Saturday, March 9, 2019

How can I work on swimming skills with my child at home?

If you have read our first blog post: "How many lessons will it take for my child to learn to swim", you may already know that attending swim lessons more than once a week is better for kiddos to learn more efficiently; However, with busy schedules and sometimes not being within budget, twice a week or more is just not possible. So what are some ways you can work on swimming skills at home without having a pool? We have a few options below.  All of them are very important skills that most kids tend to struggle with. 

Infants/toddlers (6 months - 3 years old)
Abc Levels 1-3

  • Water comfort: Work on getting your child familiar with the feel of water on their face and head. In the bathtub, use a small cup filled with water and slowly pour the water over the head like a waterfall. Have them slightly tilt their head forward while pouring the water if they have a hard time keeping their mouth closed. They may cry for the first few times which is okay as it is a new feeling for them. Limit the number of times you pour the cup of water over their head to about 2 or 3 each time. Repeat this every 'bath time'.
  • Holding breath: They may not catch on to this right away but the earlier you start the better. Show them your deep breath in and closing your mouth to hold the air in for a few seconds. Make it fun by doing 'chipmunk cheeks'. Only hold breath for no more than 5 seconds at a time.
  • Blowing air: There are two ways they will need to know how to do this for swimming. Blowing through their mouth and also through their nose. Getting them to blow through the nose tends to be a challenge for most kids so this skill is really important to practice. The can practice blowing through the mouth by blowing out birthday candles, blowing a balloon around the room, blowing on mommy or daddy's hand, or blowing on food to cool it down. You can also show them how to do bubbles in a cup of water through a straw after they start to get the hang of it. To teach bubbles through the nose, fill a cup or a bowl with water and show them how to "hummmm" keeping the mouth closed. Then put the nose (or whole face) in the cup or bowl while doing a continuous "hummm". Make sure they are only doing this for about 5 seconds at a time and lifting the nose or head out of the water before they stop humming.
Children ( 3 years old and Up)
Abc Levels 3 - 6

  • Kicking: Working on proper kicks is very important. One way your kiddo can practice kicks is to have them lay on the floor on their tummy with their hands under their thighs and kick their legs up and down. Doing it this way forces them to keep their toes pointed like a ballerina or like they are tip toeing. Pointed toes are very important when kicking. Another way to practice is to have them lay on their back on their bed with the legs stretched straight out over the side of the bed and kick up and down with toes pointed. They should be kicking with straight legs and not bending the knees too much. Also, make sure they are keeping their head down on the bed and looking up at the ceiling instead of looking at their feet or legs. We want to avoid creating a bad head position habit.
  • Shoulder Rotation: Have your child practice 'windmill arms'. Standing straight with legs together, they should do one arm at a time and at a steady pace. Not fast. Make sure the arm comes all the way back staying close to their bodies. The upper arm should brush the side of their head/ear when coming up and then come down in a forward motion to touch the side of their leg keeping the arm relaxed but straight.

    Exercises For Building Muscle and Strength

  • Toe Raises
  • Push-ups 
  • Planking
  • Arm Circles 
  • Scissor Kicks 
  • Sit-ups

Thursday, June 28, 2018

"Dry Drowning" - No Such Thing, Know The FACTS

Most of us who spend time in the water are familiar with the risks of drowning, but what have we heard about “dry drowning?” This lesser known and somewhat confusing term has come up in recent reports, so we sat down with water safety and medical expert Dr. Linda Quan to get the facts straight.

What is a drowning? 

Dr. Quan: The medical definition of drowning is “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid.” This means that drowning happened only when there was some trouble breathing right after the submersion. If a person was in the water and had no breathing troubles after being rescued, then regardless of what happens later, the person did not drown.

To the average person, “near-drowning,” “dry drowning,” “secondary drowning” or “delayed drowning” sound pretty scary, but there are no medically accepted conditions that use these terms. Why?

Dr. Quan: The use of these terms is discouraged by many organizations, including The World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Red Cross.
Here are why these conditions don’t make sense and are not approved:
  • Near-drowning: Imagine using terms like “near burns,” “near cardiac arrest,” or “near car collisions.” To be clear about whether the victim died or lived after a drowning event, the terms that should be used are fatal drowning (died) or non-fatal drowning(lived).
  • Dry drowning: The terms dry and wet drowning were abandoned decades ago when the real culprit in drowning injury was not understood and was mistakenly thought to be about the amount of water entering the lungs. Drowning injury is actually caused by lack of oxygen.
The amount of injury from drowning is due to how long the victim is without oxygen.

