Philosophies and devices for swimming - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 06-25-2014, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Philosophies and devices for swimming

DD is loving the beach these days... What are people's thoughts on learning about swimming? We have had several devices (vest-type things, mostly) handed down to us, and one friend recommends the style where there are arm floats attached to the main body which also has flotation. (Like this Http://t.dickssportinggoods.com/prod...uctId=12794287) her son LOVES those. We have swim lesson options at the local pool, seems pretty conventional from what I can gather, she would be in a baby to 3yo class. In my gut I want to avoid the floaties, but I'm wondering what other's experiences have been? Also, philosophies on teaching swimming I could do myself?
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#2 of 15 Old 06-25-2014, 04:09 PM
 
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I brought my dd to the pool regularly and encouraged a love of water. A life guard who also taught swim lessons told her how to hold her breath and blow bubbles out of her nose when dd told her about discovering that she could put her head under water. We went through a couple lessons with a philosophy that was too harsh before settling on lessons at the Y. We never used floatation devices at the pool because they weren't allowed.
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#3 of 15 Old 06-25-2014, 06:08 PM
 
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My philosophy is that even if you are using floaties, you still need to be in the pool at arms reach. My dd who is 3 has a puddle jumper and it's helping her get used to the water. I didn't like the vest cause it kept turning her face down which scared me even though I was holding her. My son took lessons starting at 4 each week for nearly 2 years. He just finished summer swim team. He doesn't need floaties anymore since he can swim the length of the pool and knows to go to his back when he gets tired.
I tried to teach him how to swim before he took lessons, but he learned better from an instructor.

Ryan 08-28-08  & Julianna 5-3-11
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#4 of 15 Old 06-25-2014, 07:14 PM
 
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This has been on my mind lately, too. My DD is 4, and we try to do a mix. She loves being in the water, and loves practicing "swimming" with her PFD on. We chose very carefully to make sure her life jacket held her stable in the water, and that she knew how to relax and float in her life jacket. We do some canoeing with her, so I really want to make sure she's comfortable in deep water with the jacket on just in case. We also use the life jacket when we're at a hotel or somewhere with a pool that's too deep for her. I just don't trust myself to always hold her safely in deeper water. I ALWAYS stay within reach, life vest or not.

BUT - we never use the life jacket for pond/lake swimming where she can just wade in and spend lots of time in appropriately shallow water. This is the kind of water play we do most often, so I feel like she's getting a good amount of feeling what it's like to hold her own body in the water. Lately a lot of her little friends have been bragging to her about how they can swim, and my DD replies that she doesn't know how to swim yet. I'm glad she understands that the "swimming" she does with her life vest and that her friends do with floaties is NOT the same as real swimming. I think that's really important for safety.
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#5 of 15 Old 06-25-2014, 07:16 PM
 
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Both of my kids learned to swim with these. I really love them. http://www.swimways.com/power-swimr-medium-p-18.aspx
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#6 of 15 Old 06-26-2014, 08:25 AM
 
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We skipped floaties and vests altogether and went with ISR lessons. I couldn't take the time from work when she was eligible to start at 6mos so she started at 17 or 18mos. She was not thrilled with it in the beginning, but after 5 weeks she was placed in the water, fully clothed in shoes, cloth diaper, pants, and a thick jacket, and she was able to rotate her body completely unassisted and float on her back in resting position waiting for the instructor to scoop her up. Just did a refresher this year and at 2.5 she loved it! She's able to swim about 4-5' at a time, then flips to her back to breathe and rest, and then flips over to swim, repeating the sequence until she reaches a persons hand, side of the pool, or a ladder. It's designed to be a safety precaution more than actual swimming technique, so when she's older and actually physically capable of holding her head above water to breathe while swimming on her stomach, she'll take regular swim lessons. For now I'm pretty confident that if she gets away from us or finds a pool gate unlocked at a friends house, she has the skills to survive. If you are familiar with TAG teaching (the human equivalent of clicker training animals) this is the type of learning that occurs with ISR. Each child is an individual and one on one in the pool with an instructor who reads their body language and marks progression towards the end "behaviors" aka how to float on their back, and how to perform the swim float sequence. For some it might be terrifying to watch but for me it was fascinating, especially the after effect of the confidence they build while learning to be independent in the water.
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#7 of 15 Old 06-26-2014, 10:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratchet View Post
DD is loving the beach these days... What are people's thoughts on learning about swimming? We have had several devices (vest-type things, mostly) handed down to us, and one friend recommends the style where there are arm floats attached to the main body which also has flotation. (Like this Http://t.dickssportinggoods.com/prod...uctId=12794287) her son LOVES those. We have swim lesson options at the local pool, seems pretty conventional from what I can gather, she would be in a baby to 3yo class. In my gut I want to avoid the floaties, but I'm wondering what other's experiences have been? Also, philosophies on teaching swimming I could do myself?
Any sort of device for a non-swimmer, especially in open water, should be lifeguard approved. Anything else is pretty much worthless.
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#8 of 15 Old 06-27-2014, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've heard a bit about the ISR training and am so intrigued by it but tree's no one here who does it, honestly it was hearing about it that made me sort of re-think teaching swimming altogether.

