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How To Prepare Your Child For Their First Swim Lesson

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

A child's first swim lesson is a major milestone that marks an important phase in their development. This occasion is often filled with excitement and anticipation, but it can also bring about a touch of nervousness. As a parent, your role in this process is pivotal. Your guidance, encouragement, and thoughtful preparation can transform this experience from merely a lesson into a joyful and confidence-building adventure.

To make your child's first swim lesson a success, a step-by-step approach is essential. From selecting the right swim school to scheduling at an optimal time, from practicing basic skills at home to reinforcing positive memories after the lesson, each step plays a crucial part. By following this guide, you can ensure that this significant event is not only enjoyable but also lays the foundation for a lifelong love of swimming.

If you are still on the fence about booking swim lessons for your child, I actually wrote another whole article on The 7 Reasons Why Young Children Need Swim Lessons.

Planning the Swim Lesson

children in pool

Ready to dive in? Enroll at Levirey Swim School today and make a splash in your swimming journey!

Choosing the Right Swim School

Selecting the right swim school is the cornerstone of your child's swimming journey. Research schools that have experienced instructors who are trained to work with children. Look for facilities that prioritize safety and have a curriculum that can be tailored to your child's needs. Reviews from other parents and certifications from recognized swimming bodies can be valuable indicators of quality.

Scheduling at the Right Time

Timing is key to a successful first swim lesson. Pick a time when your child is usually alert and in a good mood. Avoid scheduling lessons close to nap or meal times, as a tired or hungry child may not have the best experience. Consider your child's daily routine and choose a time that aligns with their natural rhythm.

Getting Ready at Home

kids in kiddie pool

Building Confidence

Before the lesson, talk to your child about what to expect. Use positive language and encourage any questions they may have. Reading books or watching videos about swimming can also help familiarize them with the experience.

Practicing Basic Skills

You can start practicing basic skills like blowing bubbles or kicking in the bathtub. Make it a fun and engaging activity, turning it into a game rather than a lesson. This early exposure can make the actual swim lesson feel more familiar and less intimidating.

Selecting the Right Swimwear

Comfort is key when it comes to swimwear. Choose something that fits well without being too tight or too loose. Avoid swimwear that might cause discomfort or distraction, such as those with itchy tags or unnecessary frills. Remember, the focus should be on the joy of swimming, not the outfit.

When it comes to swim accessories, goggles can be an essential addition. They protect your child's eyes from chlorine and allow them to see clearly underwater, enhancing their overall experience. Make sure to choose goggles that are designed for children, with adjustable straps for a comfortable fit. I actually wrote an entire article on the best swim goggles for kids, which you can read here.

Swim Diapers and More

Choosing the right swim suit for your child is essential for comfort and functionality. Look for materials that are soft, stretchable, and provide UV protection. One-piece suits for girls and trunks for boys are popular choices, but the key is to find something that fits well without being too tight or too loose.

For younger children, especially those who are not yet potty-trained, swim diapers are an essential part of the swimwear ensemble. Unlike regular diapers, swim diapers are designed to contain solid waste without swelling up in water. They come in both disposable and reusable varieties, each with its own benefits. Disposable swim diapers are convenient and often used for one-time outings, while reusable ones are eco-friendly and can be a cost-effective option in the long run.

Most swim schools and public pools require the use of swim diapers for younger children, so it's wise to check the specific requirements and have them ready for the first lesson. The right swim diaper ensures hygiene and comfort, allowing your child to explore the water with ease.

Remember, the key is to choose swimwear and accessories that align with your child's comfort and the requirements of the swim school, ensuring a positive and enjoyable experience in the water.

The First Swim Lesson

swim lesson

Arriving Early

Arriving early to the swim lesson is more than just a matter of punctuality. It provides your child with the opportunity to acclimate to the surroundings. Take a walk around the facility together, explore the changing rooms, and observe the pool. This familiarization can ease any nerves and make the environment feel more welcoming.

