After much research and learning that swim training is associated with an 88% reduction rate in risk of drowning in1-4-year-olds I knew I needed to sign Mattie up for swim lessons! I asked around to my local momma friends for their recommendations and I ended up signing her up for the Infant Self Rescue Classes with Swim Gym of Lakewood Ranch. Anyone who had their little one take these classes here was so passionate about them, they spoke SO highly of them, and said I wouldn't find a better class. The more I learned about what they teach during the ISR sessions it became more of a life-saving skill class vs a swim class to me, which in turn made the commitment and price not matter. See more below about our experience with these classes so far!
Our Experience With Infant Self Rescue Swim Lessons
Being a Florida mom drowning was always something that was in the back of my mind. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 4 and Florida is amongst the highest number of drownings. Our pools are open pretty much all year round here and if it's not the pool almost every neighborhood has some sort of tacky gator pond *I mean a beautiful body of water*. There are horror stories of kids drowning all the time.
My daughter has no concept of fear, which I'm to a point all about but it made being around bodies of water really hard. She would try and jump off the deep end with no idea she couldn't swim. While it wasn't that big of a deal when we were around to supervise but I knew if she ever got herself access to a body of water without an adult around she would be in trouble. As a toddler mom, I know that things can happen in LEGIT a split second, especially with sneaky toddlers. Swim Gym says " The reality is that most children do not drown because of a LACK of supervision, it is a LAPSE in supervision, and it only takes a momentary distraction for a curious toddler to get out of your sight." My daughter was 16 months old when I signed her up for Swim Lessons but they can start as early as 6 months.
Infant Self Rescue- 6-12 months learn roll-back-to floating. Babies first learn breath control and are then taught correct floating postures, and the skills to remain floating for varied periods of time, from varied positions in the water. Basically, it teaches the baby if they were to fall into a body of water how to flip themselves over to get air and float until they got help.
Kids 1 to 6 years learn to swim-float-swim. Your child will learn breath control and how to turn around in the water to secure the edge. They will then learn to swim through the water, rollback-to-float, and how to flip over to swim again...this sequence can be repeated until safety is reached. This swimming style is ideal for all children - not only for safety but for progression to strokes and more advanced swimming as they grow.
86% of children who fall into the water are fully clothed so ISR lessons incorporate some of the lessons to have the child fully clothed. This will prepare them for a real-life situation as the water feels different when your being weighted down by your clothes. Once a child is skilled, they will first practice in light clothing and progress to heavier clothes and shoes.
The ISR classes are M-F for a minimum of six weeks 10 minutes a day. Now, this originally turned me off because I was going to be pretty much driving an hour a day for a 10-minute class... I didn't fully understand what they could possibly teach her in 10 minutes. But that 10 minutes they spend with her is totally worth it. It's the perfect amount of time for her and she learns so much. Yes, every day also seems like a lot but really after you get through the first week it just becomes part of your routine and won't feel like as much work. It's now something we both look forward too everyday!
But It's Expensive...
It's not the cheapest class out there. Sure, you can find something cheaper out there but you won't be getting the value that the ISR classes offer. What they teach in this class is PRICELESS. You can't put a price tag on your baby's life. So while it might be something you need to plan/budget for it'll be worth it in the end. At the end of the day, this isn't just a silly swim class is a life-saving SKILL class. Parents won't bat an eye about spending 1K on the newest iPhone or investing in top of the line brand name clothing for their kids but don't want to let the funds go for this class. Having kids is expensive but investing in their safety shouldn't be something you skimp out on. It is money well spent! This is also a great thing to ask for instead of birthday/holiday gifts (do they really need more toys?).
Did She Cry?
Yup. I'm pretty sure the first week was harder on me than her though. It took her four days to not scream and by day 10 of class, she was SQUEALING with excitement ready to get into the water. Our instructor (shout out to Miss Anita) is amazing she made that first week as stress-free as possible and really worked on positive reinforcement to build up excitement for Mattie during the class. I won't lie my momma heart was ouchie that first week of class when my babe was crying for me to come get her out but honestly she does that when we are in the car too because she wants out of her carseat but do I take her out and let her run around in the back seat? Of course not! I knew she wasn't screaming because she was in danger or because she was hurt she was crying because it was a totally new space, a new person, and she was learning new things. The life skills she was learning outweighed her discomfort at that moment, of course as moms we all want to rush in and comfort our kids but sometimes we have to let them learn, this was one of those times. Once she figured out that it was a fun safe place and she learned the skill of holding her breath Swim Gym is her favorite place ever! Now on the weekends when we don't have swim class anytime we go anywhere she says "pool".
We are halfway through our six weeks & I can't even wait to see what she learns in the upcoming lessons! It's been so amazing as a mom to be able to watch her excel at swimming while learning lifesaving skills. These lessons are giving me such a priceless thing I can't express how grateful I am that she's able to take them! Here is a video of Mattie at 2.5 weeks into her lessons! Highly recommend Swim Gym of Lakewood Ranch if you are local to the Tampa Bay area!! It's truly been an amazing experience!
You can checkout Swim Gym of Lakewood Ranch on their website www.swimgymlwr.com or find them on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM
Happy Splashing, everyone!