> Swimming Blog >

4 Reasons Toddler Swimming is like Marmite-But Why You Should Persevere

Toddlers. They're like Marmite aren't they?!

Toddler and younger children's swimming is never really a smooth journey (especially if you have other babies/kids/humans in tow).

As parents or carers, the ability to swim is one of the most important skills you can impart upon your children, but taking them swimming has its ups and downs.

The good news is that the benefits far outweigh the difficulties if you can persevere so if you’re thinking of starting swimming with your toddler, here are some bumps in the road you may encounter and what to do about them:

1. The swimming pool can be scary (Aka major tantrum triggers and poolside meltdowns)

To a toddler, a full-sized family swimming pool is going to look like the ocean, so it’s almost to be expected that they may baulk at the prospect of getting in, even if they’ve been swimming before as tiny babies. This is commonly known as the ‘water wobbles’ and is quite common among toddlers. If your little one develops a sudden aversion to the water, don’t panic – it wont last forever and there are ways to work around it. Take a look at one of our previous blogs that describes easy ways to help your child get over their fear of water for some inspiration on how to overcome this problem. These cool swimming toys can also help them get over their fear of the pool.

2. Your own fears can hold you back (Aka you hate the swimming pool/changing rooms/swimwear)

It’s natural for parents to be protective, instinctual even. So when your toddler expresses fear or distress in and around the water or has a bad experience, it’s understandable for that distress to be mirrored by you. This can cause you to feel less inclined to take them swimming again, or to limit their freedom in the water.

Just like the water wobbles, this has the potential to be temporary problem if you face your fears and gradually ease yourself into swimming together again. Your actions have a direct impact on your child’s, so it’s a huge reassurance for them if you can show them that swimming is a positive experience.

3. Progress can plateau (Aka parent boredom alert. Its normal to wonder when your child is going to be able to swim a length!)

You and your toddler could be steaming along and making lots of progress in the swimming pool and then, all of a sudden, their progress could completely plateau. Baffling and frustrating as this can be, patience is a real virtue here.

Plateauing is most common between 11 and 15 months of age and is very common, so don’t worry too much. Encourage your toddler to keep going at his or her own pace, join in and do the activities yourself and, most importantly, just keep swimming! You’ll more than likely find they make a breakthrough all on their own if you persevere.

4. Every child is different  (wondering why can't my little one swim on their back like the other kids?!)

Even if this is your second time around, you’re still not guaranteed a smooth journey with toddler swimming. Unfair, isn’t it? Sadly, what worked with your first child might not work your second, and you may find you hit entirely new hurdles with toddler number two. Life is always out to teach us, though, and you should see these new challenges as valuable lessons rather than inconvenient barriers. Why not encourage your older child to join in with teaching his younger sibling? Or perhaps try a  HYPERLINK "http://www.babyswimmingshop.co.uk/search?q=float+suit&type=product" float suit to provide an extra boost of confidence. The main thing to remember is that there is always a way around the problems; it’s just a case of trial and error to find out what they are!

Swimming is a life skill that will stay with your child as they grow into adulthood. It’s a great confidence booster, an excellent way of keeping fit and a potential life-saver too, so persevering through these difficulties early on is definitely the way to go for a smoother journey in later life.


Philipa Traynor
15 September 2016

It is indeed very hard taking toddlers swimming. Worst part is changing rooms! We stuck with it though and ours can swim like fishes now and miles better than most of their pals.

Leave A Comment
Share This