1. Take swim lessons.
2. Never swim alone.
3. Swim only where there is qualified supervision. A supervisor should know:
b. First Aid
c. Rescue procedures
d. Have a cordless phone poolside.
4. Never leave toys in or around the pool when not in use.
5. Swim in pools where the water is clear and you can see the drain.
6. Follow pool rules:
a. No glass containers.
b. Dive only in designated areas.
c. No running.
d. No eating or chewing gum while swimming.
e. Wear a swim suit.
7. Use only Coast Guard approved flotation devices while boating and fishing. Do not substitute inflatable toys for adult supervision.
8. If someone is in trouble, find something that will float to throw, or reach out to the person … if nothing is around, YELL WHILE RUNNING FOR HELP!
9. Evacuate pool and deck at first signs of thunder or lightning.
10. Use layered protection:
a. Fences surrounding pools.
b. Self closing, self latching gates.
c. Dead bolts on doors leading to the pool.
d. Weight-bearing pool covers.
Demonstrate: Your instructor will show you what to do. Make sure you understand completely before trying it yourself. Doing it wrong can do more harm than good.
Repetition: Do it over and over again. You will get tired and possibly bored, but for your baby’s sake, make an extra effort. Practicing a skill helps reduce the fear of the unknown. PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT !
Praise is their reward. Make it sincere and from the heart. You want to accentuate the positive and ignore the negative. Let your child know you are proud of every task they attempt.
Be on time for swimming lessons. Give your child time to relax, observe other classes, and become familiar with the surroundings before class. Stay calm. Children can sense a parent’s anxiety.
SAFETY FIRST, LAST AND ALWAYS. Children need to learn and develop safe habits around the pool area and water. Children are not responsible and have little judgment ability. NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A CHILD. YOU MUST CONSTANTLY WATCH HIM/HER — Before, during and after class. Teach your child not to run around the pool area or throw objects into the pool. Refrain from allowing your child to play on the steps or pool walls.
Don’t over set YOUR goals for your child. It is better to reset them from time to time in order to be more realistic for both you and your child. Start out small, leave room for them to grow. Never show disappointment or scold for something not done to your expectations.
Give encouragement and be understanding. Be patient and keep trying. Swimming is one of the hardest things to learn, yet people tend to expect fantastic results with the least amount of learning time. Give help, love, and praise.
Crying: There are different degrees, and a certain amount of crying is expected from time to time. Don’t get upset. A little is OK, but a lot is not.
Don’t compare children! Let them progress at a pace that is right for them. They all have different temperaments and personalities.
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Ever wonder about what some of the details are that the SwimJim staff is teaching your children? This post will give you an insight to the MO of the Swim Jim program…
Balance in the water is a tricky endeavor. Especially balancing in a horizontal position either face down (prone), or face up (supine). All who have tried can agree it’s not as easy as it looks. The importance of a stable supine float is the foundation SwimJim utilizes to teach safer children. We teach children to stay calm, go to the surface and locomote back to the wall on their backs. The second reason for a stable horizontal float drastically improves a competitive swimmer. As a United States national team swimmer and two time Olympic gold medalist, I believe horizontal balance to be perhaps the most important skill I have developed to improve my technique. Floating on the surface with as little effort as possible, all strength and power is utilized for propultion and forward velocity.
Now how does one examine the human body and how to float on top of the water? First off a balanced body in the water is off set by two large hindrances. One, the lungs skewed to one side, and two, the center of mass skewed to the opposing side. Comparing the body to a see-saw the man on the right weighs much more than the man on the left especially when the man on the left acts like a giant balloon in the water (lungs). Now how do you balance that horizontally in the water? Well, with a very slight “flexsion” of the abs, like a gentle sit up, with absolutely no bending in the hips, one can “push” their lungs or center of buoyancy down into the water and transfer that energy to their feet keeping the legs afloat. It’s like pushing a ball down into the water, the ball wants to push back to the surface. Transfer that energy through a straight body down to the legs. Wrap your mind around that. Now try explaining that to a two or three year-old. Or even an infant. ???
