Got the 'water wobbles'?

Parents and children can get anxious about water - and we can help!

We understand that not everyone feels entirely confident and comfortable in the water — including both adults and little ones. This page may help you to understand what’s going on with the ‘water wobbles’ and how we can help.

If your baby or toddler doesn’t like water
It’s very unusual for small children to dislike water from the start. After all, there’s very little about the water for them to be afraid of: all of our pools are heated to a minimum of 30°C; we introduce swimming very gently and slowly; and we incorporate lots of fun, smiling and activities into our classes. It’s far more common for them to develop the ‘water wobbles’ once they’ve already been having lessons for a while (see below). All in all, the younger your child starts to swim, the more at home they’ll feel in the water.

If your child suddenly dislikes water
Parents are often surprised and upset when their baby or toddler suddenly stops enjoying the water. It can be terribly frustrating to see your Water Baby seemingly unsure or upset  when he or she used to adore swimming! But don’t worry, it’s a common developmental phase that kicks in between around 8-24 months. So don’t worry: they will come out of it, and everything they learned and loved before will come back. Often, our most confident little swimmers are the ones who’ve been through the worst of the wobbles and come out again the other side.


a Water Babies lesson Under the watchful eyes of the ducks!

When the wobbles hit
If your little one goes through this natural development phase, the important thing is not to worry—you’ll only pass your stress on to your baby or toddler. Don’t be embarrassed if they won’t get in the pool or if they’re upset in the lesson: follow the advice of our teachers — they’ve seen it all before! Indeed, many will have gone through it with their own children, and will know exactly how you’re feeling. Just keep smiling, keep calm, and remind yourself it’s just a temporary phase.

If mom or dad feels a bit wobbly
Quite a few of our Water Babies come to us specifically because mom or dad can’t swim or are frightened of water. They may want to ensure that their child never develops the same fear, or to give them opportunities they never had. We respect and admire this and work closely with these parents to help promote confidence in water for them and their baby. All our pools are shallow enough for you to be able to stand very easily, but if you still don’t feel confident in water, tell your local office (and teacher), and we'll make absolutely sure we don't ask you to do anything you're not comfortable with. Many of our moms and dads gain so much confidence bringing their little ones that they then learn to swim themselves!

Getting some extra help
Whether it’s you or your child who feels anxious about the water, please talk to your local Water Babies office. Our teachers are fantastically well-trained, experienced and sympathetic, and will be happy to talk your concerns through with you.