At Levirey Swim School presented by Lifeguard LI, we allow you to bring your child days before to check out the pool and watch a lesson or two. They may even be able to get in the water and play a bit if there is pool space!

Meeting the Instructor

The introduction to the swim instructor is a vital moment. A friendly face and a warm greeting can make a world of difference in how your child perceives the lesson. Encourage your child to shake hands or wave, and allow them to interact at their own pace. The goal is to foster a sense of trust and comfort with the instructor.

Staying Positive and Supportive

Your attitude as a parent has a significant influence on your child's feelings. Show genuine enthusiasm and offer praise for even the smallest achievements. If your child sees that you are positive and relaxed, they are more likely to feel the same way. Remember, your support is their anchor.

After the Lesson

swim lesson

Discussing the Lesson

After the lesson, take the time to talk about what your child enjoyed and learned. Focus on the positive aspects and celebrate their efforts. This reinforcement helps in building a positive association with swimming and encourages them to look forward to the next lesson.

Planning the Next Lesson

Consistency is key to building confidence and skills in swimming. Discuss the next lesson with your child and keep the momentum going. Whether it's picking a regular schedule or setting small, achievable goals, planning ahead ensures that the first lesson is just the beginning of a rewarding journey.

The big day of the first swim lesson is filled with opportunities and challenges. By arriving early, introducing the instructor properly, staying positive, and reinforcing the experience afterward, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. It's about creating a supportive atmosphere where your child feels empowered to take this significant step with confidence and joy.


The first swim lesson is a pivotal moment in a child's life, setting the stage for a lifelong engagement with swimming. Your careful preparation and support can turn this experience into a positive and enjoyable one.

By following the guidelines provided, you're not only helping your child learn a valuable skill but also fostering a sense of confidence and love for the water. This thoughtful approach can lead to a rewarding journey in swimming that extends far beyond the initial lesson.

10 Frequently Asked Questions on Preparing Your Child for Swim Lessons:

1. What is the importance of swimming?

Swimming is a vital life skill that offers health benefits and serves as a crucial safety measure. It's also a fun recreational activity that can be enjoyed by all ages.

2. How do I choose the right class for my child's first swim lesson?

Select a class that matches your child's age and skill level, and consult with the instructor if in doubt. Ensuring the right fit helps your child feel comfortable and progress at their own pace.

3. What should my child wear for their swim lesson?

Comfortable clothing like swimsuits or rash guards, along with goggles and sunscreen if swimming outside, is appropriate. Proper attire ensures safety and allows for unrestricted movement in the water.

4. How can I make my child's first swim lesson enjoyable?

Arrive early, emphasize safety, make the process engaging, and celebrate achievements to make the lesson enjoyable. A positive first experience can foster a lifelong love for swimming.

5. Are parents allowed on the pool deck during lessons?

Generally, parents are not allowed on the pool deck to create a distraction-free environment for instructors and students. This policy helps instructors focus on teaching and students on learning.

6. What can I do to practice swimming without a pool?

You can practice at home by encouraging activities like blowing bubbles in the bathtub. These exercises can help your child become comfortable with water and prepare them for actual swimming lessons.

7. How should I teach my child to enter and exit the pool safely?

Teach your child safe entry and exit methods, and inform the instructor if they've never done this before. Proper entry and exit techniques are fundamental to overall water safety.

8. What are swim diapers, and are they necessary?

Swim diapers are essential for babies, providing a barrier against solid waste and allowing free movement. They contain accidents and are often required by swim schools for hygiene reasons.

9. How can I emphasize the importance of water safety to my child?

Emphasize that swimming is not just about fun but also a crucial safety skill, and choose programs that balance learning with play. Instilling this understanding early on promotes responsible behavior around water.

10. What should I do if my child gets tired during the lesson?

Encourage breaks if your child gets tired, as resting helps them focus better and enhances the learning experience. Open communication with the instructor can help tailor the lesson to your child's needs.

If you enjoyed the article, you may also be interested in learning about the Top 10 Developmental Benefits of Swimming For Children.


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