This month as record temperatures blaze through my homestate of North Carolina, all I’m thinking about is a cool refreshing pool. Like most parents, I look forward to trips to our local pool and to the lovely beaches of South Carolina where we’ll vacation this year. Dr. D. and I come naturally by our love of the water he as a native Floridian and me as a born and raised California girl. We were both toddlers when our parents introduced us to the joys of water.
So we knew early on that we wanted D2 to learn to swim early, as we did as children. But I struggled over what kind of swimming lessons to enroll D2 into.
First and foremost, I wanted D2 to learn to not be afraid of being in the water and to be able to save himself if he ever fell into a pool, lake or pond.
ISR’s mission is focused on ensuring not one more child drowns.
At work I happened to be chatting with my colleague Shirley who also has a toddler son. She raved about Infant Swim Self Rescue (ISR).
Highly-trained licensed instructors guide children as young as six months up to six years of age through a series of lessons designed to teach them how to save themselves if they ever fall into water.
Shirley gave me a ISR brochure and after scanning their website I was sold.
Our wonderful instructor Molly Day was everything I hoped she would be, kind and patient and exclusively focused on my child. Unlike other swimming lessons, ISR lessons are one-on-one.
Each lesson lasts 10 minutes in duration and is five days a week for an average of six weeks or until the child can competently complete the roll, float, swim sequence. Every child learns to hold his breath, swim with eyes open and look for the edge of the pool. Your tyke also learns to float and relax on his back to catch his breath until he is ready to start the sequence again.
For a really cool example of what the swimming sequence for infants and toddlers looks like click over here to see incredible videos. It’s nothing short of amazing.
The first few lessons can be bit hair raising as your tyke may cry from fear of the water, fear of a new teacher and just the newness of the pool. D2 cried quite a bit the first week or so but once he learned to trust Molly and gain confidence in the water, we could see how much he was enjoying himself.
One of the things I loved about Molly is she has infinite reserves of patience and is very intuitive about the individual needs of her students. This is important, because let’s face it, not every child is anxious to put his face in the water or float on his back. It can be scary.
Although lessons are short, they are intense engaging the child’s brain as well as body. I constantly marveled at how hard D2 worked in his lessons to master the parts of the sequence that Molly had him practice over and over.
Every effort was praised with a high-five and a “You’re Amazing!”
I choked up when I saw D2, fully clothed in winter gear, floating confidently on his back.
For his final two lessons, D2 had to complete the swimming sequence first in summer clothes (shirt, shorts, sandals) and then in winter clothes (polar fleece, long-sleeve shirt, jeans with sneakers and socks). As a parent you are thinking , “What in the world have I gotten my child into? How will he ever swim in soaking wet clothes?”
And then he does it!
Watching D2 complete the swim sequence in his winter gear was spectacular. I couldn’t have been a prouder mommy, watching my little guy float like a Navy Seal in the water. Indeed, he was awesome.
I am now a total Infant Swim Self Rescue convert and raving fan.
Stop me on the street and I’ll show you the seven-minute video of D2 swimming in winter gear and calmly floating on his back.
I count myself as one of many unofficial evangelists for this program. I believe Infant Swim Self Rescue is as critical potty training and teaching your children not to talk to strangers. It’s that important.
D2′s lessons are over now, but we’ll be back in the fall for maintenance lessons to keep his skills sharp.
Tell me, have you had you any experience with ISR with your children? If you are considering lessons for your kids and want more details about our experience, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
Wishing you a safe and happy summer swimming with your kids!