Swimming Into Summer

Quick tips to getting your little one swimming in days! 

It is no secret that we are surrounded by water here in South Florida, and it is so important to teach your child how to swim. It is a survival technique that has helped saved the lives of children who live close to large bodies of water.

Whether it is a pool or a nearby lake, teaching your child how to swim will also give you a piece of mind. I know because I have been trying to do it on my own and have not been successful.

I recently heard of Baby Otter Swim School right here in Broward County. I have been following their Instagram page for almost two months and I am impressed with the amount of videos they share of kids swimming around like little fishes. I had the chance to chat with Mindy York, VP/ Director of Baby Otter Swim School, about their program.

According to York, Baby Otter sells “curriculum-based programs and believe that a child’s first and best experience are one on one.” The program is state and nationally certified for its excellence in aquatics, which means the company does not rely on the Red Cross for their certification like most others do. In fact, they have their own certification.

Living in Florida, being able to swim is critical and I have tried to teach my toddler this skill, but I sometimes panic when my son drinks the water or fear he will get an ear infection. To parents out there who are a lot like me, York suggests going through the program to help combat the fear. “Once a child goes through our program the fear is gone and we teach the parents how to work with them. As far as a child who hasn’t gone through our program I would make it fun and teach them to hold their breath not blow bubbles.”

How Do They Do It?
At Baby Otter, each child has their own 30-minute session with an instructor for five days. York then explained: “Each day builds off the next which is what the success of the program is based upon. It’s truly remarkable watching these little munchkins go from crying to swimming in a matter of days. Why take months going for lesson after lesson when we get the job done in five days. Most schools seem cheaper because they charge until your child swims, as a parent you must determine what does until mean in months and dollars.”

But five days seems like you might be rushing the child! You are probably thinking how will they learn in such a short period of time. 

Here is what York had to say about their five-day program:

“The program is actually done very systematically through the curriculum I discussed above. They are taught one on one doing sets of four and then resting and playing with the instructor.”

She added: “Because they are private and get 30 minutes they learn at a much faster rate than if they were in a group hanging onto a wall getting a few minutes at a time for months on end.”

Although five days may seem short, Baby Otter takes their time to teach and practice with each child. “We teach a new skill daily and then the next day practice what they learned the day before,” noted York. “We build off of that so they can learn the new skill easier. It has saved so many lives over our decades of experience.”

Baby Otter has been successful over the years, but it does not only come from their skills. The staff are excited to see the children show off their own skills. “We have a very high success rate and it truly works amazing,” she said. “Every Friday we get a natural high watching these amazing children put all they learned during the week into reality survival by turning around to save their life. Incredible!” 

Are you thinking about working with a swimming instructor to teach your child how to swim? York suggests you keep these tips in mind: 

– Make sure the instructor/school is certified, licensed and insured, and has a history of successfully teaching children.

– Make sure the company/instructor has completed background and that they are trained in CPR. Just because someone is a lifeguard does not qualify them to teach swimming.

– I highly encourage parents to ask how long it will take and what they should expect their child to accomplish with the lessons. As I mentioned before, it may appear less expensive up front but continuing for month after month the price is much higher because of the until they understand the skill.

Follow Baby Otter Swim School on social media: 

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