Has your baby, who previously LOVED swimming, suddenly and for no apparent reason seems to hate it instead? It is very much a developmental stage and there is nothing you can do to prevent it – your child is growing and developing at an amazing rate, they are learning about independence and control and how to assert their own opinions!
This weeks blog comes from the fabulous Clare at Turtle Tots.
“I would like to reassure parents and carers that this is completely normal and will pass in its own time; sometimes a few weeks but also can be a few months, even terms. Water wobbles are NOT a reason to stop swimming, in fact the opposite is true as if you stop during a wobble then both you and your child can hold on to the impression that they don’t like swimming and it may be many years before you can change this. All babies/toddlers who keep swimming come out of the other side happy and confident little swimmers and I speak with personal experience with one of my own daughters.
There are a few things you can do to help this difficult stage pass more quickly (and to hold on to your sanity in the meantime!)
* Go swimming outside of lessons and practice what we teach you – by far the most effective strategy
* Practice at home, in the bath, wherever you can – you don’t even need to be in water to practice lots of things we do!
* Don’t pressure your child if there is a particular thing they don’t want to do, after gentle encouragement to take part, just watch and talk about what the others in the class are doing and how much fun they are having
* If your child is very unhappy remain in the pool rather than getting out, but go off to the side and try to calm them down with lots of cuddles or by playing with a toy and then try to rejoin the class with a different activity
* If ‘woggle resistance’ is a problem (very common) buy a woggle to have at home and let them play with it so it becomes a familiar object. You will be amazed how much difference this can make
* Try to remain calm, confident and unruffled if your toddler is refusing to co-operate, even though it can be very frustrating, as even small children have a habit of knowing what behaviors wind their parents up and then doing it even more!
Sometimes parents tell me they feel guilty as their toddler no longer seems to be enjoying the classes, but it is important to remember that you are not attending classes JUST to have fun though important as this is, you are teaching your child an essential, potentially life-saving skill. Children don’t always like everything we do to them (teeth cleaning, nappy changing, vaccinations to name but a few) but we do them because they are the best things for them, so looking at it in this way can help you to persevere with swimming without those pangs of guilt. I hope this helps!”