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My 3 year old has been, shall we say, a little bit afraid of the water. Sure, she loves taking a bath and jumping in puddles, but she stays clear of the pool. She also enjoys the local spray pad, but when I mention going to the pool? Nope.

It was last year when it happened. We were at the local pool. I was with her, of course, and encouraged her to float on her back. I held and supported her the entire time but as soon as she was on her back, she panicked. That one little moment was enough to discourage her from staying out of the pool for the rest of the summer.

My solution to prevent that from happening this year? I’m taking it upon myself to teach my toddler water skills.


Except we’re going to start at home, in our own backyard. Or back deck, rather. We do have a kiddie pool that she enjoys using so I figured that was as good of a place as any to begin. In fact, we’re going to use the kiddie pool to learn as many water tips as possible.

But we started indoors.

After putting her bathing suit and waterproof sunscreen on, we put her Puddle Jumper® life jackets on.

Now, I know what you might be thinking- a life jacket for a kiddie pool?


This is about water preparation, first and foremost.

The Puddle Jumper® life jacket is US Coast Guard approved, and features a comfortable design with more freedom to swim and play. It features a fun 3D character (like one of her favorites from PAW® Patrol) on the front and has adjustable buckle snaps in the back.

I’m not sure if having the life jacket would help her get over her past fears, but I was definitely willing to give this a try.

And so was she.

Granted, this was our test run and it’s a kiddie pool. But, she certainly seemed confident enough already. Even with the limited space of her kiddie pool, she stretched out.

And once she was comfortable enough here, I asked her to put her face in and blow bubbles. That way we can get her used to breathing while she’s on her stomach in the water.

Other water skills that we’ll work on (at the indoor pool) are:

  • Floating on her back
  • Kicking her legs (While on her back)
  • Kicking her legs (while on her stomach)

We could have done those at home, too. But she was having so much fun blowing bubbles in the water.

So far, so good with our test run.

She was happy, more than happy, to keep her Puddle Jumper® life jacket on for the duration of her morning time in the kiddie pool. I was so impressed with her and she was confident enough, that we arranged for a trip to a nearby indoor pool.

Of course, we fully intend to bring our Puddle Jumper® life jacket and test out more of her newly acquired water knowledge.

So far so good as we prepared to enter the pool.

And would you look at that! No more nerves about the water. As long as she knew that I was right there with her and that her Puddle Jumper® life jacket would help; she put her face right in the water.

I honestly couldn’t have been more proud of her and she was pretty proud of herself! Her Puddle Jumpers will be going along with us whenever we go to the indoor pool, outdoor pool, or beach.

We purchased our new Puddle Jumper® life jacket, along with her new swimsuit, at our local Target.

I am confident that this will help us have a fun, enjoyable time at the water. Equipped with her new water skills, and her Puddle Jumper® life jacket; my three year old is overcoming her previous fears.

Do you have a toddler or young child who’s learning water skills? How are you teaching them?


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Digital Product Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, product creator, and coach; Kori shares autism family life- the highs, lows, messy, and real. Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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