The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

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).

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

Infant Swimming Goals, Expectations, & Reality

A Parent writes after having taken 8 lessons (4 hours of instruction with her 15 month old):

My 15 month old son and I just took the parent and me class with Coach M.   Each day was a repeat of the same thing we had done each day prior. I guess my point is to ask you, what were we supposed to be doing in class, and what is the most you can get out of the parent and me class? My son is extremely active, strong, and very comfortable with water.  Is familiarity with water the only thing we were supposed to achieve, or was there more? Again I am not trying to complain, I really just wanted an answer if you have the time. I appreciate it.

Thank you,

C.P.

Dear C.P.,

It is hard to give a true assessment without seeing your class… But here are my thoughts:

Yes, the routine shouldn’t change. Children need that consistency in approach to make progress because not only of their age, but also because the improvement depends on practicing that particular skill.  For example:   It’s like deciding you’re going to be a runner, but then instead of running to get in shape for the marathon you start playing tennis.   Do you see what I mean?  Like running, in order to learn the skill of swimming, you need to run, run, and run some more, and you won’t be ready for that marathon in 4 hours.  You can think of many other examples.   Here’s one more:  You want your child to learn to play your favorite song on the piano.   If he’s going to learn to play that song, not only will he need to practice that song often and regularly, he will need to repeat a variety of exercises to help him achieve that goal.  And yes, it will take longer than 4 hours of instruction.  Learning to swim is no different.

Now let’s talk about the skills we are teaching in Parent & Tot.   There are progressions for every skill, but as teachers we have to make a judgment on whether or not the child is ready for the next step in the progression. At 15 months, it may take several weeks before we determine the child is ready to take that next step and you CAN’T force it.  IF we do,  we take the chance of going backwards and turning the child off to the lesson all together.

For instance, if the Coach M. tries to do three dolphin dips (breath control exercise) even though the toddler’s body language, facial expressions, etc. are saying “no” then she could cause the child to regress instead of progress, and potentially create a negative experience. If the child appears ready for the third dip, then Coach M. should do it.  I can’t say either way without seeing it, but Coach M. knows her job and she has taught hundreds of toddlers to swim.

The same goes with the back kicking, surface swim with the  face in the water, and the safety skills. They are repeated every lesson. They have to be if the child is going to improve on it, but within each skill, there is a progression that the instructor has to determine whether or not to go the the next step of the progression, based on the child’s readiness–NOT the instructor’s or parent’s desire to advance them.  At 15 months, it is a great time to start developing all these skills, and the skills and activities MUST be repeated in order for the child to improve them.  Children are limited to what they can do by their age, experience, and motor development. Here is a blog I wrote that may help in determining what skills toddlers are “capable” of mastering, but each child is unique, and each child needs to be treated as an individual.  There are so many factors in addition to age that go into the process of whether or not a child is ready to move on in a skill progression.  And that is what our instructors are trained to do.

I do think Coach M. is a great teacher.  I can’t say with certainty whether or not your son should have accomplished more or not.   It may or may not be a case of high expectations or it may be a case where Coach M. took a more conservative approach based on what she felt was best for your son.   I do know Coach M. would do just that.   I look forward to talking to you more.

SwimmingSafercerely,

Coach Jim

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).

 

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June 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm Comments (0)

Back Floating Babies

First off, we NEVER float babies against their will. It’s simply not worth turning them off to the water, which is most often the result when you take the enjoyment out of the learn-to-swim experience. If you do stay child-focused, most infant and toddlers will take to it.  Children can learn other potentially lifesaving skills too, like getting back to the side of the pool if they fell in the water, which doesn’t require them to be on their back.   We think it is so important that swimming instructors are not overly aggressive or insistent that a child masters a particular skill.   At this young age, children should be closely supervised at all times no matter what, and there should be numerous layers of protection when it comes to water safety.  If parents can make sure their toddlers stay off a busy street, they can also ensure they don’t end up in a swimming pool without supervision.

At Swim Lessons University, our Certified Swimming Instructors introduce back floating and kicking using a “cheek-to-cheek” support with the child’s head on the parent’s shoulder.  In this first video, I want you to notice how I use the “cheek to cheek” hold and put my student Rex in a nice horizontal body position.  On the other hand,  my other student Kamryn is not very horizontal nor is she feeling her body’s buoyancy.  Now this is MY RESPONSIBILITY to correct.  I need to a better job teaching Kamryn’s father to get her in a horizontal position like Rex so she too can feel the water floating her.  Take a look:

I always stress that the best hold is the one that gives the student just enough support to be successful.