  • Secondary drowning (also known as “delayed drowning”): The terminology was also used before drowning injury was understood, and before prehospital care and emergency departments could evaluate breathing with the sophistication they do now.

What should we watch for after a person was submerged and then rescued?

Dr. Quan: There are three possible scenarios you’ll want to keep an eye on.
  1. A child who, after exiting the water, is completely normal, with no symptoms, did not drown. If the child develops a cough, breathing difficulty, confusion or other concerning symptoms at any time, seek immediate medical attention.
  2. A child who has minimal symptoms (think sputtering and coughing after swallowing water down the wrong pipe at the dinner table) after being rescued that resolve quickly AND returns immediately to normal with no breathing difficulty, can be observed by an attentive caretaker. The child will typically either get better or worse within 2 to 3 hours. If the child develops coughing, breathing difficulties, sleepiness, or confusion, seek immediate medical attention.
  3. If after a water rescue, a child has an excessive or prolonged cough, fast or hard breathing, is not breathing normally, or is not “acting right,” seek immediate medical attention.
Drowning deaths do not occur due to unexpected deterioration of a person’s condition days or weeks later with no preceding symptoms. Brand new symptoms that develop days later are extremely unlikely to be related to the drowning episode. Importantly, the child should be evaluated for other conditions that might have caused the deterioration.
Bottom line: If your child has been in the water, and was breathing, walking and talking normally and then later gets worrisomely sick, the child needs be seen by a health-care provider immediately. But it is not drowning.
The most important way to “treat” drowning is to prevent drowning. What works are swim lessons, adequate supervision for children and adolescents, life jacket usage, 4-sided pool fencing, and swimming in areas where there is a lifeguard. Parents and those supervising others in the water should know water safety, be sure to adequately supervise children, be able to perform a safe rescue and learn CPR.
Those wanting additional information may reference the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council’s Q&A: Debunking the Existence of Dry or Delayed/Secondary Drowning.
To learn more about how to prevent drowning, visit and download the American Red Cross Circle of Drowning Prevention. For steps on how to respond to someone in trouble in the water, download the Chain of Drowning Survival.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

What If My Child Cries?


Crying children at the swim school is a daily occurrence. There are many different reasons why a child might cry. It may be a child’s first time away from mom or dad, or it may be a child’s first visit to to the pool. Children even cry because they do not want to get out of the pool. Whatever the reason we are here to help you.

If your child is apprehensive at first, please do not feel embarrassed or unwilling to follow through with your decision to have your child taught the life-saving skill of swimming. Also, if your child is under the age of three, they must start in a parent and me class with you first.

Please remember, it is more traumatic to drown than it is to learn how to swim. In fact, we see that the children who at first were apprehensive, are the ones who truly learn to love the water and their lesson. It is a huge boost to their self-confidence.


Please do not ask your child “Do you want to go swimming?” It is more effective to say, “Today we are going swimming.” It is best not to give them a reason to say no. If your child is fussing prior to swim lessons, walk your child out on the deck and hand them to the teacher. Then walk back into the clubhouse while expressing a happy and pleasant expression on your face. NEVER make a teacher chase your child or pry your child off of your leg. This will make the child try to fight more. By handing your child over to the teacher, you are telling them that you trust the teacher. The vote of confidence will help your child gain trust in the teacher more quickly. While-handing your child to the instructor, please avoid saying things like “Don't be scared,” or “you don’t need to be afraid” using words like “scary” and “afraid” will give them a reason to be just that.

When your child is in swim lessons sometimes they will realize you are not with them and burst into tears in a flurry of separation anxiety. If the parent is hovering over the side of the pool with tears in their eye's and a look of terror, it's almost inevitable that the child will lunge for the wall crying for their parent. This is a dramatic case of a parent equally anxious about their child in swimming lessons and just as scared as they are. Because you are the child’s parent they will gravitate to your mood and emotions and respond accordingly. Break eye contact or do something else.

