It’s summertime and by now you’ve probably spent a lot of time at the pool watching your kids jump in over and over again. We have a pool in our backyard, which was there when we moved in (before kids), and believe it or not it didn’t even have a fence around it at that time. It was one of the first things we had installed. I knew that once we had kids, teaching them the importance of swimming was going to be a priority. A family friend had spoke highly of infant swimming resource lessons long before I ever needed to know about them. I knew that these lessons would be something I wanted my kids to take – especially with having a pool. Layla began infant swimming resource classes (ISR) at the age of 17 months. Henry started a little later at 20 months.
A Survival Skill Set
ISR lessons differ from regular swimming lessons in that they don’t teach kids to swim with arm floaties on. Infant swimming resource lessons will teach kids the skill set they need to save themselves if they encounter a problem while in water. One of the key skills that is taught is floating.
This is Henry, age 2.5 floating on his back
When you sign up for ISR, your child will not be taught in a group format. Lessons are five days a week for 10 minutes at a time. Kids learn best through daily repetition. Parents don’t get in the water with the child, except as lessons are nearing the end. A parent / whoever will be swimming the most with them will get in then so that the instructor can better explain the proper techniques for practicing with the child at home. Lessons are a big commitment (time and money). Most kids finish lessons between 4 and 6 weeks, and the cost per lesson ranges from $20-$30. To find an instructor in your area click here. Once they have completed the initial 4-6 weeks, then you go back every few weeks for refresher classes.
Your child will likely hate it at first. He/she will scream and cry and not want to do it, but I promise each day gets easier and it’s a lesson you will be so glad they learn.
Layla, 18 months
Swim, Float, Swim
If your child is 6-12 months they will learn to roll in the water and find a comfortable horizontal floating position. If your child is between 1-6, they will learn the swim-float-swim sequence. Each child is taught to swim with their head in the water and in a horizontal position. The instructor will guide them to understand how to roll to their back to rest and catch their breath in a floating position.
Prior to learning the swim float swim sequence, the instructor will teach each child how to properly hold their breath under water. The instructor will use positive reinforcement each and every class so that your child effectively takes a breath before going under water each time. They are never under water for more than about 4-5 seconds at a time.
This is a video of Layla at the age of 18 months demonstrating the swim float swim sequence while in regular every day clothes.
One of the biggest differences between infant swim resource lessons and group swimming lessons is testing your child’s ability to swim-float-swim while in regular clothes and shoes. The reason for doing this is to make sure that they can transfer the skills they have learned to different situations. Not all water related accidents happen when kids are in swim suits. By making a child utilize the techniques they’ve learned while wearing heavier clothes they can utilize their sensory skills to get them to their back and floating.
Solid Swimming Foundation
Obviously no human is drown proof, however the foundation that ISR teaches kids is invaluable. I have watched Layla evolve into a strong and confident swimmer who LOVES to be in the water. Henry is getting there too. This summer we will really be working with him on getting his horizontal swimming position down. I’m not trying to develop Olympic swimmers, but I want my kids to have the skills they need to be smart in and around water.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below, or you can always email me!