The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

How Long Does It Take to Learn to Swim?

How quickly can a child learn to swim? This is a complex question, and quite frankly, the wrong question. It is so important that we, as parents, allow learning to swim to be a natural, enjoyable process. One that is fun, rewarding, and stress-free! Children naturally start setting goals on their own, especially if they are learning in a class with their peers or if the instructor is encouraging the child in a positive, motivational manner.

It is critical that parents do not compare their child to the next, nor should any adults impose their goals on a child. Embrace the process, and let the child enjoy it. Learning to swim is a process, not an event. I understand that there is a financial motive to graduate a child from lessons as quickly as possible in some cases. But never forget that you are investing in a lifelong skill for your child. Look at the money, time, and commitment level we as parents will put into travel baseball, soccer, gymnastics, karate, etc. Look at the time and money dad puts into improving his golf game. When investing in swimming instruction, at the very least you are investing in a skill that your child will have his entire life for fun, safety, and fitness. At best, you are investing in the only sports skill that could save his life!

Like learning to read, your expectations should change based on your child’s age. What you get excited about your child reading in 1st grade would not be the same when he reaches 3rd grade. On the other hand, he may not be capable of 3rd grading reading in 1st grade. Learning to swim is no different. There are numerous considerations that affect not only a child’s progress and skill development, but determine whether it is even realistic to expect your child to master a certain skill or stroke:
1. Chronological Age
2. Motor Skill Development
3. Emotional Development
4. Cognitive Development
5. Physical Development
6. Practice time with a well-trained instructor (How many months a year? How many days per week?)
7. Unstructured swim time in the pool.

At Swim Lessons University, we want parents and instructors to understand what their children are capable of doing at a variety of ages for two reasons:
• To help keep the parents expectations realistic.
• To help the parents understand what their child is capable of learning.

The following Learn to Swim Objectives or Swimming Benchmarks can be generally achieved at the following ages,that the child is receiving professional instruction six to eight months out of the year (about 50 classes per year):

By 12 months old, infants/toddlers participating in Parent & Tot classes not only build comfort in the water, but they can begin learning the basic kicking skills, breath holding, breath control, and prerequisite skills to what will be instrumental to their progress over the next couple years.

By 18 months old, toddlers participating in Parent & Tot classes will continue to refine their skills. The skills they should continue to develop include the basic flutter kick, breath control, a Stage Two short surface swim with a progressive flotation vest (3-5 ft.), and the beginning progressions of the safety skills.

By 24 months old, toddlers can learn how to get back to the pool edge after entering the water from a seated position. IMPORTANT NOTE: This objective is possible IF the child has had the previous recommended instruction and experience, and has already mastered the 18-month old benchmark.

By 30 months old, toddlers can also learn to swim short distances (up to 10 feet) with their face in the water. IMPORTANT NOTE: This objective is possible IF the child has had the previous recommended instruction and experience, and has already mastered the 24-month old benchmark.

By 36 months old, young children can learn how to consistently get back to the edge of the pool from a jump. Young children at this age can also begin to learn the Surface Swim with a Pop-up Breath. IMPORTANT NOTE: This objective is possible IF the child has had the previous recommended instruction and experience, and has already mastered the 30-month old benchmark.

By four years old, young children are capable of swimming across most any residential pool, face in the water, while using the pop-up breath to get their air. IMPORTANT NOTE: This objective is possible IF the child has had the previous recommended instruction and experience.

By five year old, children are capable of swimming the length of most any residential pool using formal swim strokes like freestyle (front crawl) and backstroke. IMPORTANT NOTE: This objective is possible IF the child has had the previous recommended instruction and experience.

By six years old, children are capable of learning advanced strokes such as butterfly, breaststroke, sidestroke, elementary backstroke, and even the skill of treading water. IMPORTANT NOTE: This objective is possible IF the child has had the previous recommended instruction and experience.

By seven or eight years old, children are capable of swimming 100 meters (4 lengths of a Jr. Olympic-sized pool), using any variety of strokes to increase their safety in open water situations (i.e., rivers, lakes, ocean). IMPORTANT NOTE: This objective is possible IF the child has had the previous recommended instruction and experience.

ONE LAST TIP! Encourage your child. Avoid comparing him to his classmates. Celebrate each accomplishment. Most importantly, provide positive reinforcement for “trying his best.” Teach him not to use the word “can’t,” and replace it with “I’ll try!”

 

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).

 

 

, , , , ,
July 3, 2013 at 7:17 pm Comments (3)

Learn-to-Swim Objective for 3-4 Year Olds

For three to four year olds, while we don’t expect a three year old to swim front crawl or freestyle with side breathing across the pool yet, a three year old can learn to swim distances any where from 15 feet up to 25 yards if parents continue to enroll their child in lessons with a quality swimming instructor and swim lessons curriculum.

During this time, the child will also be developing the prerequisite skills in his swimming lessons so he can swim the front crawl (freestyle) with side breathing and backstroke for distances between 30 feet to 50 yards by the time he is four or five years of age. On the other hand, if the young three or four year old isn’t developing these skills in swim lessons now, learning the strokes will be certainly delayed. The Front Crawl with side breathing and Backstroke will come MUCH EASIER to a four or five year old that has already mastered the Surface Swim with a Pop-up or Rollover Breath when they were three years of age. Mastering these skills will be much more difficult for the four or five year old who’s parent waited or discontinued lessons for other activities.

Here is Nolan, who just turned three years old. He was 37 months of age at the time of this video.

To illustrate what six to seven months of swimming lessons per year (not year-round) can do for your child, I will continue to post at least one more video of Nolan for another LTS Objective 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).

, , , , , , , ,
May 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm Comments (0)