The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

How to Teach Babies to Swim Safely

Whether you are a swimming instructor or parent, when it comes to teaching infants and toddlers to swim–PLEASE choose your approach carefully.   It is absolutely imperative that you really research the pros and cons of the teaching method before enrolling in an infant swimming program, especially one that may promise drown-proofing or mastering survival skills.  These approaches can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.  Simply put, your baby’s (or student’s) life and emotional well-being is in YOUR hands.

Teaching an infant or toddler to swim can be done successfully in a naturally progressive, child-centered learning environment.   One that is gentle and kind.  It is my professional opinion that this is the ONLY method any responsible person should consider for a baby.   We certainly want children to learn to swim for safety, but there is no iron-clad, guaranteed defense against drowning.  There is no such thing as drown-proofing.

In fact, the Broward County Drowning Prevention Task Force in Florida published a program called Water Smart Babies.  They created the program to help educate parents on how to best protect their children and keep them safer around the water.  Water Smart Babies stresses that the parent is the most important factor  and encourages parents to Follow the Safer 3, a layered approach to drowning prevention.

To keep infants and toddlers safer, parents should be taught to take every precaution when the child is in or around the water.  Never let your guard down no matter how many lessons a toddler has taken or how many times they have shown the ability to swim.  To keep children safer, we must combine learn-to-swim with as many layers of protection as possible, from touch supervision, to lifejackets, to fences, to self-closing gates, and pool alarms.

But you ask:  What about those infant-survival skills that  I’ve seen on YouTube?  I believe former NDPA Executive Director Kim Burgess hit the nail on the head in the position statement for the Broward County Drowning Prevention Task Force, “The water-survival skills program make compelling videos for the internet, but no scientific study has yet demonstrated these classes are effective.”

The report also concludes that these types of programs place inexperienced swimmers in what he perceives as life or death situations.”  If practiced repeatedly this places a child in a chronic stressful situation of “saving his life” every time he swims, which could detrimental to the child’s emotional and cognitive development.

Karen King, also referenced in the report, states:  “Putting babies in life or death scenarios is not an acceptable teaching practice in swimming or any learning situation. It’s like showing a child a busy street, putting him IN the road, and watching to see if he makes it to the curb.”  Do you see the cruelty and absurdity in this?

The bottom line is that the ultimate goal of teaching infant, toddlers and young children to swim is so that they love their swimming experience and learn to be safer in the water in the process.   Like any other worthwhile skills, skill mastery is a process–not an event.  Don’t be fooled!

Here is a short video example of what the Swim Lessons University “Parent & Tot” learn to swim program looks like.

Give a child a lifetime gift–teach a child to swim using a gentle, loving approach.   An approach that has proven effective for not only my own three boys, but for the thousands and thousands of students who have safely learned to swim with a Swim Lessons University certified instructor.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
December 8, 2016 at 3:03 am Comments (0)

Private Swimming Lesson Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Have you ever taught a private swimming lesson? Have you ever needed a couple activities in your back pocket to add some fun and variety to the lesson?  Here’s a couple quick ideas that you could try in your toddler or preschool swim lessons:

While these aren’t regular activities that are part of our curriculum, they are certainly great “fillers” that can keep your private swim lessons fun and upbeat, or something you can throw in for a change of pace.  As you could see, this little toddler absolutely loved “The Motorboat Song” and the little tosses up in the air!

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
October 27, 2016 at 1:51 am Comments (0)

The International Swimming Hall of Fame Honors Jim Reiser

For the first time in 20 years, The International Swimming Hall of Fame’s has honored an American as the ISHOF Virginia Hunt Newman Award recipient.  The 2015 honoree is Jim Reiser, Founder & Executive Director of Swim Lessons University.

Reiser earned this honor by following Virginia Hunt Newman’s  footsteps, bringing worldwide attention to a kind, non-forceful, non-traumatic approach to learn to swim.  As the executive director of Swim Lessons University, Jim Reiser has led the way in creating online swim instructor training courses for teaching infants, toddlers, and young children to swim using a kind, gentle method– just as Virginia did.

Swim Lessons University uses the world-wide web and DVD video courses to train and certify swimming instructors to teach with this progressive, effective, yet gentle approach.  The Virginia Hunt Newman Award is sponsored by legendary Olympian Adolph Kiefer and the World Aquatic Babies and Children Congress.

