Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Aquatic Survival Instruction

Did you know that there are over 4,000 drowning deaths a year? According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of injury deaths for children 1-4 years old. Aquatic survival skills have always been a priority to me and something I feel passionate about. I know there are “mixed reviews” when it comes to aquatic survival instruction (ASI) or infant swim resource (ISR), but I knew it was something I was going to invest in with our children. (Jonatan and my mom weren’t super thrilled with the idea at first, but trusted me as I prayed through it and still felt very strongly about it.)

We have dear friends who lost a child to a drowning incident when I was younger, and they were some of the most attentive and vigilant parents we know. It is heartbreaking beyond belief and something that can happen to ANYONE. In fact, these same skills saved MY life in our backyard pool when I was a very little girl.

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We tried ISR lessons with Jase when he was younger, and it did not go very well. Jonathan could barely stand coming to them, and we just didn’t mesh well with the instructor. He did lessons for a couple of months but never graduated, & I ended up going back to using flotation devices for him anytime we went to the pool. (You want to avoid floaties if your kids are learning these skills.)

After I had Kade and found out I was pregnant with Beau, I knew it was time to get the boys back into lessons. I figured there would be some “undoing” with Jase, but I prayed that both boys would do well & have a healthy respect for the water while learning skills to help rescue them in the event anything should ever happen. I have a friend who teaches at Gwinnett Swim & I watched her little boy excel through the program. I looked into it more, and it turns out ASI has the same end results as ISR (which I wanted), but it was a little bit less “militant” (for a lack of a better word).


We enrolled right after I had Beau. It was definitely a huge commitment on my part- financially (paying for two), mentally, time-wise, etc. We drove 3-4 times a week for each of the boys to have 15 minute lessons for 2 months. I had to wake them up early enough to make sure they had time to eat breakfast and make it over to the lesson 2 hours after eating. I had to get them each dressed in their swim clothes (double swim diapers for Kade since he’s not potty trained yet) and bring a change of clothes and snack & drink for both boys afterwards. We began lessons in April, so Beau was still brand new and nursing often. Jonathan was working on the investment house and unable to help me, and y’all, it was a LOT of work. Even just loading and unloading all 3 boys in their car seats by myself is a workout, and I was literally sweating every time I left the house!


But, it was & is SO very WORTH IT. And I would do it 1000 times over. The instructors are incredible. We mostly swam with Mrs. Laurie, Mrs. Lacy, & Mrs. Patti. They were so sweet, gentle, & encouraging, yet firm. They lovingly challenged the boys, and there weren’t really any tears past the first couple of lessons. (I do recommend using the same instructors if possible so the kiddos have that consistency.) We are continuing with maintenance and growth lessons and will continue to take our future children there as well. I am a huge advocate for their program!

We still have to be vigilant and have multiple layers of protection around bodies of water when possible, but I am so grateful for the confidence in their skills and ability to “float” and “swim.”


I prayed out loud with the boys before every single lesson. We prayed for them to be brave, listen well to their teachers, & work hard. We also prayed they’d never have to use these skills, but thanked God for the resources to be able to provide them.

Kade was a great floater and so relaxed in the water. We are still working on his swimming skills because he wants to flip over and float every time he’s in the water. Mrs. Laurie called him “the unsinkable Kade.” I was so proud of his quick learning and progress.


It was a great lesson for Jase on perseverance, goal setting, & courage. (And for us in parenting him through a challenge. We were very intentional about speaking life into him as we encouraged him.) He had the skills pretty early, but had to develop the confidence in them & that took time. He prefers swimming over floating, & we definitely had to work through building his confidence in his skills. It was more mental than anything for him, but gave us a chance to build some character traits that are important. He was so proud to pass and get the trophy he called the “piston cup.”


We came up with goal boards for each of the boys, and it was fun being able to color in their lessons & test goals. We celebrated with ice cream after each of the boys passed their tests.

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I highly recommend looking into some type of ASI or ISR if you have littles & particularly if you or someone you know lives around bodies of water (pool, lake, pond, ocean, etc.). Like I said, I pray they will never, ever have to use the skills, but I am so thankful they have them. (I posted some videos on my Instagram if you want to see how they were able to float, even in “winter clothes” and with some different scenarios.)

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