The Water Wobbles

You may have heard your teacher refer to the ‘water wobbles’ when your child hasn’t been enjoying lessons like they used to or is having a particularly bad time with an aspect of the lesson and I wanted to go into a bit more detail about them to hopefully provide a little bit of reassurance!

The Water Wobbles is the name given to that sometimes frustrating and despairing time when children go from loving the water to hating it! We are here to tell you its normal and to hopefully give you some tips to get through this unscathed!

Water Wobbles normally occur during developmental milestones, such as learning to crawl, or walk and its particularly common for children to go through them when they are suffering from separation anxiety, (normally between 8 -18 months, however all children are different!!) other things that may contribute to a water wobble are a change to baby’s routine, the start of a new nursery, a big move, a holiday, teething or any other disruptions in your baby’s routine.

Classic signs of a water wobble is your child becoming upset doing certain activities during the lesson or even getting upset seeing or getting into the water, they may be very clingy and not want to come away from you and we will work with you closely to overcome this and to help you and your child feel more comfortable and to get through what feels like a lifetime of unhappiness in the water!

As parents ourselves we have experienced this first hand so not only do we know what its like to be a teacher in this situation but more importantly we know how it feels to be a parent in this situation and will fully support you through it even when the last thing you want to do it stay in the pool! We got you!

Here are some handy hints and tips to get you through!


It can be very annoying, and very stressful when you feel like the last 6 lessons of the term have been spent with your child clinging to you for dear life and anything you do to alleviate that is met with screams and tears, and lets face it, your left feeling a little bit embarrassed feeling like you’re the only one in that situation and you may feel like your wasting your time and money when quite clearly your child isn’t having a good time! Despite all of this though its really important to stay calm, your child will pick up on any anxiety and as hard as it may be you will find that taking a deep breath and plastering a smile on will help.

Have fun!

It may seem like the worst thing to do in this situation but being daft and making your child laugh in this situation will help to diffuse those cries and put a smile back on their face, try blowing raspberries, doing silly faces or voices, anything that normally makes them laugh. Remind them they are in an environment that was once a lot of fun for them! Don’t worry about the others in the class or the teacher at this point, the most important thing to you is your child, so comfort them how you normally would, there’s no judging in our classes! We are one big team!

Go at their pace

Its quite easy to get a bit agitated and want to push your little ones to do something you know that they once loved, you want to prove to them that nothings changed but in our experience going at your child’s pace, whether that be keeping them on the surface during submersions or fully supporting them when they jump off the floats, is the best course of action. We are child led swim classes and will always go off your little ones reactions, we will never take an unhappy baby for an underwater swim and doing so would only make things worse so follow their lead and stick to the activities they feel comfortable with.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Its very easy to not want to step foot in a swimming pool again when your child reacts like some do during the water wobbles, however like most fears the best way to tackle this is head on, keep practising in the bath or your local pool, remember the signal we teach in class and really use that during your practice sessions so little one is reminded of it. 30 minutes a week isn’t always enough to get your child over their wobble so practicing outside of lessons and remembering to go at their pace is something we highly recommend doing.

Don’t give up!

The temptation to give up when your child isn’t enjoying lessons is all too much but remember that this is just a phase just like your child not sleeping or not eating a lot ect and they will come out the other side with a renewed love of swimming! This could last a few lessons or half the term, there’s no knowing unfortunately but take it from us, they will get through it!!

Emily x