I'm not talking about tossing my 3 yo in the water with a floaty and tanning nearby while she figures it out. If we were boating she would be in an approved PFD, but thats a whole different issue. The floaty stuff would be for assisting in training, not for safety. Like, if she slips while wading at the lake, she's not going to drown, I'm right there- but pro would be shouldn't get as freaked out by a face full of water, cons are that it is teaching a different dynamic of how your body is in the water, I guess. I learned at the Y, with lessons, using kick boards and holding onto empty milk jugs, so that's my experience.
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#9 of 15 Old 06-27-2014, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yea… just checked online for ISR… 1 hr drive to the only instructor, for 10 min of instruction, 5 days per week for 4-6 weeks, so, sadly, not an option...
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#10 of 15 Old 06-27-2014, 06:25 AM
 
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I did the drive - closest to me was 45mins without traffic. The pro for me was she discounted for firefighters/police/ems so it was like half the normal price. But I was willing to pay in full because for me the benefits were too good to pass up. I worried more about the times where we didn't anticipate being in water and when she might not being wearing a vest. Good luck with the search!
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#11 of 15 Old 07-08-2014, 01:39 PM
 
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I have my children wear a life vest around pools if they are not able to swim. With a lake where they can walk in I do not require them to have one. I am always watching them though. At about 4 my husband begins teaching them to swim. I think arm floaties help them learn to swim. I do not like the swim suits with the floaties attached at top. They do not seem safe to me.
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#12 of 15 Old 07-13-2014, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not safe, like instead of a vest or not for learning to swim?

My mom and DH are going to have DD at a lake coming up, possibly getting a hand-me-down puddle jumper thing, although I think DH's style is more just sitting around in the shallow part of the water with her. Right now she is very into walking in water but doesn't like being, like, swished around in the water, but we also aren't the aggressive play types who do that so she has little exposure.
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#13 of 15 Old 07-14-2014, 05:29 AM
 
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I just think those bathing suits with the flotation devices look so top heavy. I like my kids in life vests better and then they can take them off too if they need.
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#14 of 15 Old 08-14-2014, 10:42 AM
 
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My 2.5 year old doesn't use any type of "floaty" at the pool. I stay with her, and she mostly plays around the stairs and ladder anyway. We took a Mommy & Me swim class when she was 6 months old, and we still practice the exercises we learned there. It's fun to watch her slowly gain confidence. Last week on vacation, I gave her a 99-cent inflatable "donut." She LOVED it and for the first time could swim "all by myself!" But she has to hold onto it, and kick her feet - it's not a lifesaving device. And yes, she lost her balance once and flipped under it, under the water. I was three feet away and lunged to get her. She came up, sputtered once, and went back to playing - she had held her breath! I was so proud, in a terrified sort of way. Since getting home, she's been experimenting with putting her face in the bath water. It's very tiny and incremental progress, but I love seeing her feeling confident in the water.

The swimsuits with floaty inserts sometimes turn the baby face down - super scary! I bought this one last summer, and it flipped my daughter onto her face. As I was returning it to the store, I noticed that it has 9 removeable pads. I would imagine you could remove some from the back and make it safer. But she was having so much fun swimming without it that I figured we didn't need it - I didn't want her to get dependent on a floaty if it wasn't necessary.

That being said, when she's old enough to go on Granddaddy's sailboat, she'll wear a proper life jacket. And if we take her out into the ocean (beyond ankle-deep), we want to fashion some kind of ankle tether (or a floaty vest with a tether) just in case of a rogue wave. Salt water and sunscreen make slippery babies!

I think the best thing you can do is enjoy the water with your child, as often as possible! Have fun!
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#15 of 15 Old 08-18-2014, 03:15 PM
 
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In my opinion, ISR is extreme. If I was a big boater I might go for it, but I don't think so. We signed up for information on the local classes, and found out that the sessions are so short because they are so traumatic. I can play with my kid at the pool, splashing and having all kinds of fun for hours. They argue that's bad because then the kids are comfortable in water, but not safe. Well, I'll supervise her and limit water exposure. She's a baby! We don't live on the coast or go anywhere with faster waters than a busy pool. I am OK with her taking her time and learning to swim like the above poster said, in due time. I don't need to try "sink or swim" methods.

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