For more information on Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification, visit www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com or call 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

Here are some highlights of the ceremony including a few words from Jim Reiser after being presented with the award:

June 25, 2015 at 2:21 am Comments (0)

How to Teach Baby Swim Lessons: Swim Instructor Q & A

Today’s blog is in a Q & A Format, as I answer questions from a baby swimming teacher from Thailand:

Thailand Instructor: After almost 9 years experince babies and toddlers to swim in Asia, Australia, and UK I am looking to find the best method for submerge progress. What I trying to know is that babies from 3 to 11 months are capable to hold their breath without doing any conditioning or water pouring activities?

Swim Professor: Babies do have an Epiglottal Reflex (Gag Reflex) that is well defined at birth and diminishes over the first 12-18 months of life.  So when water accidentally enters the mouth an involuntary spasm of the glottis and epiglottis occurs, keeping water out of the windpipe (trachea). This does NOT prevent water from entering the esophagus, which leads to the stomach.  At Swim Lessons University, our official Parent & Tot course does not begin until 12 months of age, although we make exceptions to start as young as 9 months.   There are three reasons:

1.  The American Academy of Pediatrics new recommendation is that swimming lessons can start at 12 months of age.

2. We want a baby’s pediatrician to approve of the activity.

3. Babies under 12 months of age are very limited from a motor skill standpoint. This prevents them from mastering real swimming skills in a joyful, positive environment.  Instead, we recommend our Bathtub Baby 101 Program.

Thailand Instructor:  If we prepare babies with stimulus activity such as pouring water with a full cup over head or with sprinkle, do babies accustom to this activity every time when they come to pool?  By pouring the a full cup of water will babies stop breathing? I experiment two different techniques. The first is pouring water over baby’s head and let baby know the verbal READY GO then gentle pull baby to self. In third class, after READY GO,  i pause a second then submerge the baby. The result was good, no crying, no coughing it was just positive reaction.

Swim Professor:  At Swim Lessons University, we use water-pouring activities ONLY as warm-up activity to get infants and toddlers comfortable with water on the face.  Your “Ready Go” command is fine (we use 1, 2, 3, breath cue) BUT the key is that your start command is consistent.  In other words, since our cue to the baby is “1, 2, 3, breathe” is the “signal” to the baby that we are going under water, we “condition” the baby “so to speak” that when they hear “1, 2, 3, breathe” that the submersion follows.   Here is a video example of this:

HOWEVER, if the baby communicates that he is scared thru verbal or body language, we would NOT submerge the baby.

***ALSO VERY IMPORTANT:  Just because a baby isn’t coughing or gagging DOES NOT mean that the baby isn’t drinking the water.  This is one reason we think it is critical to go under water and watch the baby during submersions. In addition, we think it is important to limit the number of submersions you do with the baby over the course of a 25 minute lesson.

Thailand Instructor:  In another technique, I did cup conditioning for two weeks. READY GO then pouring a full cup of water over baby’s head. Running the water fast and smooth only for a second (practice as long as baby was happy, 5 times).  So, in third week when i hold the cup and i say the READY GO then suddenly baby reacts such as closing the eyes and intense face. I did submerge baby positively same as first one, but i relized that i have to do cup conditioning for before first submerge in every class.

Swim Professor:  Again, I would just look at the “water pouring” as a warm-up activity during a song (as seen in the Parent & Tot DVD), not as part of the conditioning process.  In addition, we don’t necessarily wait for a “certain number of classes” to let our toddlers perform breath holding or breath control activities.  If the toddler is receptive to the skill on the first day and you are using a child-focused progression and common sense, you will find many toddlers are ready for facial immersion on the first day.  On the other hand, any indication that the child is not ready should be the instructor’s sign to come back to it on perhaps the following class.   All skills should be done at the child’s pace, NOT the parent’s or instructor’s.

Thailand Instructor:  Would you please help to know more about holding breath progress and also about baby’s reflexes?

Swim Professor:  Of course I discussed the Epiglottal Reflex earlier.   In terms of breath holding, it’s all about the child’s readiness.   In our Parent & Tot Certification Course, we cover this in detail.  But we combine breath holding with the Surface Swim Progression.  Here is a look at the first two steps of our 3-STAGE PROGRESSION:

STAGE ONE:
Here is Stage One of a Surface Swim with 21-month old, Saylor. Watch how I keep my eyes on her face to ensure she is happy throughout the process, I never let her go, nor do I take her underneath the surface of the water. Humans swim at the surface, therefore, especially when you introduce swimming to young infants and toddlers you avoid taking them under the surface or dunking them. You gently place the face in the water after giving a 1-2-3 start command. Secondly, you bring them up for air when they are ready. Don’t overstay your welcome. Their facial expressions and their body language tells you everything you need to know in order to keep the task child-focused.

