Buffalo Featured Parenting

How Swim Lessons Helped My Son Conquer His Greatest Fear

April 26, 2019

Since the very first time we put Fox in the bathtub, he screamed at the top of his lungs the second water touched his face and hair.

I could tell that he was genuinely terrified of water.

Fox is fearless in every sense of the word, so we never really pushed the issue with him. Instead we got him a mini-pool for the backyard that he’d dip a toe into every once in awhile, but that was it.

Despite having been born and raised for most of toddlerhood in Southern California, he had only entered a “pool” twice.

He had been in a relative’s pool once as a small baby where he sat on a floaty for several minutes and then wanted out. The only other time was at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, oddly enough!

I had heard a new swim school was opening in town and wondered if it would help at all to sign him up. Fox is all about the bells and whistles, so when I saw all the bright colors, cool scenery, and the surf board hair drying area at Goldfish Swim School Williamsville, I knew he’d flip.

Upon enrollment, I learned that there are maximum 4 kids per class to one instructor and flexible make-up lessons if you have to miss. Classes are held for kids ages 4 months to 12 years.

Babies are accompanied by a parent into the pool, but at Fox’s level he was on his own. Parents sit behind glass in comfy lawn chairs so they can see the class take place, which Fox loved because he could frequently wave. The Williamsville location is next to a Tim Horton’s so it was relaxing to get a coffee beforehand and indulge while Fox swam for 30 minutes.

If I’m being totally honest though, my husband and I were bracing ourselves walking in for his first swim lesson because we knew we’d probably have the kid who sat in the pool screaming about getting water on his face. He played a bit in the pool and then his instructor said something to him and Fox shook his head yes. Then we watched as our son dunked his head in the pool and came up laughing hysterically. 

We were floored.

After class, he got out and had a shower, blow dried his hair, and my husband dried Fox’s swim suit in the drying machine (yep, they have one of those too!).

A couple days later I put Fox in the bathtub and asked if I could wash his hair. He eagerly obliged and when I dumped water on his head to wash out the soap he giggled and let me keep going.

It’s made our nighttimes exponentially easier!

After two months of classes, Fox was ready for the next level.

He’s now learning more about swim safety and getting to experience a few more advanced concepts. They also hand out ribbons on occasion for achievements which makes him feel very special. 

The other thing that’s pretty neat is that members can bring their families in for free swim at just $5 a family! Tyler and Fox went about a week before I went into labor and it’s been a nice little outlet for Fox to keep for himself now that a new sibling has shaken up the house. If you’re not a member it costs $5 per person to swim, which is a great deal especially if you’re curious to check out the facility before officially signing up. They also do children’s birthday parties!

It’s so fun to see Fox’s excitement about swim now that he’s no longer fearful of water.

If you’re interested in learning more about Goldfish Swim School, click here.

Shop Fox’s swimsuits!


Sarabeth, The February Fox

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  • Reply Kevin Martin September 13, 2023 at 12:12 am

    I found swimming lessons have helped him immensely with being comfortable and confident in the water.

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