ISR (Infant Swimming Resource) Swim
My daughter is considering the controversial ISR program for her 1 and 3 year olds. The 3 year old is afraid of the water and local instructors have not managed to get her in. Apparently with ISR, they take a more violent approach and force the child in the water for 10 min a day, 5 days a week, for 6 weeks. they teach the child how to survive if they fall into deep water. They do so by forcing them into deep water. The whole idea rubs me the wrong way but I don't have any other suggestions. I wonder if any TI folks have any thoughts. They sell the program as potentially saving the childs life, so it is pretty potent marketing and a compelling reason to do something.
1. I don't need to pay someone else to throw my kid into the water...Why would I pay someone else for this service.
2. Ever heard of post-traumatic stress disorder.
While these sound like somewhat flippant answers to a serious question, I would seriously question someone who took such a flippant approach to teaching kids like like the water.
I don't have children...
Chances are extremely good that she will NEVER go into any water again for the rest of her life after that treatment. I don't know what brings people to set up such a program and what brings parents to put children into that. Their own children, mind you.
Otherwise I agree with dobarton. Let your daughter throw that kid into the water herself and watch the kid cry - if shes able to do it. And if not it is just being extremely unfair to have someone else do it.
What I would do if I was in that position: Seducing. Go to the water with the girl, and don't force her into anything. Nothing at all. Don't even ask her to go in the water. Don't give any sign or idea that she should/needs/must do anything, just let her be happy and relaxed. Go in the water yourself and enjoy it. Just repeat that again and again. Chances are good that she will join sooner or later.
And if not - so what? She is a THREE YEAR OLD. Why on earth does she have to go into the water anyway? IT'S JUST A SMALL KID - let her do what she likes. The tough part of life comes early enough anyway.
Parents... and idea about what kids should... and should not.
Since this is a public forum I would of course never say that I think this is a little fanatic.
Buy Khalil Gibran's book 'The Prophet' and read the section about children to your daughter.
Never mind... I am just shocked.
I found that quote by Khalil Gibran from 'The Prophet' on children.
Your Children are not Your Children
They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
If it's as the original poster describes, this method might work for some children but one doesn't necessarily know how it would affect any particular child. The description makes it sound pretty harsh -- not what I would submit any child to.
I did check out ISR's web site, and it paints a different picture. They say they monitor the child's comfort level and tailor the lessons accordingly. I watched a short video and if this is indeed how they do it, I would consider it. And it appears that a parent is there during the lesson. If it were my grandchildren, I might want to observe one or more lessons.
The funny thing is that when I first heard the name "Total Immersion", I thought it was something like this -- being thrown into a deep end to bring forth instinctive "swimming".
Thanks for your thoughts. I should have been more careful with my original description, which is a bit too harsh. I have watched some videos and they do have a system that eases the child into the water, but they do so on their training schedule and often against the child's will. So eventually, the child is dumped into the water, but not on day one. The videos do show lots of crying babies, but in the end they are all swimming contentedly.
One youtube video I saw looked more like water boarding than swimming, although the parent captioned it that the crying baby was just fine. The reason parents do this, and the reason my daughter is considering it , is they play on parental fears of accidental drowning. This is why some parents feel they have to act at an early age - even when the chances of accidental drowning are very low.
Apparently they get very good results (although I doubt a lifelong love of water is one of them). Personally I would not want to be "taught" something in this manner, so I wouldn't submit a child to it.
Thanks for the Kahlil Gibran - its been a while since I read him.
I was just about to post another reply...
Sorry, glenng910, I didn't mean to be rude, just your description was a bit rough, i guess that got me.
I took a quick look at the website - it doesn't look so bad. Although you will of course not see the cases of kids who got terrified and never go into water again.
To make water fun, to distract the kid into it - any mother can do it herself, isn't it?
I think the main point is the determination of the person teaching the child. That in the end might be the reason why it is given to 'professionals'. Kids function very much on transference ( I hope that is the right word). The kid will pick up anything that goes on in your head. Mirror neurons. If the teaching person has a firm and stable conviction that there is nothing to fear and the kid will love it it will work. Any thought of 'oh, will she panic, I hope it works, I am not sure' etc will make it very difficult or impossible.
Anyway. The problem with small children that fall into water is not that they cannot swim but that they completely lose their orientation once they have their head under water. It doesn't take deep water, they can drown in water where they in fact could easily stand. Maybe that this gets easily overlooked.
So to accustom them to water helps immensely, of course.
But if you don't have a pond or pool in your garden... sadly enough, but chances that a kid gets run over by a car, a truck, a bicycle or have an accident at home etc are a lot higher.
I hate it, hate it, hate it.
I don't like the part about torturing kids, but the part I really hate is using water to do it. To be safe in the water, a human being needs to learn to relax and stop fighting it. Relaxed breathing, floating, etc.
I wonder how much the fire department would charge to test my fire safety skills by coming over and setting my house on fire...
I am glad you wrote that. I thought I was alone with my first reaction to it... And thought I got to be fair and look at the website.
I don't have time and don't want to spend a lot of time in it.
Maybe there are people amongst thosw who run the program who have a true motivation of wanting to prevent small children from drowning. Maybe someone just exploits the fear of parents. It is easy to build up fear and then exploit people with it.
You never know.
It gives me a shiver though...
I watched a couple of those videos. It looks all nice and easy. But there is the part where they take the kids hands of the wall. Again and again. That's what gets me.
If the kids start to love the water and take their hands away on their own, ok. But like this...
Maybe I am just too sensitive, I don't know. I don't want to be unfair, I don't really know this program.
Anyway, enough said. And I don't have kids. Seems to be an advantage at times ;-)
This is slightly off topic, but...
I was one of those children that local instructors had not managed to get in the water. I learned to swim when my mother, father and I spend a weeks vacation on a North Sea island. Later, when I was 6, I joined the local swim club and swam competitive for 15 years. Have been swimming and scuba diving for fun since.
So I guess showing the kid that it's possible to have fun in water would be my priority.
Amazing that you can learn how to swim in salty water.
(BTW, Amrum is my favorite.)
All good comments - thank you all. For me, coercion is never a good option, and that includes the smallest among us. Fortunately, my daughter heeded the advice, and they are now planning on more water play and less worry about "lessons".
Yes! I have let my children enrol for baby swimming lessons early. They like to play with water. Babies tend to have no fear at young age. I think now is too late for me to learn swimming now...
1) Get them used to having part of their body underwater (you can make the water as shallow as necessary to get them in and increase it from there).
2) Turn on the overhead nozzle and get them used to the feeling of water running over their head and face.
3) Have them hold a straw in their mouth and use it to blow bubbles in the water.
4) Have them put their mouth under water and blow bubbles that way.
5) Work them up to holding their breath, putting their mouth and nose underwater, and then blowing bubbles as they surface.
6) Have repeat the previous step, but put their entire head underwater. If they don't like putting their eyes underwater, you can either have them close their eyes or wear goggles.
The advantages to using a bathtub are that (a) the child is likely to regard it as a safer environment, and (b) it's easier to make the water temperature comfortable for them.
Let us know how things go!
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