Getting over Water Wobbles with Puddle Ducks

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 . . .

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:

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*

19 thoughts on “Getting over Water Wobbles with Puddle Ducks

  1. This is such a lovely feel good post! I used to love swimming as a kid but I struggled to jump in and go underwater so my parents had to teach me at another pool and eventually I just did it! Since then I will happily dive in straight at the deep end, absolutely love to swim, wish I did it more!

  2. Nothing worse than being cold in the water, well done your teacher for spitting the problem and looks like Amy is well away again with her swimming. #TriedTested

  3. Aww! Bless her! If I am cold I feel reluctant to do anything so it makes sense that if your girl is warm she will be happier to join in…How lovely! It sounds like the suit has really helped x

  4. This looks great. I've been terrible and haven't taken my toddler to one swimming lesson. We've been on many warm holidays and every time I take her to the pool she scream bloody murder. I think it's that she doesn't like the cold water on her skin so I think something like this would be fab! #TriedTested

  5. It's not nice being cold at all, and what a good thought of your swimming teacher. I like the look of these suits and it's something you've made me think about for my boy. He always gets so cold, maybe with a neopreen suit he may enjoy the water for longer.
    Lovely post
    XX
    #triedtested

  6. Really good idea. Glad it helped her enjoy the swim. Son2 is quite skinny compared to chubby son1, and we've just started at the outdoor pool for the season and I find son2 needs a wetsuit whilst son1 doesn't

  7. Well done Amy and great suggestion by the teacher! We took a break for a while after it seemed like my son kept getting ear infections and we were always missing classes but we've started up again recently and he's loving it. #TriedTested

  8. I've found ups and downs just with taking Tilly to the pool – I haven't yet braved lessons yet but need to soon. I have seen some children in these types of suit and have wondered why but they can clearly do the job and I can quite understand why they excite the child at going swimming. Hopefully it goes well for you from here! #triedtested

  9. My daughter was really bad at around 5 and we started regularly going to our local pool a few times a week and letting her get in at her own pace and depths she was comfortable with. She had a few swimming lessons as she go older and is now totally confident in the pool although not a strong swimmer yet. I'm so glad the wetsuit seemed to work fingers crossed it lasts! #triedtested

  10. Wow! Brave little girl you have 🙂
    My toddler always loved water and he still does, I hope he won't get the wobbles anytime soon. I'll keep the suit in mind, I had other parents mention to me that it made all the difference for their kids.
    #triedtested

  11. Ah, water wobbles, something I know all too well about after L has been through it on 3 separate occasions during our Water Babies classes. It's really tough when they're not enjoying it, but you've just got to help them get through it by keeping it fun and not giving up. We're now through our most recent bout of water wobbles and I've genuinely not see L as happy in the water as she is now. We too use Konfidence and have nothing but positive things to say about their gear – we have the babywarma though as L is obviously younger than Amy.

  12. Awww way to go Amy, so pleased to hear the lesson went well. Olly went through a phase during our swimming lessons when he hated it. He was younger than Amy at the time though and it really stressed me out. We don't go swimming half as much as we should now though sadly. We love Konfidence products, the wetsuit is fab!

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