Facing Water Fears Through Play

My son had been going to swimming lessons for a few months.  His first 2 months he improved markedly each week, trying new things and being comfortable in the water.  He would allow his teachers to guide his head under the water when swimming from one are to another, but would never do it voluntarily or with me while we were swimming together for fun.

We were at the pool on the weekend, getting cool and playing together, and I thought I’d play with him around the head-under-water issue.

It started off when I got into the water and I pretended to fall over and my head went under the water.  I blew out lots of bubbles and came up pretending to cough and splutter.  Then he got into the water and he pushed me over so that I went under the water again.  I coughed and spluttered again much to his delight.  We did this a few times and then moved on to playing other things.

Then I practiced blowing bubbles and then said, “Your turn!”  He put his mouth in and blew some bubbles.  Then I put my whole face in the water and blew bubbles and said, “Your turn.” For the first time ever, he did it.  By himself.  He came up smiling.

A short time later, our friends had arrived and they joined in our game.  The next thing I knew, my son put his whole face in the water and started to swim towards me.  His feet were touching the ground and his arms were paddling along.

He got to me and looked at me in amazement and achievement.  I showed my thrill at his swimming and told him what I saw him do.  Then he was off again.  Swimming over to our friend with his face in the water.  He was so pleased with himself and enjoying the experience.  He kept doing it over and over and over and over again.   Back and forth, back and forth for at least 30 minutes.  His swimming technique improved, and he would go longer distances between us.

I can’t explain the joy, excitement and amazement we all felt at his achievement.  It was bursting out of me and out of him.  And it all started from the spark of Playlistening.

-Join Certified Instructor Meagan Probert in her upcoming Building Emotional Understanding course, beginning March 7. Register now.

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