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).

 

 

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

Swim Lesson Objectives

TOO MANY PARENTS THINK THAT WHEN THEIR CHILD CAN SWIM UNDERWATER THAT THEY DON’T NEED ANY MORE LESSONS!

Does your swim school experience this problem?   Of course it’s not only a problem for swim school business, it’s a very serious problem for the child’s safety.  I would like to share with you today a couple ideas I have when it comes to SWIM LESSON OBJECTIVES.

Number one, I have created a motivational awards bracelet system that includes a safety component: Water Safety System.

Number two, I have developed a set of Benchmarks/Swimming Proficiency Test Questions to help swim parents understand not only the importance of learning to swim, but what  children are capable of and should learn at a variety of given ages.  Here they are:

Would your child survive?

Only automobile accidents take more lives than drowning for children ages 1-14.   How well does your child swim?    Would your child survive an accidental fall into the water?

Can your child pass the following swim tests?

1 – 2 years olds: Can your child comfortably hold his breath and swim a short distance for up to 5 seconds?  Pass / Fail

2 – 3 years olds: Can your child get back to the side of the pool from a standing entry?  Pass / Fail

3 – 4 years olds: Can your child swim with the face in the water and get a breath when needed for at least 15 feet?  Pass / Fail

4 – 5 years olds: Can your child swim 30 feet of backstroke and freestyle with side breathing?  Pass / Fail

5 – 6 years olds: Can your child swim 25 yards of backstroke and freestyle with side breathing?  Pass / Fail

6 – 8 years olds: Can your child swim 100 yards using a variety of formal strokes?  Pass / Fail

Your child is capable of the above Swim Lessons University ™benchmarks.  Help reduce your child’s risk of drowning by helping your child achieve those benchmarks, using the Note & Float ™system, and following the “Safer 3!”

Learning to swim saves lives.  Give your child a life-time gift–teach him/her to swim!

Of course there are children who may accomplish these objectives earlier, and some who enroll later.  Nevertheless, this gives your new parents of young children especially a set of reasonable Swim Lessons Objectives or benchmarks for their child.

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August 11, 2010 at 1:26 pm Comments (2)