Instead, stand confidently providing smiles, thumbs ups, waves and signs of encouragement whenever possible. Or read a book and enjoy the brief downtime you’ll have while your child is playfully and happily (behind those tears) participating in their lesson. The instructor may even ask you to wait out of sight and it is important to listen to the advice and allow them to do their job. After all, as much as you may think your child is the only one to cry during the new experience we assure you, they are not. Your instructor is fully trained and is counting on you to help them out. 

You should never be afraid to ask your instructor questions about anything you may not understand. They will be glad to answer them all, as many as you have. Your child will be swimming safely in no time! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

How Many Lessons Will It Take For My Child To Learn To Swim?

We get this question quite often. To a parent who may not know much about swimming let alone a child learning to swim, this sounds like a simple question but I can assure you, there is no simple, short, definite answer. So we have decided to break down the question and explain.....
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: This is for children who attend weekly 30 min private swim lessons all year round and do not have a fear of any kind about water or do not have any disabilities (learning or physical):
  • Children who start swimming lessons between the ages of 3 years old and 5 years old will take about one year to learn to be safe in the water (about 52 swim lessons).
  • Children older than 5 years old with no previous swimming experience will take about 6 months to one year to learn to be safe in the water (between 24-52 swim lessons).
With semi-private lessons, the process of learning to swim is slower.
The answers above are based on certain factors. Let’s take a look at the most important factors that come into play when learning to swim:
1. Consistency
Once kids begin the process of learning to swim, consistency is key. It is important to keep the lessons/pool visits consistent as much as possible and to not take long breaks from swimming until the child can swim independently. A consistent swimming schedule allows for muscle memory to form and keeps the progress going. If your child gets sick, give them the appropriate time to recover, then resume swimming as soon as possible. Taking breaks from swimming (e.g. during the winter months) will set back the learning process, as the child will have to acclimate with the water or relearn previously learned skills upon resuming swimming.
2. Frequency
Most parents opt for having their children swim once a week due to busy schedules or financial aspects – in this case, it’s important to keep the lessons consistent. Swimming twice a week allows for great progress and helps children learn faster. Additionally, practicing with your kid is a great way to help them learn faster and increase their confidence in the water. There are many things kiddos can do at home to practice their skills even without water. If your coach gives your child 'homework' you should really try to set aside some time to work on whatever they assign your child.
3. Fear
Children who are introduced to the water at an early age and in a positive manner are more likely to develop a love for the water and not be afraid – which will help them learn to swim faster. For children fearful of water, learning to swim may take longer. It’s important to first help kids overcome their fear of water and find the joy of learning to swim. Parents can take an active role in helping children fearful of water by taking them to the swimming pool whenever possible. Be gentle and help your child feel safe rather than trying to teach them swimming skills on the first visits. To ensure a positive learning experience, work at the child’s pace. Once the little swimmer is relaxed and happy in the water, learning skills such as submerging the face, or the back float will come easier.
4. Private vs. semi-private swimming lessons
Children enrolled in private lessons typically will learn to swim faster, as all the attention of the swimming instructor goes to the child. The instructor can individualize the class to the child’s needs and can concentrate on areas the child needs the most attention.
The downside of semi-private lessons for non-swimmers is that children spend most of the lesson waiting for their turn and they don’t get that much one-on-one attention or even actual swimming time. One positive aspect of semi-private lessons for beginners is that some children can get motivated to learn by watching and playing with their peers in the water. It is best to listen to the recommendations of the instructor or staff after your trial lesson as they will know which would be beneficial to your child's needs.
5. Age
Many children, if not all, between the ages of 6 months to 3 years old tend to have a lot of separation anxiety. Many times, parents are so eager to want their child to become water safe they are willing to just hand their baby to a stranger in a new environment which can cause a lot of stress for the child and potentially create that fear of water or swimming. The importance of parent and me classes between these ages is greatly overlooked and generally not understood by parents.
Children who are 3-years-old and up are typically past that stage of being attached to mom or dad and are able to give full focus and attention to the instructor. This makes learning much easier for them and ultimately a bit faster.
In conclusion, Teaching a child to swim is an investment in the child’s safety, physical and emotional well being and in helping them acquire a lifelong skill. We encourage you to introduce your kids to the water at 6 months old. You can do this at home in the bathtub or if you have access to a pool of your own. The process of learning to swim should be fun and customized to each child’s pace. Keep in mind that no two children are alike and avoid comparing your child’s progress with the progress of other children. Your child is unique so their process of learning to swim will be unique.