Swimming, Splashing, Sensory & Smiles

Jojoe taking a break in the kiddie pool. Splash away buddy!


As a parent one of the number one safety skills you want your child to be able to do is swim. There’s times I feel like I’m failing Joey, since at 10 1/2 years old and he cannot swim. He cannot even float. In fact he has HATED big pools up until this summer.

Typically whenever we would visit someone’s house who has a pool, Joey would sit on the edge or my husband would hold him against his chest and walk him around in the water.

Funny enough, he LOVES taking baths and playing kiddie pools. He’ll splash around in those anyday, anytime. It’s when we’re at a larger pool, he goes into sensory overload, gets overwhelmed and flips out.

This Spring I had decided enough was enough. I want my kid to be able to at least float. So I called our town’s recreation department and spoke with the aquatics director and told him my dilemma. He said to sign up Joey for swim lessons through the town and we’ll see how it goes.

For the past 3 weeks, I’ve been at our local community pool with Joey every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. He’s been in a typical child’s group swimming lesson class. I knew he wouldn’t participate like the other kids but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Joey, it’s that he’s highly motivated by his peers.

During the swim lesson class, Jojoe has sat on the side of the pool, watching his swim lesson classmates intensely, watching them learning how to swim, mimicking their movements while sitting in the side out of the water. Each lesson, dipping his toes and arms in the water a little further eachtime. On Wednesday after his lesson, I was walking him through the water with him on my back. He was very hesitant the deeper I walked but I kept reassuring him that he was ok and I kept singing, “Just keep swimming.” After a little bit I started unwrapping his legs from around my waist and making him float his legs behind us. I even got him to start kicking his legs while holding onto my shoulders.

Then I took him to the shallowest portion of the pool and showed him his feet could touch. I was having him hold onto the side of the pool and kick his legs!

Turn the clock forward to today’s lesson. Jojoe jumped onto my back in the water after his lesson and we started our walk around the pool with him laughing the entire time! Then we practiced standing in the shallow end. He did it once again! This time, we even added in sitting on the side of the pool and he slid in holding onto my hands!

Talk about a proud Mommy moment! After the first half of his childhood, my boy is finally starting to accept a swimming pool without getting upset! Even though he’s not swimming yet, I’m so incredibly proud of him, It’s a huge step for him to accept something, especially after only 3 weeks!

I can’t wait to see what progress he makes between now and the beginning of the school year at the pool. Even if he’s not swimming by then, at least he’s accepted the pool and fingers crossed next summer will be a little easier!


2 responses »

  1. I am just getting my son ready to take to the pool, he is two and a half and last summer he loved the pool and we went every Saturday. This year he does not enjoy it and cries every time, I am just trying to take tiny steps forward every week. Thanks for sharing your story. It is interesting to hear that Jamie’s reaction is not unusual. Keep writing


  2. Pingback: Swimming, Splashing, Sensory & Smiles, Part 2 | Raising Joey

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