Blog - Swim Jim


December 2009 Newsletter

SwimJim Family,

Below are several of our articles that can be found in our monthly newsletter.  If you would like to be added to our E-mail list, please send an E-mail to and place “E-mail List” in the subject line.

Have a great holiday and we hope to hear from you soon!

SwimJim, Inc.


Natural Rest

The events of the past year have created a high level of stress for many people.  Holiday time can be stressful in the best of years and maybe more so now.  Stress in our lives activates our fight or flight mechanisms causing the release of adrenaline in the body but often without a way to use it.  Over time this leaves us feeling fatigued and depleted.  Getting a good amount of rest can help relieve the effects of stress but unfortunately high levels of stress often make it difficult to sleep.  We may find that we can’t let our minds slow down at the end of the day or if we are able to go to sleep easily we may wake during the night with a busy mind and be unable to go back to sleep.  The harder we try the more elusive sleep becomes in a vicious circle that finds us increasingly tired and more stressed.  Exercise is an important ingredient in a routine to relieve stress.  Through regular exercise our bodies are able to process and reduce the high levels of adrenaline, relieving tension and aiding in more restful sleep thus breaking the cycle of stress and fatigue.   Swimming is an excellent full body exercise activity that strengthens and stretches while providing fun and relaxation at the same time.  These are all important elements in stress relief and can lead to improved sleep.

In addition to exercise, there are healthy sleep habits that can lead to more restful sleep, reducing stress levels.  In our wired world we are no longer tied to our circadian rhythms linked to light and dark which establish natural sleep patterns.  We can respect and help reestablish those rhythms through mimicking dusk at the end of the day.  By dimming lights in rooms and on screens several hours before going to bed we allow our minds to process the slowing of the end of the day.  It also helps to transition from the activity of day to the quiet of night before getting into bed.  Try a pre sleep ritual to slow down.  This might include a warm salt soak, lighting a candle for softer light and listening to soothing music in place of watching TV or staying on the computer until you are ready to hit the pillow.  Creating a clean, quiet bedroom space that is separate from work space is also helpful.  If you do wake during the night it is better to get up and go to another room, have a cup of tea or read quietly until you again feel sleepy.

Natural Rest offers an additional tool to aid in experiencing restorative sleep.  Developed by veteran massage therapist Bonnie Stetson, Natural Rest is a therapeutic aromatherapy massage treatment designed to specifically address stress reduction and the connection to restorative sleep.  Bonnie has created unique essential oil blends using the medical aromatherapy principle of the synergistic action of like oils that work through absorption and inhalation in concert with client tailored therapeutic hands on work to calm, ground and relax, creating a pre sleep state.  A take away vial of the oil can be used at home for inhalation to reconnect to the massage state when preparing for sleep.   Natural Rest also offers a blend of infused oils only for pregnant and nursing mothers.   This massage technique can be a compliment to or an alternative to sleep aids.  If you use a sleep aid be sure to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your current routine.  If you would like more information about Natural Rest please contact Bonnie Stetson, LMT at 917-375-5435 or  Sweet dreams.


Swimming Is More Than A Sport

No one will argue with the benefits of increased safety when learning to swim.  However, the benefits of learning to swim with SwimJim expand far beyond the reach of just safety.  Albeit, safety is our primary goal, we teach learn to swim through a modality that achieves so much more with regards to teaching positive attitude, self-discipline, tender self-soothing, goal setting and determination.

Whatever we engage our children in, if we bring a promise to getting them to practice, then part of the lesson begins through example alone.  And with the commitment from the SwimJim staff to your children, through repetition and teaching focus on specific techniques, mind body awareness also improves, that includes spatial awareness and coordination; all of which will benefit your child in any activity they choose.

SwimJim chooses its staff and gears its entire program with precision to technique, commitment to excellence, and a dedication to focus always taught with a cheery disposition.  These are all attributes that when used with gentle guidance to children at an early age influences the emotional growth and well being of its students years to come.  Creating the path now and the foundation to commitment to excellence and dedication will serve your children in all endeavors years to come.

So when thinking about improving just safety alone with each lesson is very near-sighted.  Every time you walk through SwimJim’s doors you are improving a methodology of self-discipline and dedication to a goal, as well as teaching your child that all of that can be achieved while having fun.


The Social Child

Athletics and swimming are obviously an important part of your child’s development.  It improves coordination and language translation into kinesthetic movement.  It boosts self-confidence and most importantly it teaches your child how to be safer in the water through safety skills and practice.  But when a child achieves each milestone mark varies as much as the color blue.

Our classes at SwimJim are arranged in a manner that allows for children to be put in a level that is appropriate for their development however, still allows them the variance to learn from other children.  Toddlers progress huge leaps and bounds in physical achievement the moment they see other children participating in actives that they want to do.

Any parent who has more than one child knows that often the second or third child will often progress in certain skills at a faster rate than their older sibling.  Simply enough because the younger child looks up to and watches their older sibling’s every move mimicking their movements and actions.  Peer interaction can create the same response in friends or even strangers.

The curriculum is diverse enough whereas one child might be a better back floater and the other child might be a better breath holder and still a third might be better at gross motor movements.   Put the toddlers together and certain skills that they once believed to be too difficult or scary is put into context just by watching the children around them.

Privates are available for a child with special needs, developmental delays, or simply needs more attention struggling through one certain skill, as well as the child whom excels extremely rapidly.  However, always consider the benefits of the group lesson to teach the child peer socialization and growth through visual learning.

SwimJim offers privates and group lessons for all levels from babies to adults.


Parent’s Fear vs. Child’s Fear

Overcoming the fear of water can be a daunting and difficult task.  This is true for all ages however parents have the choice to make this an easier process for their children especially if the fear as actually their own.  Now, it is true that some kids should come with a warning label and have no fear and can almost be mistaken for having a death wish.  But more often than not children whom fear the water are really expressing the fear that parents have instilled in them.  Fear is commonly and unconsciously taught to children by parents’ actions, language and projections of their own fear.

We see in many classes parents who react to certain activities for example holding the child higher out of the water to keep their children’s face away from the interface, or grabbing them quickly when they approach the wall, or even preventing submersions all together.  The belief is to keep the child comfortable, which in turn is preventing the exact action we are trying to teach:  children can be comfortable and safe in and under the water through baby swimming lessons, breath control, and awareness.

Parents must recognize if their own fear is effecting and playing a role in their child’s development.  Of course when teaching safety to children, comes teaching responsibility and a healthy respect for the pool, once that is established comfort and fun can be experienced while a parent can relax because they know their child is relaxed and safer in the water.

Allow your child to dunk underwater.  Take a deep breath and blow bubbles simultaneously as you work with your baby.  Your body will relax as so will your child’s body.  Give them the time to learn how to support their own weight as they are holding on to the wall.  Allow them to climb out of the pool on their own by letting them struggle a bit with it at first.  Carry your infant closer to the water’s interface getting them comfortable with that sensation of the water around their face, ears, and mouth.  Sometimes a parent’s fear will diminish when you see your child feeling comfortable and having fun in the water as well.

Take pleasure in the lessons.  The SwimJim staff is trained and knowledgeable, follow their actions and trust.  But most of all relax and enjoy swimming with SwimJim is always supposed to be fun.