Top tips for babies and toddlers

Be flexible
Encouragement to try all activities
Let your baby/toddler be your guide
A partnership – work with you baby/toddler
Practise the tasks and make gradual transitions

Be Gentle
Slow movements
Be ready to respond with cuddles/positive reinforcement
Maintain concentration – keep your attention on their face for cues and stopping their head going underwater without preparation
Avoid hesitation which causes confusion
The above develops trust, especially when activities are completed and repeated.
Your teacher will discuss what comes next to eliminate any surprises. TRUST IS A MUST.

Keep trying and don’t give up
Patience – swimming and water confidence isn’t achieved overnight

Teaching method

Your teacher will show you first
Don’t attempt anything unless you fully understand

Keep practising in lessons and even at your own leisure swimming/bath time. You will get tired and possibly bored (this is where the patience comes in!) but for your baby/toddler’s benefit the effort is worth it.
Skills repetition promotes positive reinforcement.

Keep moving
To keep all swimmers warm, keep moving, even when listening and watching demonstrations
Your baby becomes aware that by moving their arms and legs they will stay afloat.

Praise is reward, ignore the negative
Express your pride in their efforts

Children eager to learn must be given freedom. Experiment to find the best way to hold your active baby/toddler – different for different ages and independence levels

Be on time for your lesson
Encourages a relaxed environment for all attending the class
Prevents class disruptions and the flow for other learners and the teacher

Come prepared
Swimwear for parent/guardian and baby/toddler
3 towels
A means of fastening back swimmer’s hair
Aqua nappy
Nappy changing / food for after as needed

Don’t set goals for your child too high
Goals can be changed to reflect achievement
Start small
Never show disappointment or scold for something not done to your expectations.

Give encouragement
Try not to show your nerves or apprehension as your baby/toddler will pick up on this and replicate themselves.
Understand swimming is one of the hardest skills to accomplish, yet some expect exceptional results within minimal learning time.

Crying is expected and OK
Your teacher will be able to advise and take appropriate steps to resolve

Don’t compare children
Encourage progress at the right pace for them
Again, patience
Teachers will use the appropriate learning style to best suit the swimmers.

Why does my child cry when swimming?

Why does my child cry when swimming?

Sometimes it can be obvious why a child cries when they go to swimming lessons, often they tell us. However, many children can turn up to their first few lessons and just scream!

Firstly, as a parent/guardian, do not blame yourself! The most common question I get from parent/guardians is “Is my child the worst you have ever taught?”…the answer is no, over the years of teaching I have been spat on, hit, kicked in the stomach, pinched, had swimming bricks thrown at me and more! On all of these occasions there has been a reason why these behaviours were displayed, and all resolved! The reason underlying these issues is often confidence. Remember, do not give up!

Here are a few reasons why your child cries at swimming lessons:

  • Something new / change
  • Confidence / extreme fear
  • Attention seeking behaviour
  • Tiredness
  • Parental separation

Something new / change

For a child going somewhere new with new people can be a nervous or daunting experience, quite like their first day at nursery, playgroup or school! I always advise my clients to talk to their children about their upcoming swimming lessons; who their teacher is, where the lessons are, what we do in the lessons, what they would like to do. The more information you can tell us about your child/ren, for example, learning style, favourite music/television programmes, the better we can be prepared to incorporate and accommodate these into their lessons. Easing the transition is very important.

If you give up easily, the issue will not go away and no matter where you swim or at what point in life, if they have a fear or do not like change then being consistent is best. Allow your child to build a trusting bond with their teacher, trust the teacher’s judgement – we are good at knowing a child’s boundaries and what we can encourage them to do. Fundamentally, unless they attend lessons, we can’t resolve!

The more frequently a child encounters the swimming pool environment the more familiar they are and become more relaxed with their surroundings.


Often a swimmer’s confidence can grow in a matter of a few lessons, other times confidence can develop over a couple of months. Patience and consistency are important.

If you, as a parent/guardian, are not confident with swimming, try not to express this in front of your children as it can transfer on them! Trusting the swimming teacher is vital to allow them to teach your child correctly and safely – if it makes you nervous watching them swim underwater/jump/dive feel free to look away!

Children who have had a ‘near drowning’ experience prior to taking formal swimming lessons can develop extreme fear – if this is the case you must tell the new swimming teacher about the experience. One to one sessions are often best to address this fear to allow the child to have a calmer environment and develop a strong trust with the teacher.


Always allow a term of lessons for crying children and then re-evaluate after that. Some will cry for a minute; others can cry for a number of weeks. You have to be more stubborn than them! I understand hearing the “I want mummy/daddy” can be hard to ignore and make you feel like you just want to get them out and give them a cuddle! Try to avoid this as it can prolong the issue. Ensure all children go to the toilet before they swim so that we know any “I need the toilet” excuses are just a reason to get out rather than a genuine need.

