The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

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Teaching Infants & Toddlers to Swim: Training Your Staff

     If you are anything like me, you are always pursuing not only better ways on how to teach babies to swim, but now to train your swim teachers to teach babies to swim.  If you have seen my Parent and Me 101 DVD, How to Teach Toddlers to Swim and to be Safer in and around the Water, you have a good idea of how to teach infants and toddlers to swim.  This is how we have been doing it  for the past three years.   

     Dr. Michael Seaman, Ph.D. and Associate Dean of Education at the University of South Carolina had his 2 year old in the program and commented:  “Your techniques have been invaluable both in terms of putting my son, Trent, at ease in the water and bond as a father and son as we learn together.  I have watched Trent’s improvement with a great deal of pride.”

     He was in my class so I am very proud of his comments.  My goal as a business owner though is to make sure I get the same kind of comments on each and every one of my swim instructors.  Therefore, I constantly develop and improve our swim teacher training systems. 

     My current improvement is a new DVD called TEACHING BABIES BETTER.  I am currently editing this video so that it will be available to you and my teachers before the holidays.  

     You probably agree that teaching swim teachers to teach Parent & Me classes is one of the most challenging tasks we have. 

     Why?  Not only do our new swim teachers have to teach a delicate infant or toddler, the teacher is also instructing parents. 

     In many cases, the parents are older than the teachers, so it’s extremely important to me that my new teachers are thoroughly prepared, that they are confident, and that they do it the same way I would do it. 

  • That means revisiting what matters most.
  • That means exposing my teachers to ways I’ve improved my classes in the past three years.

     So I created a class of three students:  1 year old, an 18 month old, and a 2.5 year old.  We videotaped the session from both above and under water.  And I have just finished highlighting 22 Ways to Improve Your Infant Toddler classes based on my most recent and cumulative experiences.

     I would like to share with you a few examples (but you have to see it on video):

  1. DON’T DUNK’EM!  Do use a soft, gentle dip with minimal up and down movement during breath control exercises. 
         In this segment, you will get to “see” how gentle, how subtle, how shallow this technique should be performed.  Nothing about this technique is abrupt and nothing about this technique looks like a “dunk” BUT the baby is learning the air exchange and learning to enjoy facial immersions.   You will see this technique from both above and underwater, in both real time and slow motion.  
  2. LISTEN TO BODY LANGUAGE AND FEEL NON-VERBAL CUES AND YOU WILL ALWAYS KNOW “WHEN” AND “WHEN NOT” TO PROCEED. 
         You will get to witness real live examples of when I chose NOT to immerse an infant or toddler because of the body language communication I was interpreting.  What’s very interesting is that this can be and was with a child who was already comfortable with facial immersions BUT wasn’t ready at that moment in time.  From this video example, teachers can learn how to prevent a happy baby from becoming an upset baby nearly every time.
  3. PROVIDE JUST ENOUGH SUPPORT SO THAT THE CHILD CAN SAFELY AND SUCCESSFULLY PERFORM THE SKILL, WHILE USING A CHILD-CENTERED PROGRESSION THAT ALLOWS FOR SKILL MASTERY. 
         In this segment, you will see how to determine the amount of support to use to allow the infant/toddler to successfully perform the skill, but while also allowing for a child-centered progression that allows for skill mastery.

I hope this helps you a little, but for now I have to get back to editing the new DVD that is going to help your staff and mine– ALOT!

     By the way, if you would like to save 20% you can pre-order the Teaching Babies Better DVD now by calling me toll free at 1-866-498-7946!  Once it’s complete and posted on the website, it will retail at $29.99.  Also, check out my new, very reasonable introductory rates for my One-on-one Phone Consultation Service.   Look forward to helping you!

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October 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm
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