Water Wobbles . . . no, not my less than svelte figure in a swimming costume. Water Wobbles is the term the guys at Puddle Ducks use to describe the phase lots of toddlers go through during their swimming lessons, when your previously compliant and water loving toddler decides that they actually don’t like swimming any more.
Amy, as you know, has been swimming with Puddle Ducks for over two terms now and we’ve had highs and lows over that time. I wrote about how changing the day and time of her lesson made a big difference to her performance in the pool and that the change in teacher had made her pull her socks up and try new things. We had some great seal dives and kick & splash swims though she has never really been happy about going under water.
Before the Easter holidays she started to wobble. I blamed it on her Daddy accidentally taking her for a Seal Dive without giving her the signal. I blamed it on illness – chicken pox were on the horizon. I blamed it on pushing her too hard, on taking her to a different pool on holiday. I found any excuse I could for why my little girl really didn’t like her swimming lessons any more. She’s never been completely confident but this was worse. She spent her lessons clinging to me, telling me she wanted to get out, that she didn’t want to do it. Claire, our teacher, was great – she did everything she could to snap Amy out of it – giving her toys to keep her hands busy so she couldn’t hold onto me so tightly, making her giggle to distract her from what was going on but nothing really seemed to work. We just had to give her time. Claire always gives clear instructions on how to modify an activity to suit your child’s ability level and confidence so we did what we could and just kept on trying.
The new term brought with it a move up to Little Dippers for Amy. We decided to stick to the same pool, timings and teacher having agreed with Claire that maintaining a certain level of continuity was important for Amy at that point. I crossed my fingers tightly that the change in lesson would be a turning point, that learning new songs and activities would keep her busy, that watching older, more confident swimmers would motivate her to do the same. The first lesson was awful. She clung to me like a limpet, worse than she had even in her very first lesson back in September. She cried, properly cried and refused to take part in anything – she wouldn’t even let me turn around to face the group. I was gutted. The second week wasn’t much better. I started to think this phase was going to last forever.
In her last lesson, Claire commented that it might be worth trying out neoprene suit to keep Amy warm, that perhaps feeling cold was having a detrimental effect on her attitude to swimming. It wasn’t something I’d ever really considered. I’ve always been glad that our pool isn’t super warm as it feels more true to life, I didn’t want to take Amy swimming on holiday and find she couldn’t hack the colder temperature. Amy has definitely been a bit cold in some of our lessons but she has never complained about it and with her being quite an able communicator I guess I just assumed she would have said . . .
— Colette (@Lollinski) May 9, 2016
So this week, Amy wore her new Konfidence wetsuit – she was excited to wear it and we talked about what Claire would say. I’ve never worn a wetsuit myself so I don’t think I really understood just how effective they were – when I took Amy’s wetsuit off at the end of the lesson her skin was toasty warm! I was suitably impressed.
Now whether it was the novelty of the wetsuit, the fact that she was warm and cosy or the promise of a big chocolate ice cream in the Trafford Centre after her lesson if she tried hard, I don’t know but one way or another we had a massive break through this week. Although she wasn’t sure to start with, she did get into the pool independently and allowed me to face her into the group for the welcome song – she did however steadfastly refuse to hold hands with the other Little Dippers! As the lesson went on she started to relax, she became more confident and she began to smile. By the end of the lesson she was thoroughly enjoying herself and I literally couldn’t believe my eyes when she walked down the float by herself and jumped into the water from standing!! This was a completely new activity for us as Little Dippers and I was so proud of her, as were the other parents in our class who were equally pleased to see her beaming face!
I can’t say for sure that we’ve completely come out the other side of the Water Wobbles just yet but that was definitely the best lesson she’s ever had. We were both absolutely buzzing at the end of her lesson, I don’t think I’d realised just how stressful her lessons had become.
And yes – she got a massive chocolate ice cream to celebrate:
This little lady had her best @puddleducksgm lesson EVER today and absolutely deserves this massive chocolate ice cream! She wore her new @KonfidenceUK wetsuit for the first time and the difference it made was incredible. She was so warm when we got out of the water – I couldn't believe it 😀 We're both absolutely buzzing after such a lovely lesson! #swimologist #PuddleDucks #puddleducksdifference
Have you experienced Water Wobbles with your toddler? I’d love to know how you got through them?
*Amy swims with Puddle Ducks free of charge for the purposes of review and we were sent her Konfidence wetsuit as part of our Swimologist role. All thoughts and opinions remain our own*