile when he’s learnt how to kick his legs and he’s been praised for it. We will persevere and will continue to take him swimming each week to build his confidence and keep his toes in the water.

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  • Reply Linda Price 21/06/2014 at 9:57 am

    Delighted that Little Mr joined the Swimtime Swimbabies sessions with fab guidance from Emily. Thanks for your honest appraisal and hope that you continue to enjoy your family time in the water.

  • Reply @unpreparedmum 06/07/2014 at 5:30 pm

    Excellent tips, thanks! After a break from swimming our son is now fussy in the water…

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