KLC: Our Experience with Infant/Toddler Survival Swimming Lessons

Hello, friends!  I’ve been a little more hesitant to share videos online lately for some reason, but I think it’s high time that I share a few to show all the progress from KLC’s swimming lessons.  I mentioned in my 11 month update that we were 3 weeks into a 4-week set of lessons.  We finished those lessons in November and, after a lengthy deliberation period, decided to put her in a full 8-week course this spring.

These lessons aren’t for everyone, and the drawbacks we see are:

  • The lessons are expensive
  • The lessons occur every week day
  • The lessons themselves are only 10 minutes, but the location of the lessons is 25 minutes away and requires a trip through downtown, so the time commitment is big
  • The child tends to cry quite a bit during the lessons at first from a mixture of variables: separation anxiety, cool water, funny-looking stranger (the instructor takes the child in alone for at least the first few weeks as they learn, and our instructor wears a hat and sunglasses and often a wet suit top)

We are constantly around water here, and we are very committed to having KLC both enjoy the water and be safe around the water.  This spring, we considered hiring a lady who is great with 3-5 year old kids in the water rather than go back to the survival swimming, but she was only available a couple of times per week and didn’t have specific training with younger children.

With the compromise that T would take her one day/week to give me a chance to participate in yoga occasionally, we signed her up again.  Last time, we only learned about the program in time to participate in their last 4 weeks, but this time we signed up for the recommended length of 8 weeks.

Now I will share a few videos that show the transition from the beginning to the end of the first set of lessons and beginning to middle of the current set of lessons.

The first video shows a rather reluctant swimmer during her first week of swimming when she was 10 months old.  The goal for babies under 12 months is to teach them to float and to be able to get into a floating posture after a fall into the water where the baby might be face-down initially.   Here you will see her learning to float and to flip back over from a face-down position.  Warning: there is a lot of crying.  She’s not very happy about this.

10 months early (crying)

By the end of her first set of lessons, she was floating happily and could flip herself back over when her head was in the water.  In this video, she starts out partially submerged.  I didn’t capture the moment with the instructor let her go.  Then she surfaces and comes to a float on her own.  Finally, the instructor flips her and waits for her to flip herself back over.  At this point, she still required minimal assistance, but by the end of the 4 weeks, she could flip herself back up.

10 months late

This spring, lessons started with more tears as KLC was again not excited to be separated from me, but she started warming up more quickly.   After 12 months, the instructors focus more on “getting the edge” of the pool rather than simply floating in place.  Then, they start teaching them to swim further and further distances and to flip themselves over to float and catch their breath and then continue to the wall.  The first video shows her initial attempts to swim to the wall, but she hadn’t learned to do much kicking at this point.

18 months early (crying)

Finally, I’ll show you two videos of the happiest little swimmer in the pool!  She had a break-through last week when she started LOVING the time in the pool.  Part 1 shows her swimming to her instructor, and part 2 shows a few variations of swimming to the edge.

18 months mid-way Part 1

18 months mid-way Part 2

I hope these are interesting to a few of you!  I know it’s not fun to watch a baby cry, so if you did watch that I apologize for any heartache.  Believe me, it’s not fun being the parent on the side of the pool.  This is one of the more “harsh” parenting things we’ve done, but we do think it’s incredibly valuable.


5 thoughts on “KLC: Our Experience with Infant/Toddler Survival Swimming Lessons

  1. She is really turning into a little swimmer. It is a lot more fun to watch now that she is liking the whole experience. What will you be able to do on your own when the lessons are over. Can you continue to take her out every day by yourself. Grandpa

    • We usually go swimming a second time every afternoon in the pool, but it has been very stormy and rainy for the past couple of weeks. She can swim from me to T and to the edge of the pool and climb out. She doesn’t like swimming in our pool as much because it is salt water and seems to bother her eyes. We plan to get her goggles soon.

  2. Pingback: What We’re Up To: April 2016 | T and K, etc.

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