Why is my child crying during swimming lessons?

Swimming lessons should be an enjoyable experience but there may be times that children cry during the lesson. This can be distressing for the child and you as the parent.  So, what can you do if it’s your child that’s crying during their swimming lesson?

Crying can mean different things depending on the age of the child and the child’s personality. Some children are more sensitive and emotional than others.  The key is being calm yourself and try to address the issue so that the child can calm down as quickly as possible. 

Babies and Toddlers

As all parents know, babies will cry for a variety of reasons as that is their way of communicating. Maybe they are out of routine, teething, not feeling well, tired, hungry, cold or just having a bad day – we all have them don’t we!

When booking your lesson try and get a time that will work for their routine so they won’t be too tired or hungry during the lesson. If the lesson time is around their normal sleep time try and get them to have an earlier sleep or nap. Ensure while you’re in the water that you are comfortable yourself, as babies pick up on parents’ anxieties. Hold them softly and be calm and relaxed.

If your little one is crying, don’t push them to do the activities as this may exacerbate the situation. Feel free to take them over to one side away from the group to reassure and calm them down. Get a toy from the pool toy area if you think that may help to calm them. Speak with the Instructor if you have any questions or if you feel like they won’t calm down and you want to exit the lesson early.

3 Years and Upwards

As children get older they become more aware of surroundings and express their feelings in a variety of ways. Children become more aware of dangers and consequences and children become more cautious and sometimes scared around water.  We also see children expressing their personality more and some behavioural crying (not wanting to do something).

If your child is crying, aim to try and calm the child down, figure out why they are crying and try and alleviate any worries they have.

Maybe they are tired from a big day or week. Maybe they aren’t feeling well. If something has happened or is going on at home/school that may impact their emotional wellness please let the Instructor know so that they can keep it in mind during the lesson.

It's our aim to provide a loving and calm environment for the child so they feel safe, protected and that they build trust with their Instructor.

Positive reinforcement from you will help – talk positively about how well they are doing, celebrate their achievements and talk positively about the Instructor (children pick up on your feelings towards teachers).

Also, try to ensure you are calm before lessons and avoid rushing – children can become distressed if they feel like you are distressed.


If you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to speak with the Instructor or contact us as we want to see all children enjoying their lessons and grow to love the water.