Water wobbles – tips to help toddlers with water anxiety

We’ve been swimming with Water Babies since she was 11 weeks old and it’s been one of the baby/toddler activities that I used to look forward to the most. Used to… When she turned one she completely changed in the water – she is clingy, going underwater scares her, pretty much everything that we were able to do previously, she has a problem with. She still loves bath time so it didn’t make any sense until our instructor explained the water wobbles.Β 

Water wobbles you ask? Yes, another developmental stage (not all toddlers go through it!) to do with anxiety in water. It’s a regressive behaviour and they get through it, although it might take longer for some. Like a sleep regression, they always get through it so there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

Our instructor has been very sweet an encouraging and she also requested for a helpful leaflet to be sent to me by Water Babies. After going through the useful tips, here’s my take, 5 tips to overcome water wobbles andΒ help your toddler with water anxiety. I just hope this works because I definitely want to continue with the classes.

  1. Don’t let it get to you! Babies and children can sense it if you are stressed or tense in water so stay positive, smile a lot, offer praise and act silly. If you get a smile out of them they will have fewer negative associations with water.
  2. Don’t force them to do anything that they’ve developed an aversion to. Instead of an underwater swim blow them bubbles, splash them around, or give them a toy.
  3. Offer cuddles and reassurance but don’t give them too many hugs as this might actually send them the opposite message that you want to protect them from something they should indeed be scared of. Complicated, eh? πŸ™‚
  4. Don’t push, stay calm and stay patient. Easy-peasy then…
  5. Take them swimming on your own – definitely have to do that more! I want to see whether a more relaxed environment will help. Oftentimes the changing rooms at the class are crowded, there are screaming babies around you so the stress level just hits high! This weekend we’re attempting an under 5s swim in Kensington Leisure Centre. Fingers crossed she’s happier.

Any mum readers out there who have gone through something similar with their little ones? What did you do, what worked? x

Baby swim

Little M&M enjoying pool time in Portsmouth NH

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