STAGE TWO
Here is Stage Two of the Surface Swim Progression. Notice how I watch my student under water ensuring each moment of the swim is a positive one. Now that Rex successfully performed stage two, he is ready for stage three which is the “pop-up breath.”

 

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim was the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com 

We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

 

, , , , , , , , , , , ,
November 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm Comments (0)

How to Teach Breath Control to Infants and Toddlers

The goal of today’s blog is to give you insight on teaching breath control to infants and toddlers, including how and when to teach it and why and when you should leave the activity and come back to it on another day.

First of all, at Swim Lessons University, we strongly recommend that instructors wear goggles while teaching breath control to infants and toddlers.   NEVER do consecutive dips if the child is not happy and getting his or her breath between dips.   You can see earlier breath control videos where we only did one or two dips with Rex because that is what he was ready for, and he wasn’t ready for three or more.  Each dip should be  an individual attempt to successfully get the air exchange.  The bottom line is to stay child-focused, and avoid “one more dip” for the sake of doing it.  So how do you know if you should do another one dip?   Your young students facial expressions, body language, and obvious level of comfort will answer that question every time.

Whatever you do–DON’T FORCE a dip when infant or toddler is communicating “no,” or you find the task to be upsetting him, even if he has done it before!  This is precisely what causes “regression.”   Make no mistake about it, it is not uncommon for a child who has performed a skill in previous classes or even earlier in the same class to get upset.  If the infant or toddler is not up for the task at that point in time, let your experience do the talking and leave it alone until the next class.  Parents and instructor need to accept that and understand that it is no uncommon and okay.   When an instructor or parent pushes a skill on a young child “just because the child has done it before, you are setting the child up for more of the same or worse the next time you meet because you would be reinforcing a negative experience.  The result of pushing an activity on a child that is upsetting him for whatever reason, is he will often start to associate negative, unhappy feelings with the task at hand or even the pool all together.   That is a path that you don’t want to take.

As Mr. Roger’s used to sing:  ” I like to take my time, I mean, when I want to do a thing, I like to take my time to do it right.  I mean I just might make mistakes if I should have to hurry up, I like to take my time to do it right.”   Take Mr. Roger’s advice.  Take your time and do it right!

Here is a video of example of doing it right:)

For step-by-step information on how to teach infants and toddlers to swim, check out Swim Lesson University’s “Parent and Tot” Video Course.  This 90-minute video is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to teaching infants and toddlers to swim in a progressive, but child-centered environment.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

 

, , , , , , , , , , , ,
October 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm Comments (0)

Learn to Swim Progession for Infants and Toddlers, Stage Two

As the young toddler demonstrates his confidence is increasing, he is becoming more relaxed in the swim, and his kick is beginning to provide some propulsion, it is time then to move to Stage Two of the Surface Swim progression.  This stage will help take his level of competence to another level.  This doesn’t happen overnight, and be prepared to give plenty of child-focused practice opportunities in all stages of learning, always putting the child’s happiness and willingness to perform the skills FIRST.

“CHILD HAPPINESS FIRST–TASK MASTERY SECOND!”  All Swim Lessons University Instructors are trained using this philosophy as the cornerstone of success for the child first, and the program second.  At SLU, we believe toddlers and young children can learn to swim and be safer in the water without a forceful, negative approach.  The approach can be progressive, but children should progress at their pace so they not only learn to swim, but that they learn to both respect and love the water.  Now back to Stage Two…

During Stage Two as seen in the video below, you can see that the INSTRUCTOR GOES UNDERWATER HIMSELF wearing goggles so he can  OBSERVE THE TODDLER EVER SO CLOSELY.   The moment the toddler appears that he is ready to come up for a breath (in this case the 24 month old lifts his head on his own), the instructor calmly and gently assists him so that he can easily get his breath, avoiding the chance of him taking in any water.   This is Stage Two and plenty of time should be spent on it before moving to Stage Three where we introduce the “Pop up Breath.”  Since this child demonstrated he is capable of lifting the head for a breath after swimming with the face down for several seconds, this is a great indicator he is ready to move to Stage Three and learn the Pop-up Breath.   If the instructor needs to assist the child from the face down position, it may be better to continue with stage two since he simply may not be physically strong enough or skilled enough to start on stage three.

