How To Get Your Toddler To Love The Pool!

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I watched my sister Linda as she took her toddler out to the family pool for the first time and I even got to help with the orientation. It was fascinating to see how Linda worked with the youngster, to make sure his first pool experience was positive. Here’s what she did:

She started slow. Linda is great at doing research on a new topic, so that’s what she did with her toddler and the pool. She read that it is best to start early and allow the child to just get used to the feel of water. She took baths with her child and would smile and laugh to show him it was fun. She would encourage him to splash – kids love that – and trickle a bit of water over his forehead to let him get used to the feel of running water. By the time she was ready to bring him around the pool, water was already fun for him. Here are some great resources that have information about babies and the pool:

Once her child felt comfortable around water, it was time for the introduction to the pool. That’s where I got recruited. We would acclimate her boy to the water gradually.

how to get your toddler to love the pool

In the pool area. After properly equipping her boy with swim diapers, we stepped outside to the pool area. He was intrigued by this new area and was looking around curiously, but also a bit anxiously. Linda’s research said that if the baby hesitates, don’t force the issue. Go slow with the orientation. Babies will be excited around the water one day, then hesitant the next, so just go along with their mood for the day. Linda handed her boy to me and I sat in a lawn chair in the shade, holding her baby where he could see Mommy. He was very curious about what she was doing.

Mom in the pool. Linda stepped down into the water and began splashing and laughing, just like she had done with him in the bathtub. She was having so much fun it made me want to get in the cool water. Her son began smiling and kicking his legs. Linda saw that and motioned me closer. He was still watching Mommy, but got a little hesitant at that point. We backed off, and just let him sit in the shade watching.

Getting closer. The next day we went back out and repeated what we had done the first day. This time he reached out for Mommy, so I moved closer and sat down on the edge of the pool as he watched Linda splash around. I sat him next to me and let him begin to dip his feet in the water. He squealed with delight and we just stayed there for a moment.

Moment of triumph. I couldn’t believe how fast it happened, but Linda reached out for her son and he smiled broadly as she took him in her arms. She held him above the water as she smiled at him. Then, dipping his toes in the water, she laughed, which made him laugh. Holding him against her, she splashed the water and he reached to it, to make a splash himself. She turned him to face her, then lowered him into the water a little as he smiled and made cooing noises. She continued to smile and rocked him a little. He was delighted with being in the water.

how to get your toddler to love the pool

When Linda takes her son to the pool today, he squeals with pleasure because she made his start in the pool such a fun and pleasant experience. I was just glad to help with that process and get to watch him discover how fun water can be!

Kaitlin Gardner writes for She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend.  In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature.  She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.

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