Within in a few weeks, you can progress to what I am doing in this next video IF the child is ready.  This is Baby Rex’s very first time floating without my support. I think it is critical for the safety of the child that you don’t allow water to continue to get on the face, in the mouth, etc. If that is occurring frequently, not only do you starting taking the fun out of it, but you are also putting the child at risk. Notice how closely I watch Rex’s face and the water, and as soon as it appears he is going to try and sit up or that his body position is going to cause water to get on the face, I resume my support, sit him up, and praise him.

With continued practice and instruction, this skill will naturally improve.  Don’t expect it all at once.  And don’t be surprised if there are days when your student doesn’t want to be on his/her back at all.   Stay child-focused and keep the experience positive.   About two weeks after the above video was shot, Rex kicked on his back all the way around a small lazy river (probably about 35-50 yards) in Myrtle Beach’s Dune’s Village Water Park because HE WANTED TO!   I just walked with him and enjoyed watching him have fun with it.   The next day, however, he didn’t want to be on his back at all (to my surprise), until he saw his 3.5 year old brother kicking on his back!  And BINGO…Rex wanted to do it too!  And he did.

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).

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June 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm Comments (0)

Learn-to-Swim Objective for 12 Month Old

Far too often, parents discontinue swim lessons too soon. On the other hand, other activities such as gymnastics, t-ball, dance, and soccer take their place. While I certainly support “well-rounded” children and encourage all types of healthy physical activity, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that children become competent at the swimming skills they are capable of achieving at different ages.

For example, while we don’t expect a twelve month old to swim across the pool yet, a twelve month old can be developing the prerequisite skills in his swimming lessons so he can swim across the pool by age 3. Without developing these skills in swim lessons now, swimming across the pool will only be more difficult to achieve, and certainly delayed. What comes easy to a 1-year old (facial immersion and breath holding for example) is much more difficult for a three or four year old if you wait or stop lessons.

Here is Baby Rex at 12 months of age

 

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To illustrate what six to seven months of lessons per year (not year-round) can do for your little one, I will continue to post videos of Rex so you can see what can be achieved with a commitment to swimming instruction.

PLEASE NOTE: No objective or benchmark should ever be achieved because we (swim instructor or parent) want the child to achieve it, rather, when the child is developmentally ready to achieve it. Enjoy the journey. Stay child focused. AS a result, your student/child will develop a lifelong love affair with the water, as well as become a safer swimmer. That is what Swim Lessons University is all about.

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).

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May 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm Comments (0)

How to Teach Back Floating to Infants and Toddlers

I am going to combine this blog with some helpful video clips from our YouTube Channel.

In the first video clip on teaching babies to swim on their back, I want the viewer to notice how I use the “cheek to cheek” hold and put my student Rex in a nice horizontal body position relative to my other student Kamryn.  Now it is MY RESPONSIBILITY as the instructor to correct it, but notice how Kamryn’s body position is almost diagnal, and she is not feeling the water floating her. On the other hand, Rex is horizontal and he can feel the buoyancy of the water. In addition, he is also secure. I always stress that the best hold is the one that gives the student just enough support to be successful. I need to help Kamryn’s father do that for her as well.

First off, we never float babies against their will. It’s simply not worth turning them off to the water, which is most often the result when you take the enjoyment out of the learn-to-swim experience. If you do stay child-focused, most infant and toddlers will take to it, and you can do what I am doing here.

The second clip illustrates how the baby back kicking progression is working as you get to see Baby Rex’s four lessons later.  You get to see Baby Rex float for the first time without my support. I think it is critical for the safety of the child that you don’t allow water to continue to get on the face, in the mouth, etc.   If that is occurring frequently, not only do you starting taking the fun out of it, but you are also putting the child at risk.  Notice how closely I watch Rex’s face and the water, and as soon as it appears he is going to try and sit up or that his body position is going to cause water to get on the face, I resume my support, sit him up, and praise him.

I hope these two clips and descriptions help you.   For more on Infant Toddler Swimming, check out the Swim Lessons University  “Parent & Tot” Video Course, available on DVD as well as an Online Streaming option.

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).

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May 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm Comments (0)