I sure hope this video and blog help you and or your staff!  But please know these are just glimpses of the footage and instruction you will see in the 2nd Edition of the new Parent & Tot Instructor Training DVD

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , ,
September 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm Comments (0)

Learn to Swim Progression for Infants and Toddlers, Stage One

At Swim Lessons University, we take infants and toddlers through a child-focused, individual and naturally paced progression. Here is Stage One of the “Surface Swim,” where you can watch me help 21-month old, Saylor get comfortable with this first step in the learn to swim process.


There are two topics that are critical that I would like to point out:

First watch how I go under water, wearing my favorite Finis goggles, and keep my eyes on Saylor’s face to ensure she is happy throughout the process. I never let her go, nor do I take her under the water. Humans swim at the surface. Therefore, when you introduce swimming to young infant and toddlers, it is especially important that you avoid taking them under the surface or and avoid dunking them. You gently place the face in the water after giving a 1-2-3 start command.

Secondly, watch how I bring Saylor up for air as soon as I sense she is ready. Don’t overstay your welcome. Their facial expressions and their body language tells you everything you need to know in order to keep the task child-focused.

Once your student becomes comfortable enough with stage one, you take them to stage two where you actually let them go and let them propel themselves through the water. Nevertheless, you are underwater with your goggles on and ready to help them to the surface as soon as you see they are ready. All three stages can be found in Swim Lessons University’s  comprehensive video course for training and certifying swimming instructors, “Parent and Tot” – How To Teach Toddlers to Swim.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

 

, , , , , , ,
September 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm Comments (2)

Swim Equipment for Teaching Toddlers in Swim Lessons

Somewhere between 19 months and 2.5 years of age, toddlers can learn to kick independently (continue “touch supervision”).  At Swim Lessons University, we found that combining a flotation device like the Swim Ways Power Swimmer and a SUPER SIZED Noodle (the fat ones), toddlers and young children will have a better opportunity to be successful and start learning how their kick technique will not only balance them, but it will propel them around the pool.

If you are holding them all the time, they can’t learn this independence, which we feel is critical to taking that next step toward efficient swimming.  The flotation equipment also affords the young swimmers to kick properly.  In other words, without the flotation they are likely to start picking up some bad habits and as they resort to a bicycle type of kick.  This can be a hard habit to break.  Again, we strongly recommend once young children start kicking independently that you continue to provide “touch” or “arms length” supervision in the event they lost their balance or slipped off the noodle.  You want to be right there for both safety reasons and to ensure their experience is a good one!

I hope you enjoy this video on teaching infants and toddlers to swim:

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , ,
September 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm Comments (0)

Fear of the Water or Stranger Anxiety?

Swimming Instructors and parents alike often mistake Stranger Anxiety with Fear of the Water.  According to child psychologists, the child is likely thinking something like, “I don’t know who you are or what you want from me, so I’m sticking close to Mom.”

According to Dr. Avelet, a contributing writer for Parent Magazine, “Fear of strangers is a healthy, protective fear — children should not go to people they don’t know.”  Of course this is a downside for a child’s first few swimming lessons.  According to Dr. Talmi, children should be given plenty of time to get to know someone before expecting her to interact and be friendly to them.   This certainly includes a new swim instructor.

I think it’s important that we, as Learn-to-Swim Professionals, help parents understand this.  I can’t tell you how many times in my career I have heard parents say, “I don’t understand, he loves the water.  Or she loves to swim.   Or the parent says to the child:  what’s wrong with you?  You love to swim in our pool!”

As LTS Professionals, we have to intervene as quickly as possible and let the parent know this most likely a case of stranger anxiety, not swimming pool anxiety, and it will go away.   We just need to give her some time.  I want you to stay by your child’s side as we interact today and maybe even next time.   The key is that we give her as much time as she needs.

As you, the parents, and possibly your other students model friendly behaviors, the fearful child will naturally warm up to you and the new situation.   For more on helping children overcome their fears, check out the Swim Lessons University audio program From Tears to Cheers.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
August 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm Comment (1)

Infant Swimming Philosophy on WIS-TV

WIS New Anchor Dawndy Mercer Plank interviews Jim Reiser, The Swim Professor, about swimming lessons for infant and toddlers.
wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |

* please note that the video taken is not a Swim Lessons University or Swim Lessons Company program. It is random footage that WIS pulled to use as a visual.

, , , , , , , , ,
July 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm Comments (0)

« Older Posts