SwimJim with their fun loving, kind, and relaxed instructors, we guide children to discover these skills themselves through patience, practice, fun songs and games. As a parent you can feel confident your child is getting the best and most advanced techniques in the swimming community. We put an enormous emphasis to quality and care.
Two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a co-author of the SwimJim curriculum-
GROUP praise gives encouragement. Group response serves as reinforcement and helps parents as well as the babies. It makes them feel as if they have really done a great thing — after all, this many people can’t be wrong! Your baby will see the Fun and Excitement of others around them (but only if it is there!). So praise each child proudly. You have a responsibility to the other babies as well as to your own.
Be flexible and let your baby be your guide. Try to work with your child, not against him/her. Ease into new tasks rather than forcing them. Encourage your child to try each task.
Be gentle use slow movements. Always be ready to cuddle after baby swimming lessons.
Keep a careful eye on your child that he/she isn’t “DRINKING” the pool. A drink of juice or water before class could eliminate this temptation.
Try to develop an atmosphere of just you and your baby while he/she is floating. Concentrate on what the two of you are doing. When other children are taking turns with the instructor, respond to the positive things other children do just as you would your own child.
Don’t ask baby if he/she WANTS to do something. Instead use a calm, friendly voice to inform him/her of what the next activity will be. Don’t hesitate. It causes confusion and makes baby unsure of what is going on. Your child will establish trust when we follow through with a task. Your instructor will discuss what comes next to eliminate any surprises. Trust is a must!
Younger babies are usually more relaxed, and respond more readily to holding their breath. They still have their “kicking” reflex and move more relaxed in the water. Parents are excited when their child learns breath control and go under the water without gasping and coughing. Often well meaning parents will submerge their children up and down vertically. This forces water up the child’s nose, creating extreme discomfort. Please allow the instructor to assist you child with horizontal submersions, creating happier, positive experiences .
Keep trying and don’t give up. Realize swimming takes time, practice, and patience.
Although a large part of my job is managing pools around Manhattan, training new instructors how to use our methodology to be the best they can be in the water with the wonderful kids we have the privilege of teaching and various other duties I have as a manager, when I am in the water with my students is when I am happiest.
No matter how bad of a day I might be having, no matter what is going on in my personal life, the bright smiles on the faces of the children in the water always, without fail, remind me of why I love my job, and the children I teach. Even on days when a few of them are very unhappy about being there, being able to help them through the lesson, and most of the time, cheer them up in the process, makes it all worthwhile. It reminds me that I am teaching a life skill, one that can save the life of a young child that someone loves and adores even more than we do. It reminds me that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children under 14. It reminds me that I am a role model and set an example for the children. And it reminds me of why I love children so much.
So here is a happy, happy swim day in the water with me.
3:00 a one year old that, at one point, would scream for the entire half hour. That same little girl now smiles and laughs the whole time all the while learning skills that might save her life one day. I had a part in that and I’m very proud of her.
3:30 a student that loves swimming with me and improves by leaps and bounds every week is home sick. Too bad… I spend that half hour watching the other students in the pool, enjoying their smiles and laughter with our other great teachers, remembering what it was like to be a kid and play in the water with the students on the table.
4:00 this child is swimming for an hour today, due to a makeup. They are very tired and really don’t want to be there today. So I try, with success, to make the lesson more entertaining than usual and keep things light and fun while still maintaining the level of learning for which we are so respected. When that hour is over, she is having so much fun learning flip turns, she does not want to get out. But, alas, I have another lesson to teach.
5:00 this little boy was terrified to even get in the pool a month ago, let alone put his face in the water and blow bubbles. But after four little lessons, he is excited about coming every week, blowing great bubbles underwater, floating with some success, and wanting to swim across the pool on his own.
This is why I love my job. Every day is an adventure. Every day brings a smile to my face. My wish is that everyone could be lucky enough to enjoy their job as much I do.