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Parents and children can get anxious about water – and we can help!

Although we are very proud to be Water Babies, this does not mean that we all feel comfortable in the water all at the same time. There are times when you and or your babies could feel overwhelmed or nervous in the water. Our Water Babies team understands this and will help assist you and your little ones to understand what’s going on with the “water wobbles” and how we can help you get through them.

The Water Wobble.

Separation anxiety for your baby is a natural phase. This normally happens between 11 and 13 months. Your baby goes throw a consciousness change and at that point they start to become aware of the surroundings and then feel over whelmed at this point your baby starts to hang and grasp onto you. This is short-lived.

Water wobbles occur once, and could happen over a few lessons. This normally happens just after the Separation anxiety. The water wobbles happen as your baby starts to gain more confidence in the water and becomes more independent and will want to make their own decisions to play or explore the pool. Generally, you can expect to see water wobbles for the first time between 11 and 15 months old, and toddlers can experience several during their early years. Water Wobbles can be short-lived or could last for many months; but however long they last, rest assured that they’re a normal – and vital – part of learning.

If your little one goes through this natural development phase, the important thing is not to worry – you’ll only pass your stress on to your baby or toddler. Don’t be embarrassed if they won’t get in the pool or if they’re upset in the lesson. Our Water Babies instructors know exactly how you’re feeling and will help ease the process as much as possible. Just keep smiling, keep calm, and remind yourself it’s just a temporary phase. Once your child starts to swim they will feel more at home in the water, as they learn to propel themselves in the water they will become more prudent and gain an enormous amount of independence and self-confidence. The pool is heated to a minimum of 31°C, and has a shallow and a deep end so there really is very little to be afraid of.

Water Wobble is a natural part of life, regardless of when they occur, and can happen both in and out of the water and for all sorts of reasons. Your child might experience a water wobble when they’ve been doing an activity for a long time; after a period of rapid learning; or when they’re beginning a new activity or learning experience. After a period of learning, your child’s brain needs time to make sense of all the new information and reinforce the skills learned. This period of time is completely natural and a vital part of learning any new skill. The good news is that once your child’s brain is able to process the information and has decided how to use it, they’ll be able to easily perform the new skills.

Each baby is different. Some newborns like water more than others, usually those with a higher proportion of fatty tissue. Mind your reactions and your words if your baby cries in the bath or the pool. Rather than jump to the conclusion that he does not like water, check that the temperature is warm enough, comfort him and aim to create pleasurable associations each time you expose him to water again to help their confidence. Often, our most confident little swimmers are the ones who’ve been through the worst of the wobbles and come out again the other side. Often, our most confident little swimmers are the ones who’ve been through the worst of the wobbles and come out again the other side.

If mum or dad feels a bit wobbly.

Quite a few of our Water Babies come to us specifically because mum or dad can’t swim or are frightened of water. They may want to ensure that their child never develops the same fear, or to give them opportunities they never had. We respect and admire this attitude, and work closely with these parents to help promote confidence in water for them and their baby. All our pools are shallow enough for you to be able to stand very easily, but if you still don’t feel confident in water, do tell your local office (and instructor) and we’ll make absolutely sure we don’t ask you to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Many of our mums and dads gain so much confidence bringing their little ones that they then learn to swim themselves!

Generally, you can expect to see water wobbles for the first time between 11 and 15 months old, and toddlers can experience several during their early years. Water Wobbles can be short-lived or could last for many months; but however long they last, rest assured that they’re a normal – and vital – part of learning.

When your little one doesn’t seem to be progressing.

If you ever notice that your child has stopped progressing and has had a change in attitude to their swimming classes, it can be bewildering and frustrating. But don’t be too surprised! It’s quite common for children to hit ‘learning plateaus’ when their rapid progression can slow down or even stop altogether. They may seem uncooperative, or resist going underwater when they’ve swam quite happily in the past.

Getting some extra help.

As with everything at Water Babies, we always recommend that you remain positive and patient with your child at all times, and try the following:

• Gently encourage and allow your child to work at their own pace.
• Keep them close to you, and try doing the activity with them to help reinforce the skill.
• Encourage your child to lead the activity.
• Even if they’re not taking part, encourage them to watch others – they’ll still pick up what’s going on.
• Encourage them to take part in other ways; for example, by helping to hold the mat for ‘wibble wobble’.
• If they resist an underwater swim, hold off on the submersions until they’re ready to try again.
• Take them along to other swim sessions (for example, at your local public pool) and just let them play independently.

Most importantly, carry on swimming! Stopping your child’s lessons would mean they wouldn’t have the chance to reinforce the skills they’ve already learned. And if they’re away from the water for too long, there’s every chance those skills will be forgotten and may need to be re-learned.
Whether it’s you or your child who feels anxious about the water, please do talk to your local Water Babies office. Our instructors are fantastically well-trained, experienced and sympathetic, and will be happy to talk your concerns through with you.

If you ever notice that your child has stopped progressing and has had a change in attitude to their swimming classes, it can be bewildering and frustrating.

At Water Babies, we’ll work with you to help your child through what can be a frustrating and bewildering time for you as a parent – and remember, none of us learns in straight lines, so your child may go forward, then back a little, then forward again!

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