Spending two or three minutes at bath time, practising washing their hair, kicking their legs or blowing bubbles can really help a child reduce/relieve their fear/anxiety. Such activity helps them to associate fun with water. I am not suggesting here to turn their bath time into another lesson, just a couple of minutes each bath time can be sufficient!

At Core Aquatics, we specialise in small groups; such an intimate environment can help swimmers to progress more quickly and provides an ideal environment for confident and quicker progression.

Finally, if you have a teacher that takes the time to understand the issue/reasons for crying, offers suggestions for practice at home, is patient and talks to the child rather than joining in a shouting match then you’re onto a winner!

If your child cries at their swimming lesson and you’d like a team who can handle them at their worst, as well as bring out their best. Contact us today on 07505 065184 or email


Tips to banish tears, better behaviour and boost motivation in swimming lessons.

Tips to banish tears, better behaviour and boost motivation in swimming lessons

What can parents do to boost motivation in swimming lessons?

One of the hardest parts of getting your children to go swimming isn’t the initial dunk; it’s getting them out of the house smiling and excited, week in week out! So, what can you do as a parent or guardian to help keep your little ones enthusiastic about lessons?

In this article we offer some advice on how you can boost your little one’s motivation in swimming lessons, banishing those tears and bettering their behaviour in lessons.

  1. Get involved in your children’s lessons!
    Letting your children know how much you love to watch them swim is one of the best things you can do. Kids love to shout out “Mum/Dad, look at me!” So, make sure you’re there watching them. It’ll make their day knowing that you’re watching them, rather than reading a book, browsing the internet on your phone, or worse, not being there at all! Be on the side of the pool encouraging them!
  2. Don’t distract them from the lessons!
    Although we’ve just said to be present and encourage your children onward, try not to distract them whilst they are swimming or listening to the teacher. ­­­These are some of the most important times in the pool and distracting your children from the task at hand.
  3. Don’t criticise their technique!
    Although it can be nice for children to hear feedback from their parents, you should put your energy into congratulating them on their swim rather than commenting on their technique. Leave the correcting to the teacher. If your children think you are going to comment on their stroke after lessons, they may be less willing to attend. What you consider bad technique, may be good technique to the teachers!
  4. Go swimming with your children outside of lessons!
    If you can take your little ones swimming outside of the lessons, then do so! Swimming is a great way to spend some quality time with your children and will make them want to improve.
  5. As a last resort – consider bribery!
    Bribery is a controversial matter in the parenting world! However, a little promise of a treat here or there can go a long way!

Call to enquire on 07505 065184 or email

Preparing for your first swimming lesson

Preparing for your first swimming lesson

Once you have booked and paid for your first term of lessons, it is important to prepare your child. Prior to attending lessons pave the way by talking to your child. Tell them their teacher is ….., where the lessons are, what they will be doing, where you will be watching and more.  Any anxiety is often eased by talking to them as they will have a better idea about what to expect.

Tell Core Aquatics as much as you can about your child’s learning style, behaviour, medical information. The more we know the more we can accommodate.

What to pack:

  • Swimming costume/trunks
  • Towel(s)
  • Shampoo/conditioner/hair brush
  • Swimming hat (goggles if your child already wears them)
  • Post-swimming snack such as a banana/drink of water
  • Any medical items such as inhalers or ear plugs if your child is prone to ear infections

Core Aquatics would love to hear from you! Ring today on 07505065184


What is the best type of swimming lesson for you?

What is the best type of swimming lesson for you?

One to one, two to one or group lessons?

There are many worries for a parent when seeking swimming lessons – will my child(ren) be upset, what if they do not like the teacher…! A key dynamic to seeking lessons is whether to have a group, one to one or two to one lesson type.
The answer is multifaceted, however here are a few points to consider (for and against) each session. Please note, these are generic points, what may be listed as a con here may be a pro for you – vice versa.

One to one lesson


  • Attention is completely focused on the one swimmer
  • Progression tends to be quicker
  • Can be used as a short-term fast track to transition into groups


  • Costly – you are paying for the exclusivity
  • Do not have a social side with other children
  • No peer learning/socialisation

Two to one lesson


  • Social interaction with another swimmer of similar level
  • Peer learning
  • Progression tends to be quicker than groups


  • More expensive than groups
  • If parents want their children to swim with a sibling/friend but they aren’t of the same level then this can be counter productive

Small groups


  • Ratio of max 1:4/5/6
  • Peer learning
  • Cheaper
  • More fun learning with others


  • Less one to one tuition – Core Aquatics approach ensures that more one to one tuition is given even in a group setting
  • There is still individualised attention but less than in 1:1 or 1:2

If you have any questions about Core Aquatics lessons or would like further advice on the best lesson type, contact us today!  Email or visit our website


Armbands/discs/jackets: 4 pros and 4 cons

Armbands/discs/jackets: 4 pros and 4 cons

Armbands/discs and jackets are also known as buoyancy aids as they are generally used to help swimmers more balanced and keep them afloat. Many parents/guardians ask whether they should buy/use and bring armbands, discs or jackets to lessons. My short answer is no; however outlined below are the pros and cons.


