Swim Lessons. This is a topic that absolutely needs to be discussed. We’ve all read the horrific warning posts of parents who experienced the tragic accident of a drowning and many more who were able to come out alive. Drowning is the number one cause of death from age 1 to 4 and the number two cause of death through age 13. Swimming, especially in a location like Florida filled with lakes and pools, is a skill that could save your child’s life.
With all of that information, I knew we needed to be open to swim lessons. But we also practice gentle parenting in our house. Every day we make a conscious effort to practice a very gentle style of parenting. We focus on setting clear boundaries, especially for safety, but also often follow a Montessori approach for learning and an attachment style of parenting.
So, how do you be a gentle parent and survive some of the life saving or sanity saving aspects of life? It can be a difficult part of parenting to navigate for any family, especially things like swim lessons. They often NEED them, and sometimes they don’t like them. So what do you do then?
I realized we needed to make a decision when we met a friend at the pool and Elodie was consistently running away from me and trying to jump into the deep end of the pool. She was 22 months old and I realized it was definitely time for her to learn some swim basics immediately, for her safety and my sanity. My anxiety about her running away from me and if I could get to her quickly enough was just too much. I knew it was not sustainable to allow her to continue that way. Also, I didn’t really know what to do to help her quickly on my own.
I had done some research on local places last year so I knew that Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) is a popular self-rescue technique of learning to swim. It usually consists of daily swim lessons for about 6 weeks and the child can float and rescue themselves at the end. I also know that many people who practice gentle parenting are willing to do this type of swim lesson. Although kids can cry a lot and have a hard time, especially with a pool in the yard the benefit far outweighs any other issue for many. That makes sense to me. But the thought of these costly swim lessons and driving back and forth for short 10 minute lessons daily for 6 weeks just seemed extremely daunting. For reasons like health, other kids, or work, I could see this would be a challenge for many families.
So I sought out some other options and found a local woman who does swim lessons, Swimming with Staci. I was incredibly impressed with Staci. She’s a special education teacher and certified swim instructor and she provided the perfect balance of care, love, skill and education and in just 5 days of lessons. This style of swim lesson worked extremely well for our family.
Here are some tips on things to ask a swim instructor in order to find a swim lesson style that work for you:
1. How often are lessons?
2. How many lessons will need to be completed and what skill can you expect at the end of the lesson?
3. How does the instructor handle a child crying?
4. How is the parent involved?
5. What are the costs for lessons? Are there any discounts available? (For example, it may be more budget friendly for you to drive to them versus them coming to you.)
As a mom who practices gentle parenting at home, I just went in with a mindset of that I knew our limits. I knew when I would have to say we needed a break or there was too much crying – and we actually never got there! Also, I loved that Staci included us in the instruction and gave us skills to continue to work on our own at home.
Elodie is very strong willed and resisted some of the lesson part of things and she definitely cried. But I knew that her crying was a communication that she did not want to do this work. But I also knew that this work was extremely important and life saving for her. So I encouraged her to keep going as I acknowledged what she was communicating through her crying or complaining. Also, I chose a swim instructor who I knew would also do this for her and that helped a lot. In the video below, you will see that Staci gently sings and talks her through this learning, gives her play breaks and is very positive and encouraging throughout it all! Those parts were imperative for me.
This is not a sponsored post but I absolutely loved working with Staci and highly recommend her services if you’re local to the Orlando, Florida area.
I asked Staci to complete a short interview with me and below you’ll find that information.
Hey Staci, can you tell us a little more about how you got into swimming instruction and why you’re passionate about it?
“I started in the aquatic industry back when I was 18 years old. Although I don’t remember, at two years old, I was sitting on a pool chair waiting for for my mother as she was assisting my brother put on a towel. I wandered back into the pool without any knowledge of what to do. She ended up finding me on the bottom of the pool, unresponsive. If she didn’t know what to do I wouldn’t be here giving you this interview today. Additionally, my child fell into the water when he was 18 months old, fully clothed with shoes on. He had just completed his swimming lessons and was able to successfully save himself. It was a feeling I could not describe, from fear to absolute enlightenment. My son saved his own life.
As an educator myself I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, and with any subject or aspect of life, education is something you could never take away from a child. Drowning is the leading cause of death of ages 1 to 5 as well as a silent killer and giving a child the knowledge to save their own life to be is priceless. Door locks, alarms, and pool gates are extremely important for safety around the pool, however, as we all know, things can break or malfunction. What cannot break or malfunction is education. Give your child the education they need to fight in any situation, and you have given them the gift that keeps on giving.”
What “style” swim lesson do you offer? How long, how often and what skills can parents expect their child to have at the end?
“My style of lessons is that of a five consecutive day program. My belief is that the continuity of the five days allows the child to grasp onto the skills. If you teach a new skill once or twice a week, it’s like starting all over. At the end of the five days your child will learn how to be able to independently swim to the wall or the steps by kicking their feet and be able to grab onto the wall and reach up but most importantly, if your child falls into a pool – how to find the wall closest to them. I also teach more advanced classes. From swimming technique to breathing techniques, my advanced five day program slows for distance swimming while being able to take a breath.”
What ages do you work with?
“I teach ages from 10 months to senior citizens. Yes! I teach adults too! Many adults have lived with this fear their whole life, and I am here to help them through it.”
How can a family who is interested in working with you get in touch with you?