Swimming Lesson Tips for Beginners

Are you attending swim lessons for the first time with your little one? Whether you’re bringing your 8-month-old or 8-year-old, there are things that our team has learned over the years that can make your child’s first swimming lesson as enjoyable as possible–for both of you!

Our swimming lesson tips are organized by what to bring, scheduling, in class, outside of class, and some general reminders.

At Making Waves, our motto is: Kids have fun. Parents see progress. We believe that above all else, kids are having fun while they’re learning. One of the best ways that parents can support this experience is by being prepared.


Bring indoor shoes
Bring an indoor pair of shoes (like slides) if you plan to sit on the deck to observe, since you can’t wear outdoor shoes inside the pool area or change rooms (wet socks aren’t fun for anyone!).

Pack the right gear
Here is a checklist for your visit: A swimming suit (or swimming diaper), a change of clothes and clean underwear, a towel, wipes, lotion (for post-swim!), healthy snacks and a refillable bottle for water, a plastic bag to place all wet items into, and a backpack or tote bag. 

A camera
Bring your camera, or use your phone, to capture key moments in your child’s swimming lessons. You never know when your child will reach a milestone, and trust us, you’re going to want to catch it on camera!

Your child’s progress reports
Keep your child’s swim lesson progress reports. The coach in your next session will be interested in where they left off, and it can be very motivational for little ones to look back on how much progress they’ve made.

For late afternoon/evening lessons
If your child has a late lesson time, bring PJ’s and a snack. You’ll get home with a child who is tired, fed and ready for bed!


Multi-swimmer families
For multi-swimmer families, choose lessons that are 15 minutes apart to ensure you have enough time to get one child ready and into the pool, with enough time to get the other child ready and into the pool! You might also consider lessons on different days to get some quality one-on-one time with each child.

Consistent lessons
Consistent lessons are the best way to teach your child how to swim. Booking your child in for one session here and there with months (sometimes years) in between is the most inefficient and expensive way to teach your child this life saving skill. It can take weeks for kids to get back to where they were. Start early and be consistent!

Come more than once a week
Attending classes more than once a week can allow young swimmers to acquire the skill more quickly which leads to faster, better progress overall. 


Be an observer
Unless you’re actively involved in a baby or toddler swimming lesson, try not to speak to your child during the class, as it can be distracting for the child, coach, and other students in the class. Allow your coach to be the disciplinarian and enjoy your half hour off!

Alternatively to being a quiet observer, in certain classes, getting in the water with your child can be such a beautiful part of their swimming career. And don’t be afraid to invite grandparents, uncles, babysitters, and other family members to watch your child swim. Kids will sometimes perform better if they know that loved ones are watching and supporting them!

Positive reinforcement
An ounce of kindness paves the way for a better and more pleasant day – tell the coaches if you are happy with the lesson. Coaches often wonder how you feel about them and if you are happy with the instruction.

Label everything
Put your name on all of your swim gear, a permanent marker and a first initial and last name on the inside of your items does the trick! If you have lost something, let us know! We donate our Lost and Found items throughout the year, but if we know something belongs to you, we can set it aside.

Crying is okay
We know how distressing it can be when your little one is crying in class. However, it is fairly common for kids to cry during lessons, especially when they first get started. It is not our first cryer and it will not be our last! As children become comfortable with their new environment and being in the water, it will get easier. 


Practice at home
You don’t need a pool to practice at home. Try kicking your feet on the edge of the bed or couch or practicing big arm circles. Practicing in the bathtub, for example, helps to develop consistency and familiarity between lessons!

Using similar toys
For nervous swimmers, ask us how you can have some of the same toys they use in their lessons at home.

Give your coach feedback
Throughout the session, you will have an opportunity to give us feedback about your experience through conversations with our team and specifically when we ask you to complete one of our Family Satisfaction Surveys. These are important because they let coaches and other staff know how you feel–be honest and don’t hold back! If you are happy, let us know why, if you are not satisfied, let us know why! We want to work together to fix any issues you may be facing.


Be present
Parents – relax and enjoy these milestone moments with your little ones! If you are relaxed and having fun, your little swimmer will be too.

Sick days
Sick fishes should stay home and rest up! If your child is sick, let us know so we can make a note on your file for you.  We are unable to reschedule missed lessons, but not to worry – a missed lesson here and there won’t hinder your child’s progress.

Finish your lessons
Finish all the levels – safety first. Our curriculum builds on swimmer strength and skill over time; the best way to benchmark your child’s comfort and safety, especially in the event of an emergency, is to finish Big Wave 10.

What would you add to this list of swim lesson tips?
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