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Survival Swim vs. Traditional Lessons

By: Christi Brown

Christi Brown
Christi Brown

Survival Swim Lessons

Best choice for ages 1-6 years old while kids are in the stage of not having coordination skills or upper body strength to learn traditional swim strokes well enough to use them effectively in a water emergency.

Teaches holding breath.

Teaches young children competence before confidence in the water.

Teaches rolling on back to float and breathe when a child has fallen into the water and then teaches turning over to their stomach to propel themselves through the water and to begin alternating their rolling from their front to their back to allow for progression to get to the side of the pool while also using skills to be able to breathe and survive a water emergency. These skills are put into muscle memory, so that if a water emergency happens, the child will automatically start using the skills.

It takes 6 weeks for most children to learn these skills.

Costs more up front but most instructors will help with a payment plan and there are many organizations who will help pay for lessons, if needed.

Lends itself for children to move into traditional swim lessons when they are ready and gives them a head start so that the strokes will take less time to learn when they are ready to learn them.
One on one lessons with the instructor for 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Research has shown that children learn better in small but frequent time increments. Also, after 10 minutes in the water, a child becomes fatigued and will not be able to retain any further practice of the skills or learning of new ones.

Teach children their survival skills fully clothed because most water accidents happen during non-swim times and clothes can add up to 20 pounds to a child’s weight in the water.

Traditional Swim Lessons

Good choice for kids over 6 years old who have the strength and coordination skills to learn these strokes effectively and have the cognitive understanding that they won’t be able to swim right away.

Teaches holding breath.

Often teaches younger children too much confidence before they have enough competence in the water.

Teaches the strokes of swimming. They will also teach how to float on their back but take longer to put it into muscle memory for the children, so that if they end up in a water emergency during the time the skills are not in their muscle memory, they may not automatically roll to their backs and float. 

It takes several years of lessons for many younger children to learn these skills well enough to save themselves in a water emergency.

Costs more in the long run than Survival Swim lessons do, as they are taught at a slower pace and children need more of them to learn the skills they need, but costs less up front.

Can have personal lessons at a higher price, but generally learn in groups. This means less time for your child actually learning a skill, as all children have to take turns learning during the lesson. Lessons usually last from 20-30 minutes one to two times a week. This is a large reason why these lessons take longer to learn. The other reason is that they aren’t developmentally suited to children younger than 6 years old.

Do not commonly teach children how to float or swim while fully clothed.