  1. Give swimmers confidence
  2. Cheap to buy
  3. Reassure parents
  4. Discs can give swimmers a more balanced buoyancy
  5. To help swimmers balance and to keep them afloat

Buoyancy aids such as armbands/discs and jackets often give swimmers and parents the reassurance and confidence. The worry of ‘my child will drown’ is taken away! These types of equipment are often used on holiday or on family swim time to give children the freedom and not rely on someone holding them. Given that they are cheap to buy and come in a variety of designs add further appeal to purchasing and using the aids.

Particularly for young swimmers/beginners, discs can provide a more balanced buoyancy to the more nervous swimmers. Again, increasing the swimmer’s confidence. As noted in the cons, be careful not to use for too long or frequently as swimmers can become reliant on them!


  1. Swimmers become reliant on them
  2. Some can be hard to fit
  3. Restrict movement
  4. Particularly jackets encourage an upright body position

Finding buoyancy aids that fit well is tricky, especially as they can restrict a swimmer’s movement. If movement is restricted, then swimmers will not progress as quickly and fall into ‘bad habits.’ Encouraging swimmers to find their own balance and be more independent. Water confidence and learning to swim on their own develops more quickly. The more aids you introduce and use, the longer it takes for the swimmer to become independent – including noodles and floats.

I always recommend, where possible, for parents to replicate lessons for about ten minutes on holiday to help reinforce learning and progress. Family fun is great support for swimmers and a special moment when you yourself have helped your child rather than a teacher! Be very positive, patient and encouraging!


Five top swimming tips

Five Top Swimming Tips

How to support your child’s progress in the pool!

Top Tip #1

Swim smart and stay safe!

When you and your family are around water, use this opportunity to teach your children about how they can enjoy the water safely.

Try to explain in an age-appropriate way what could happen if they got into trouble in the water. Encourage them to learn the code to safety (see below). And always keep an eye on your children when they’re around water – even if they can swim, and even if there is a lifeguard on duty.

Top Tip #2

Focus on fun and be creative!

Swimming should be fun for all the family! So, try not to get too hung up on teaching your children how to perfect the execution of a particular skill in the water!

Keep in mind that children learn best through play! So, a fun session should not be a lost opportunity to learn. Your children will be learning more than you realise!

For younger children, use water toys, games and sing songs to keep them engaged and motivated to move through the water. There’s plenty that they will gain from a bit of creativity on your part! In Core Aquatics swimming lessons, the children have visited the zoo, the supermarket and swum with mermaids and fishes – all without leaving the swimming pool! Keep it fun and they’ll keep learning!

Water toys and games are often still popular amongst older children, and so too are races and competitions! So, appeal to your child’s competitive side to help them build strength and practise their strokes. And, set them exciting challenges to help boost their swim skills (e.g. collecting as many sinkers as they can from the bottom of the pool).

Top Tip #3

Progress at your child’s pace

Every swimmer progresses at their own pace. So, with this in mind, try not to be too pushy when taking your child swimming!

Confidence in the water can take a big knock if a swimmer is pushed into something when they’re not ready for it (e.g. putting their face in the water). Because of this, try to be patient and wait for them to have a go at performing that skill of their own accord when they feel ready. Of course, by all means, encourage your child and demonstrate how it can be done safely in the meantime!

Top Tip #4

Encourage independence

When swimming with your children, encourage independence to help your children:

  • Develop water confidence
  • Build an awareness of how their bodies work in the water
  • Learn their limitations

Of course, safety should be a priority when practising swimming, so work on gradually reducing the amount of support you provide, and stay close enough to jump in and offer some assistance if/when it is needed!

Top Tip #5

Never underestimate the power of praise

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from almost ten years of teaching swimming, it’s that children seek reassurance and respond to positively to praise – especially that of their parents and guardians!

So, always try to maintain a positive attitude and praise your children!

If you do want to give a bit of feedback, try to sandwich your corrections with compliments and praise. Criticism can be frustrating and demotivating when learning how to swim, so always try to emphasise the things they’re doing well, rather than concentrating on what they need to improve.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these top tips and that you’ll be able to make use of them this summer!

For more information and advice on swimming-related topics, have a read of our other article posts. To learn more about what we do, follow us on Facebook.